FTC Campaign Designed to Help Tweens Decode Ad Messages

The Federal Trade Commission announced a new advertising-literacy campaign for “tweens” ages 8 through 12 designed to teach kids how to understand the true meaning of ads in order to become smart consumers.

The campaign’s content, which includes games for the tweens and teaching aids for teachers and parents, is free and available at The curriculum is designed to teach tweens critical thinking skills so they can decode the advertising that bombards them from television, the Internet, billboards and placards on buses and taxis.  The central theme of the campaign is to have tweens ask themselves these questions when they see or hear advertisements: Who is responsible for the ad? What is the ad actually saying? What does the ad want me to do?

The website games all reinforce the same critical thinking skills while having children take part in such activities as evaluating ad claims, finding out how ads are targeted and building and targeting ads of their own.

“Today’s kids see advertising everywhere – in movies and TV shows, outdoors, on phones, in games,” David C. Vladeck,  the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection director, said in a news release.   “That’s why it’s important to teach them how to apply critical thinking skills to the ads they see.”



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