• Recognizing non-traditional advertising
  • Learning the rules of influencer marketing and how they are applied
  • Becoming aware of the influence advertising has on us


After watching a video that explains the ground rules that influencers must follow if they put advertising content on social media, students analyze two posts. They then play the role of influencer by producing advertising content that follows the rules of advertisement identification and that promotes healthy digital behaviour.



To initiate this activity,  the teacher leads a classroom discussion by asking students the following questions: 
Q. Do you visit social media and networking sites? 

R. Personal replies.

Q. On which platforms do you view posts?  

R. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitch, etc.

Q. What topics are you interested in (examples: sports, lifestyle, fashion, video games, music, animals, etc.)? 

R. Personal replies. 

Q. Do you follow popular accounts or people whose posts you like? If so, which ones?

R.  Personal replies.

Q. How do you feel when you see new posts from your favourite influencer or on an account you really like?

R. Potential replies: I am inspired by this influencer; I feel excited; I feel I belong to a group or a community; it makes me laugh and keeps me from being bored; it makes me discover new things; I admire this influencer and his/her lifestyle; etc.  

Q. In your opinion, what is an influencer?

R. Potential replies: according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, an influencer is “a person who is able to generate interest in something (such as a consumer product) by posting about it on social media.”


The teacher plays the video titled La pub c’est pas juste à la télé! (in French only), by Option consommateurs, in which an influencer unboxes an online purchase she has just received. The video teaches us how to recognize certain advertising content posted by influencers, i.e., posts for which they are paid. 

Continue the discussion by asking the following questions: 

Q. What do you think this influencer’s goal is?

R. To sell a product; influence her followers; create a desire or need; etc.

Q. In the video, what are the signs that tell you the influencer is doing an ad, i.e. being paid to talk to you about the JUIZEE WEAR cap?

R. Unboxing; product placement; mention of the product’s name; hashtags #pub and #ad.

Q. According to you, what is non-traditional advertising? 

R. Potential replies: unlike traditional advertising that can easily be recognized (a commercial break on TV; before the start of an online video; a radio ad; a print ad in a newspaper or a magazine; an ad in a bus shelter or on a roadside billboard; a phone call to sell a product; a flyer in the mail; etc.) non-traditional advertising is advertising that is “disguised” to give the impression it is not an advertisement by “blending in” with the content. It often goes unnoticed. Among other places, it can be found online and on social media. 

It could appear in the form of a recommendation from an influencer (influencer marketing), an advertorial (content marketing), a blog, a newsletter, a website, etc.


On the IWB, the teacher presents two posts by influencers (4.2 Mo) who have been paid to promote a product. The teacher tells the students that although many young people their age are on social media and see all kinds of posts, commercial advertisements targeting people under age 13 are prohibited in Québec, barring certain exceptions. Advertising can have significant repercussions on children, which is why the law tries to protect them. 

The teacher asks the students to determine which of the posts they think best identifies its advertising nature. Students have to justify their choice by filling out the chart in the Student Sheet (426.9 Ko)

Using the Answer Key (457.8 Ko), the teacher goes back over the exercise by pointing out the main supporting elements on the board.

Then, in teams of 2 to 4, the students play the role of influencer by producing a post that follows the rules of advertisement identification and that promotes healthy digital behaviour. For example, managing their screen time, protecting their privacy, paying attention to what they post, avoiding negative online relationships, or protecting their self image by not comparing themselves with others are all healthy digital behaviours. 

Students use the creation plan in the Student Sheet (426.9 Ko) to develop their project, which appears as a post along with a photo or a short video. The teams present their post in the provided template (220.7 Ko). This exercise can be done in class or given out as homework. 

At the end of the activity, the teacher presents and comments on the students’ projects to the whole class. 


Conclude the activity with a classroom discussion:

Q. Have you ever wanted to buy something after finding out about it from an influencer on social media? If so, what was it?

R. Personal replies.

Q. How did the influencer introduce this new product to you? 

R. Potential replies: product unboxing; brand ambassador; product presentation; hit product; mention of a product; contest; promotional code; etc.   

Q. How might the posts you see on social media influence your personal choices or your family’s buying habits?

R. Potential replies: advertising content can lead people to create new needs for themselves; make them want something new and treat themselves; push them into trying something new or visiting new places; choose one brand over another; discover new brands; etc.

Q. Why is it important for followers to always know when an influencer is paid to present them with a product?
Potential replies: so that followers can make an informed decision; develop critical thinking skills when presented with online suggestions; be able to pick out advertising content; see advertising content that complies with the law; etc.    

Q.  Influencers can inspire their followers in positive ways, in areas other than consumerism. Can you give some examples?

R.  Potential replies: commitment to a cause; taking care of oneself and others; accepting bodily diversity; adopting healthy lifestyle habits; promoting physical activity; raising awareness about sexual diversity and gender identity; discovering new hobbies; etc. 

In closing, the teacher makes the students aware of the potential abuses on social media. The impact of influencers on their followers can also be negative: intimidation; negative opinion leaders; homophobia and misogyny; promotion of excessive (e.g., anorexia or orthorexia) or dangerous behaviour; etc. The teacher reminds the students that just because a person has thousands of followers does not mean that his or her opinion is well-founded and credible. It is important to view posts with a critical eye, regardless of their nature.