The LAMP just finished two weeks of intensive advertising literacy training at the newest campus of MECA (Manhattan Early College Schools for Advertising). The MECA schools represent an innovative model, in which select students attend five years of secondary school and graduate with an Associate’s Degree that they can then use to enter higher education or the workforce.
Throughout the two weeks, MECA students explored and analyzed a variety of print and commercial advertisements, breaking down the wide range of messages, representations, and persuasion techniques advertisers use to target specific audiences. Students then talked back by transforming the ads and inserting their own critical perspectives. The students were very aware how much influence the messages and images within these ads have on their own perspectives and self-esteem and were very eager to have their voices heard. Students tackled a variety of issues, including sexism and ageism, as well as the ways Photoshop tools have been used to alter reality.
The most exciting aspect of working with MECA students is to think that these diverse, thoughtful and intelligent young people may one day be the media producers making the choices and creating the images that influence future generations. If our last two weeks collaborating with these students told us anything, it’s that young people are ready to break the media and change the message!
– Alan Berry, Education Director, The LAMP