This workshop has been designed for children. It aims to help them learn about about ad tracking and how online advertisement is tailored to our activity online. They’ll do this by creating their own ad.

Target group
School drop outs, Students (primary school)
Age group
Proficiency level i
Level 1
Activity sheet
Copyright i
Creative Commons (BY-SA)
English, French , Français

General Objective

Knowledge acquisition

Preparation time for facilitator

less than 1 hour

Competence area

4 - Safety

Time needed to complete activity (for learner)

0 - 1 hour

Name of author

Nothing 2hide

Support material needed for training

Sheets of paper-board-pencils-markers-erasers-newspapers-magazines

Resource originally created in

Workshop directions


This workshop will have participants create an ad based on the profile of an internet user. The objective is to develop an understanding of the fact that advertisers adapt their content depending on each user’s profile in order to sell as much as possible.

Facilitation tips: It would be good to follow this with ‘Introduction to Cookies‘ to understand more about how personal data is harvested.

Workshop preparation

Prepare the material in advance: pencils, paper sheets, pens, erasers etc. Choose some magazines or photos with photos you can cut out that are relevant to the interests of the profiles proposed, e.g. sports accessories, football, rugby, video games, computers, tablets, smartphones, stationary, kids’ clothes, telescopes, theme parks such as Disneyland (Space Mountain for an interest in astronomy will work well!) etc.

Targeted ads

Before starting the activity, explain that when we go online, we leave data traces: on YouTube, on library websites, on Instagram, on recipe sites etc. Each site actually keeps data on every visitor. As a result, they know our habits — they know us more than we realise. They will know at what times we are online, what we do in our free time, our interests, tastes, where we live and where we go. They collect all these kinds of data. From this information, sites can give us what we call an ad profile. This allows brands – Disney, Nike, Apple etc. – to target ads at you adapted to your tastes depending on the sites you visit. For more information on personal data, see the workshop roadmap ‘Personal data’ (in progress).

Making your own ads

Image in the public domain

Explain the activity: ‘Today you will imagine you are a brand creating a new ad campaign. You will choose one of the three profiles at random: Maggie, Paul or Samantha. From the information you will have on your person, create an ad matching their tastes designed to draw them in. The goal: make them buy! Take your pencil, pens, erasers etc. and get to work!’ Give them around 30 minutes to work. Each participant will now present their ad. Together, they must award three prizes:

  • Prize for the funniest ad
  • Prize for the prettiest ad
  • Prize for the ad most adapted to its target

Here are the three profiles: Maggie is 9 years old. She likes school well enough but her main thing is football. She is a member of a football club in town. With her parents, she follows the club’s activities on the internet and via Facebook. It’s a passion she shares with her father. On the weekends, they often check the sports results online (sports websites, blogs, etc.). Her favourite team is Liverpool. She already has one of their jerseys. When she goes on line, she also enjoys following rugby results. She lives in Ireland and rugby is very big there. She has started secretly checking which matches are coming up on the tablet while her parents are make dinner. Paul spends his time on YouTube. As soon as he finishes his homework (last year of secondary school so pretty serious), he’s straight on to watch a few videos. At the moment, his thing is watching streamers – the people who film themselves playing video games and narrate at the same time to share their experience. You can watch them win, lose and can laugh along with them! Paul’s favourite at the moment is Squeezie. He also enjoys videos on challenges and achievements in sport. He loves biking, surfing and skiing in particular. Samantha is 7 years old. She loves astronomy. She’s really into science in general, but the sky, the planets, the stars…she could spend hours reading books to expand her knowledge. As she has read everything on the subject at the library she now goes on the internet to keep learning. Her parents even choose articles that explain to her the latest news, like the launching of that recent rocket. She goes on blog and sites for kids that tell her about all that. She even signed up to an astronomy forum!

Going further

Don’t hold back in giving more detail on advertising. Remind the group that Maggie, Paul and Samantha just decided to go online. As far as we know, none of them went online to buy anything. Without them knowing though, many strings are being pulled behind the scenes to try to steer them to buy.