Last week I had the pleasure of team-teaching with my wonderful English coordinator Michele. Like myself, Michele is a devoted fan of ABC’s Gruen Transfer, a program about how advertising manipulates our thinking. We used the program’s Consumer’s Revenge feature to access video and audio snippets in order to assemble advertisements around the ficticious “Gruen Beer.”
The idea we proposed to the students was that parodies of advertisements have the power to challenge and critique (and sometimes even overturn) media-based assumptions about how we think. Good parodies often reveal hidden agendas, expose truths and show how stereotypes have been used to advance prejudices or maintain the status quo. Coming up with this kind of a parody was our challenge for the students.
Here’s a video with the original concept, students at work and some of the products they came up with: