“Designing an energy drink” by Doug Martin

Doug Martin, a graphic arts teacher, describes a project in which students design an energy drink label. If you haven’t been in a high school recently, you wouldn’t know that energy drinks have found avid fans in secondary school students, making this a project that students would enjoy. Although Mr. Martin has provided for distinct phases of the project to explore demographics, market research, and ingredients, the latter is done only for the purpose of completing the drink’s label with nutrition facts. He does describe possible extension projects, such as “setting up a photo shoot” for an advertisement, a “storyboard and commercial”, a web site, “viral marketing scheme”, or “promotional items” (37). These are good curriculum-aligned projects for a graphic arts class, but I think one can push further. A marketing class might ask for a comprehensive advertising strategy with consideration given to a cost-benefit analysis. A science class might ask students to design the actual contents of the drink and consider the hypothetical FDA regulation of energy drinks, that is, to justify the ingredients and their safety. One can then ask deeper questions: How do the ingredients distinguish your drink from others? What compromises are you willing to make on safety to sell your product? How far are you willing to go to market the product? These cut to the heart of science and sociology in the service of capitalism and are the sort of conversations students should have to prepare themselves to evaluate the messages that advertisers send them.
Martin, D. (2008). Designing an energy drink. Technology & Learning, 28(8), 36-7.

Published in: on 2009.06.17 at 15:39  Leave a Comment  
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