LESSON: Create Your Own Contraceptive Advertising
The American Academy of Pediatrics (2010) tells us that advertising condoms, birth
control pills and emergency contraception on TV and radio could further decrease
the teen pregnancy rate. Yet they note that several networks refuse these types of
advertisements. They go on to say that advertisements for emergency contraception
are “virtually nonexistent on American TV despite the fact that every year American
women have 3 million unplanned pregnancies which lead to 1.3 million abortions.”
Because teens get much of their information on the web these days, this is an
excellent place for them to share new and creative ads they develop themselves about
contraceptives. This lesson encourages them to make their own ads and share them
with friends on FaceBook, MySpace, and other places on the web they visit regularly.
- Create awareness of different methods of birth control
- Explain details about at least one birth control method (the method selected
to feature in the ad), including the way it works and its advantages and
- Brainstorm script and storyboard for contraceptive ad
1+ class periods
Preparation and Materials:
Open the discussion by telling the class the average person sees about 2500 ads per
Ask them where people might see that many ads? Lead them in a discussion
identifying the various media sources that they might encounter in a day (TV, Internet,
magazines, billboards, etc.)
Considering TV, ask them what types of products are generally seen in the ad (e.g.
food, grooming products, cars, etc.)
Now ask how often among all the ads they’ve watched on TV they can remember
seeing an ad for a contraceptive. Are these ads as prevalent as ads for food, grooming
products, cars, beer, etc.? Share with them the 2010 conclusion of the American
Academy of Pediatrics stating that ads focusing on a contraceptive product are
rarely seen. In fact some TV networks have even refused to broadcast them. Why
do they think that might be? (e.g. showing them ways to protect themselves might
encourage sex, something that studies have shown is far from the truth!) ).
Tell the group that they are going to make their own contraceptive ads on video to
encourage their friends and other teens to use protection if they choose to become
Ask the group to form small ad teams and await further instructions.
Part 1: Background Research
Each ad team will need to gather some background material. In order to proceed, they
will all need access to the Internet or a copy of the Washington State Department of
Health’s (DOH) Birth Control Methods pamphlet. For those needing a copy of this
pamphlet, go to: Birth Control: Choosing The Method That's Right For You
Since the publication of the DOH pamphlet, there is new information that has become
available about Emergency Contraception (EC). In August 2010, the FDA approved new
form of EC known as ella that is considered more effective and gives women a longer
window of time to prevent unintended pregnancy than Plan B. For more information
about ella and EC in general, check out the following fact sheet produced by the Kaiser
Have the team review the DOH pamphlet and other material they can find from reliable
sources such as the Kaiser Family Foundation Fact Sheet
before choosing the birth
control method that will be the focus for their ad. Encourage the teams to read all the
material carefully before making their choice.
Report to the class the method they have chosen as the focus of their ad and discuss
why they have made this choice (e.g. is this a form of birth control that people need to
know more about; is this something that they need to reminded to use consistently and correctly even though they’ve heard about it such as a condom; is this something such
as ella that they may not know about at all?);
Part 2: Script Writing and Storyboarding
Ads on TV are very short, generally 1 minute or less. Instruct the class that their ad
needs to have a clear message and needs to get that message across in a creative and
clever way in order to attract the attention of their teen audience.
Two key components of preproduction in creating an ad are scriptwriting and
storyboarding. Both are essential for constructing a media message, and translating it
from page to screen. This portion of the lesson will now focus on the steps the team will
need to take.
Use Steps to Follow in Scriptwriting and Storyboarding
as a guide to the steps that the team will want to take in creating a high quality ad.
Also see the blank concept storyboard handout
with ready-to-fill columns for notes on
text, video, and sound.
Inform each team that they should plan to develop a storyboard for their ad and
be prepared to discuss their script ideas when they are called upon in Part C.
Part 3: Sharing Brainstorms
Each team will now show their storyboard to the group and share their script ideas. The
class is instructed to offer feedback and suggestions.
Part 4: Filming (Optional)
Some of the teams may want to move beyond the brainstorming stage and film their
ads. Encourage students to do this whenever possible and to share them with their
class. Filming could be considered as an extra credit activity since many students have
access to cameras outside of school. For further ideas on filming your ad, go to: Teen Aware
Discuss details regarding the contraceptive that they chose to feature in their ad,
addressing its advantages and disadvantages for teens. Discuss verbally or in writing
their rationale in creating their ad in the way they chose and selecting their media
message. Assessment can also be based on the
storyboard and script they create for their ad.