French TV commercial activity – FREEBIE!

French TV commercial activity

Do you like using French TV commercials in your classes?  My students LOVE watching TV commercials, whether for products they know and recognize or for uniquely French products.  While it can be a fun way to fill a few extra minutes at the end of class, you can also make it into an entire activity.  I’ll share some ideas on how I use TV commercials in my class, where to find commercials to use, and a FREE French TV commercial activity you can use with all of your classes, no matter how little or how much French they speak! 

Where to find French TV commericals

My favorite resource is CulturePub – they have a website, but it’s easiest to just use their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/CulturePubTV – they have thousands of TV commercials from the past as well as the newest ones.

If you’d like to find commercials from other countries, Ads of the World has a variety of things from all over the world.  Let your students hear accents from other Francophone countries – and you’ll have an entire new set of products to learn about!

How to use the French TV commercial activity in your class

There are many ways to use TV commercials in your class, depending upon the amount of time you have to spend, the level of your students, the purpose of the activity, and how much time you want to spend planning the activity and preparing students for it.

The easiest and quickest way to use commercials is by just watching them as filler/entertainment.  Sometimes when I have just 2-5 minutes left at the end of the hour, I might show an ad or two.  Funny commercials or those advertising products that students are already familiar with are perfect for this use.

I will often choose to show a commercial based on a thematic unit. If we have been learning about foods, we might watch commercials for food items, grocery stores, or restaurants.  If we’re learning about a holiday, there are often commercials made for that – especially for Christmas and Valentine’s Day.  In this case, I may spend a little more time preparing for the commercial by focusing on particular parts of the ad – the vocabulary used, or cultural information that is relevant.  

 

French TV commercial activity - FREEBIE!

More in-depth activities using commercials

Sometimes I find a commercial that’s just so good or so related to whatever we’ve been studying that I want to really do a deep dive and spend some serious time on related activities. In this case, a little bit of preparation is necessary.

Clip Chat or Movie Talk – this is a great way to get LOTS of repetitions in and really milk a great commercial for all you can. For this type of French TV commercial activity, I will start off with an idea of the vocabulary words and structures that will be used to describe the commercial.  Once we’ve learned these, I will tell the story of the commercial without watching the video at all.  I’ll describe the main character, what they do, what happens and basically narrate the entire plot of the commercial. 

Not all commercials will lend themselves to this sort of thing – note that I said the PLOT of the commercial.  You might have an ad that doesn’t really have a plot – you can still do clip chat for this, but it may be more useful when you’re focusing on describing characters or products rather than trying to tell a story.  So I might use a commercial that isn’t a “story” to practice vocabulary about physical descriptions, emotion, etc. or words to describe the product.  If we’ve been focusing on the past tense, I might choose a commercial with more of a plot.

Once I’ve told the story of the commercial, we will watch it with the sound off.  I will pause and ask questions about the video.  It may take 5 minutes to get through a 30 second commercial in this step.  Finally, I will turn the sound on and we will watch the commercial all the way through without interruptions.

French TV commerical activity – free analysis activity

Free French TV commercial activity

Finally, this is the most in-depth French TV commercial activity, and it has overlap with other skills outside of the language class!  I am sharing it with you as a free activity that you can use with any level of language learner.

So many people are lacking critical thinking skills and this means that they can easily be manipulated by advertising and marketing.  This activity will not only allow you to use the target language, but it will get students to stop and think about what they are seeing and how companies market to them.  In my book, this is a great thing for them to learn!

There are three different versions of the French TV commercial activity, for different language ability.  It doesn’t matter what commercial you choose – the activity can be done with any commercial and you can do it over and over again.

Level 1 – for beginning French students – all of the questions are in English.

Level 2 – questions are in French, but with check boxes so students can choose their responses.  Two open-ended questions.

Level 3 – all questions are open-ended, in French

Students will analyze the commercial with basic information such as what product is being advertised, who is the target consumer, what is the mood of the commercial, is there a price or slogan, who are the characters in the commercial, and where can you go for more information?

There is also a question that will require students to really think about the ad – how is this product being sold?  There are three methods of selling a product – appeal to credibility (ethos), appeal to emotion (pathos), and appeal to logic (logos).  Students will need to consider how the product is being sold – is there a celebrity endorsement?  Is the seller trying to use strong emotions such as fear or love to sell the product – maybe fear of missing out? Or is it a logical argument for why you should purchase this particular product? This question will likely be the trickiest for students but it will require them to really understand the ad!

To download the freebie, you can visit the store here in Frenchified or hop over to the TPT store.

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