I cannot believe I missed this site when I was working on my kids and advertising bibliography! http://pbskids.org/dontbuyit/
Oh well—it’s a fun and informative media literacy resource for kids.
They can review marketing scams of the past and guess whether they were “hot” or “snot”: Menudo = “hot”; ET Atari game = “snot”.
Check out the food advertising tricks section, especially the food styling tips for roast chicken. You’ll need a needle & thread, dishwashing soap and a blowtorch, among other supplies.
Also interesting is “Secrets of a Magazine Cover Model” which reveals just how much tweaking is done to get those images of perfection. Preparation H and Photoshop figure in significantly.
“The Cost of Cool” is fun and interesting too; kids can choose which outfit looks more expensive and then find out the answer. If I didn’t know it already, this would have taught me that I’m clueless regarding coolness; I chose the bargain outfit every time!
The only part of the site I found off-putting was the “free stuff” area, where kids could download—what else?—advertising for this site!