In the most recent unit on persuasive writing, my class has had to explore various terminology related to persuasion. Such terms as proposition, evidence, evaluation, testimonials, and bandwagon appeal have been discussed. It is one of my favorite units, because I get to teach not only writing techniques that help my students create plausible arguments (such as why their parents should finally cave in and by them a puppy), but also critical thinking skills that will help them develop better choices in the real world.
I get to crush my poor students’ perfect world where TV ads are all true and fashion is new, to help them see the world in a broken, manipulative, and colorful light. I have two lessons that perspicuously demonstrate the finer points of our consumer choices.
Kids are suckers for celebs. If a famous person endorses a product, it has to be true. Without fail, I am always able to find some unsuspecting young jock wearing a Power Balance bracelet, convinced that it works. I mean, if Shaquille O’Neal can almost incomprehensibly mumble his way to a product’s endorsement, it’s legit, right? I mean, he even gets to the “scientific” part!
They love it and believe it, until I show them how it “works”.
I don’t actually show them the second video, but I do the same demonstration with students using, not a Power Balance Band, but a Power Balance Lamb, and let their jaws hit the floor. I confess I enjoy seeing my students with a Power Balance Band look down at their cheap rubber bracelets in shame.
All that is to say— just because a celeb. endorses it, doesn’t mean it’s worth it.
2. Bandwagon Appeal
In making the point about bandwagon appeal and how people are all after the hot new item, I appealed to the trends that Generation Z kids currently embrace:
Colorful Skinny Jeans
To be fair, I had to share with the kids the trends that I grew up with, items that were all the rage. Oh, how the wagon has rolled because we had…
Colorful Skinny Jeans
Well, it looks like things have come full circle. In fact, what made me think of this was that today one of my sweet students came into my classroom and presented me with a brand new…