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Watch this YouTube video, which is sweet and wistful all the way up until you realize it’s selling flavored sugar water:

The question I asked my students was, “when did you realize it was selling you Coke?” and “how many times did you see Coke throughout?”

The kids who are unfortunate sponges for product placement didn’t notice it was a Coke ad until the end. Savvier shoppers spotted the Coke billboard halfway through.

These classroom conversations are fun and useful and I’m glad we make room for them in math. I have given up posting my show and tell media here but if you’d like a feed of photos and video I show in my classes every day, I have tagged them here.

4 Responses to “Are You A Sucker For Product Placement?”

  1. on 06 Apr 2009 at 9:01 pmJazo

    I thought the billboard was a coincidence, but I realized it when I saw the vending machine.

  2. on 07 Apr 2009 at 5:34 amKevin

    I’m glad to see someone else goes off topic occasionally. I do feel like I should be more than just a math teacher. So sometimes I’ll bring in stuff like the above just to broaden their minds. Or if they have some misconception I’ll spend a little time exploring it, whether or not its about math.

    Cheers,
    Kevin

  3. on 07 Apr 2009 at 6:16 amEric Hoefler

    This is the kind of “literacy” education I wish happened in more English classrooms, though I’m not at all trying to confine it there. I’m just saying it should at least be happening there.

    I’ve appreciated and enjoyed watching you discuss how you bring “math literacy” into your classroom and connect it back to the real lives of students.

  4. on 20 Apr 2009 at 11:18 amChristian Long

    Have you shown your kiddos the infamous “1984″ Mac ad (directed by Ridley Scott, created by Chiat/Day) yet?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

    Lots of background. Here’s the most obvious:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_(television_commercial)

    Intriguing commentary, too: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10148380-36.html

    Spent an entire 45 min period on that single 1 min ad just the other day as we launched into Orwell’s like-named novel. The kids had read the “2 Minutes Hate” section early on, but otherwise were completely unsure of the larger connections…and certainly didn’t make the LA Olympics, Cold War, IBM = Big Blue, etc connections until we began to deconstruct it second by second on pause.

    Even had them write about it afterward to see what grabbed their attention:

    http://rabbitsandcheshirecats.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/sem2-q4-2-surprising-pop-cultural-moment/#comments