For Sale! Advertising Activities

For sale! If it weren’t for advertising, there would be no newspapers. The amount readers pay for their newspapers would seldom even buy the paper used for printing. But by selling ads to manufacturers, businesses, and individuals, newspapers can go about the business of keeping their readers informed. It’s not a one-sided bargain, however. Advertising in the newspaper is one of the most effective ways to reach people with a message. It’s a partnership that has worked well for many years.

Advertising is designed to sell a product, a service, or an idea. In newspapers, there are two main types of advertising: display ads and classified ads.

Display ads are the graphic ads located throughout the newspaper. They can be as large as two full pages or small enough to carry only a business’ name and phone number. Retail stores are the most frequent users of display ads.

Classified ads are found in a separate section. They are placed by individuals who want to sell cars, appliances, and other personal items. Real estate firms, car dealers, and businesses looking for workers also place classified ads. These ads can vary in size from a few lines to a full page.

Many newspapers also accept another kind of advertising called inserts. They are stand-alone sections that might be several pages long. Newspaper ads are sold by sales representatives. They work closely with their clients to produce ads that reach a specific group of people (young adults, married couples, etc.).

It’s all in the technique Advertisers use all sorts of techniques to get their messages across.

Attention-grabbing headlines: A successful newspaper ad needs agood headline to grab attention. Such a headline might make a promise orarouse curiosity. It might also appeal to a specific group of readers, suchas young adults.

Slogans: Short, catchy phrases designed to create a certain image arecalled slogans. Advertisers rely on slogans to stick in readers’ minds.

Testimonials: When a well-known person endorses, or speaks out for,a product or service, it’s called a testimonial. Athletes, television stars, andother celebrities are favorites among advertisers.

Product characters: Many advertisers rely on cartoon characters andother fictional people to advertise their products — especially products forchildren. Product comparison: When competition is heavy, comparisons betweenproducts are frequently used. A comparison ad might list one product’sadvantages over another.Repetition: A favorite technique for advertisers is repetition. Many believe the more a company or product name is seen, the better.— Adapted from World Book Encyclopedia


1. Look through your newspaper and find examples of display advertising, classified advertising, and preprinted inserts. Share your examples with the class and talk about uses for each type of advertising.

2. Who advertises in your newspaper? Categorize the display ads in one day’s newspaper according to the products and services advertised — clothing, food, furniture, electronics, etc. Show your findings on a chart or graph.

3. Advertisements are usually designed to appeal to a specific group of people, such as young parents, teenagers, or senior citizens. The group an ad is aimed at is called the target audience. Collect at least five newspaper ads and identify the target audience for each. Be prepared to explain your reasoning.

4. Pretend that you’ve been given $1,000 to spend on anything you want — or need. Then go “shopping” through your newspaper’s advertisements and jot down the items you would buy. As a class, discuss how advertising might have influenced your decisions.

NIE Institute