Open Access
UNESCO and AU's Media and Information Literacy Course


Open Access
UNESCO and AU's Media and Information Literacy Course

Unit 8 – Understanding and Evaluating the World of Advertising


A woman holding up her hand with writing on it "Refuse Abuse"Advertising is the economic engine that drives all media, both traditional and new. Advertisers are generally corporations, governments, NGOs, and individual politicians. Advertisements fall into two large categories: commercial and political advertisements, aimed at promoting a person, product, experience, or idea; and social marketing advertisements, aimed at informing and changing social attitudes and practices. It is the revenue from advertising that pays for mainstream media and some alternative media, as well as much of what is found on the Internet.

In this way, strangely enough, advertising is closely connected to democracy. The media that we all rely on in order to stay informed on public issues and through which we exchange ideas and opinions with other citizens cannot survive without advertising.

What questions should we be asking about this powerful economic, political and social force?

  1. How is advertising regulated and controlled?
  2. What methods do advertisers use to persuade us?
  3. How does advertising operate with traditional and new media?
  4. How does civil society confront and use the advertising industry for its own purposes?

Photo credit: Create for the UN - European advertisement competition winner by Say NO - UNiTE CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Check out the Course Glossary.

Skip Table of contentsSkip NavigationSkip Administration