Sometimes, a simple change in the design of a project can make all the difference. Case in point, Rachel Mullen’s Spanish 4 Honors class which took a familiar exercise — making a video — and added an authentic audience to create a more meaningful experience for students.

Spanish 4 Honors is an upper-level language course where students creatively explore a variety of cultural and historical topics such as Fantasy and Imagination, the Impact of Television, Dictatorships, and Surrealism.

At the end of the Television Unit, we study how marketing agencies design TV commercials. Because there are many Spanish-speakers living in the United States, many businesses contract multicultural marketing firms to create radio, print and television ads in Spanish to reach a wider audience.

My major learning objectives for this project were for students to be able to watch television commercials in Spanish and to be able to pick out the cultural values that are important to Hispanic communities. Multicultural marketing agencies incorporate these core cultural values to market products and services to Hispanics in the United States.

Students applied their knowledge of the Spanish language and their cultural knowledge to create their own television commercials for the Spanish speakers living in the United States. My classes collaborated with account executives from the multicultural marketing agency Heinrich Hispanidad in Denver, Colorado. Before designing their own commercials, my students asked questions via Skype about the multicultural marketing field, and how to make their own television commercials.

After my students finished their TV spots, I shared the TV commercials with the marketing executives from Heinrich and they gave my students direct feedback about their work via Skype. I hoped that my students would be able to learn about multicultural marketing and apply their language skills and cultural knowledge to make a culturally relevant and thoughtful commercial that would connect with their audience.

From Zaria, Class of 2019:

Creating a commercial in Spanish class was a fun experience overall, and I was extremely proud of the final result. This project was interesting because I had never considered how advertisements vary depending on who the target audience is, so it was fun to observe all of the differences between advertisements marketed for Spanish-speaking countries compared to the ones that are typically aired in America.

My group decided to use the value of family in our advertisement, and this was by far the easiest and most enjoyable part of the whole project because we are all really good friends. I may be biased, but I think that the dramatization and the minimal dialogue made our advertisement entertaining, and it is one of my favorite projects that I have worked on during my time at Hawken.

Throughout the entire process, I learned that a lot of factors go into making an effective advertisement and that a key to marketing success is to include values of the target audience. I hope that future students will take away as much as I have from this project, and take advantage of the chance to collaborate with other students.

Want to hear more about Rachel’s approach? Check out this episode of Wildfire Education’s podcast.
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