IELTS Topic: Advertisement

Vocab & Idioms

Go over the following vocabulary and expressions with your tutor. Read the word/expression and definition out loud, and your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

advertising agency (n) a company that creates adverts for other companies
brand awareness (n) how well people know a particular brand
call to action (n) something that encourages someone to take a particular action, such as making a purchase or clicking a link on a website
celebrity endorsement (n) to have a well-known person promote a product
commercial break (n) the short period during TV programmes when advertisements are shown
to go viral (v) to quickly become extremely popular on the Internet through social medi
mass media (n) large media outlets like TV, newspapers and magazines
to place an advert (v) to put an advert somewhere
prime time (n) the time during the viewing schedule when most people watch TV or listen to a broadcast
target audience (n) the people a company want to sell their product or service to

Part 1 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Topic

  • Are there any TV channels in your country that don’t have adverts?
  • Do you enjoy watching adverts on TV?
  • What are the best ways for ordinary people to advertise something they want to sell in your country?

Part 2&3 Questions

Here are possible questions that might come up during the test. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an advert you once saw that was very effective. You should say:
    • where this advert appeared
    • when you saw it
    • what it was advertising
    • and say why you thought it was so effective.

Part 3 Questions

  • What is it that makes an advert effective?
  • What kinds of media are available for advertising in your country?

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an advertisement that made you want to buy a product . You should say:
    • Where you saw the advertisement
    • What was the product?
    • What was the advertisement about?
    • Why did it make you want to buy that product?

Part 3 Questions

  • Are there any other traditional kinds of media for advertising other than TV and the Internet?
  • What things do advertising companies do that might give it a bad name?

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an unforgettable advertisement that you saw or heard . You should say:
    • What the product was
    • What the advertisement was about
    • Who was in the advertisement
    • Why it was unforgettable.

Part 3 Questions

  • In general, what are the pros and cons of advertising?
  • Do you think there’s too much advertising in our daily lives?

Sample Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Part 1 Questions

  • Are there any TV channels in your country that don’t have adverts?

    • No … they’re all commercial channels and show adverts all day long … too many really … and there’s also a lot of product placement going on … especially in soap operas where they place an item just behind the actors.
  • Do you enjoy watching adverts on TV?
    • No … not really … I hate commercial breaks during a film … it really spoils the flow … and during prime time viewing they seem to squeeze even more ads in than usual … celebrity endorsements also get on my nerves … everyone knows they’re only doing it because they’re getting paid.
  • What are the best ways for ordinary people to advertise something they want to sell in your country?
    • The simplest way is to place an advert in something like the classified ads section of a local paper … or there’s the Internet of course … there are lots of sites like eBay where you can buy and sell things online.

Part 2&3 Answers

Here are some sample answers. Go over them with your tutor.

Sample A

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an advert you once saw that was very effective. You should say:
    • where this advert appeared
    • when you saw it
    • what it was advertising
    • and say why you thought it was so effective.

OK … well this was about 4 years ago … I was looking for some software to create videos … one day I got an email from a mailing list I’d signed up to … there was a link in it to a press release … a company had written something about a new product that was similar to what I was looking for … at the end of the press release there was a link to the sales page … I hadn’t heard of the company but I was interested and clicked the link to the ad …. what caught my attention immediately were the number of testimonials from people who had bought the software … I think testimonials are like the online equivalent of word of mouth advertising and are really persuasive … anyway … when I got to the bottom of the page there was a great big call to action button inviting me to buy … I was totally persuaded and ended up making a purchase … what made it so effective I think was the power of those testimonials … they’d been written by people very much like me … they’d had a need and the software had obviously turned out to be just what they were looking for … when you think that this was a newish company they wouldn’t have had any brand awareness at all … they probably wouldn’t have had much of a budget for advertising … obviously you wouldn’t advertise a product like this through the mass media on TV … they probably didn’t even have an advertising agency to support them …and yet they’d managed to create a great deal of brand loyalty from previous customers … I think that was really effective.


Part 3 Questions

  • What is it that makes an advert effective?

    • Well … when a company launches a product they have to consider the Internet … especially how it can be used to spread the word on social media … so in this context a video that goes viral is probably the most effective type of advert you could make.
  • What kinds of media are available for advertising in your country?
    • To name a few, I think TV, radio, and social media are some advertising channels that are big in my country. Although people are watching less TV than before, commercials with celebrity endorsement always has somewhat big impact on products’ or companies’ brand awareness. Also, recently I’ve been seeing a lot of online ad placements on social media such as Facebook.

Sample B

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an advertisement that made you want to buy a product. You should say:
    • Where you saw the advertisement
    • What was the product?
    • What was the advertisement about?
    • Why did it make you want to buy that product?

There are several advertisements that we see on the TV daily and some of them are very boring and others are average while some are very interesting and creative. One such advertisement that I really liked was regarding the unmatched contributions of mothers for their kids which I saw a few months back. The advertisement was broadcasted for the ‘Mother’s Day’ and it was not for any product. The ministry of child & mother care of health department was the sponsor of this ad and I saw it 3-4 days before the last ‘Mother’s Day’.

This ad was a very creative one and it was not like the most other ads that publicise or advertise their products. Rather it was an advertisement dedicated to the mothers and it reminded us that the toughest job in the world is the job done by mothers. They take care of their kids with the utmost care and dedication. They sacrifice their own wished and will to properly bring up the kids.

I saw this ad in the (…say a channel name..) UR TV channel. This was a creative ad that effectively delivered the message it intended to. It has shown some successful person in the history at the end and before that it showed how mothers are taking care and inspiring their kids to do good things and in the end, it shows the tribute to the mothers of the world for their valuable and second to none contribution.


Part 3 Questions

  • Are there any other traditional kinds of media for advertising other than TV and the Internet?

    • I’d imagine the main advantage is you can reach your target audience much more effectively … if you bring out a niche product for example … or you have a tight advertising budget … you can advertise on particular sites that the people you want to reach visit … that’s not something you can do on TV.
  • What things do advertising companies do that might give it a bad name?
    • For me the most irritating is cold calling … we must get two or three of these every day at work … then there’s junk mail that gets posted through the letterbox … and of course the online equivalent of this … spam emails … I think it’s this kind of advertising that tends to annoy people.

Sample C

Part 2 Questions

  • Describe an unforgettable advertisement that you saw or heard. You should say:
    • What the product was
    • What the advertisement was about
    • Who was in the advertisement
    • Why it was unforgettable

I’m going to talk about an advertisement for Coca-Cola, which is one of the biggest brands in the world. I’ve seen Coke advertised everywhere, on posters and TV commercials. The advert shows a picture of Santa Claus smiling and holding a bottle of Coke. I think the aim is to target children and associate (link/connect) the brand with Christmas time. The advert is interesting because the company is deliberately trying to influence and attract children. The marketers are trying to capture young customers. They are presenting the drink as something special, a gift for Christmas. However, Coca-Cola is not necessarily a healthy drink for children; it contains a lot of sugar. Maybe this kind of advertising manipulates children and encourages them to pester their parents.


Part 3 Questions

  • In general, what are the pros and cons of advertising?

    • Well, looking at the advantages, I’d say that the main one is that it can help increase the awareness of a product or service, and in a lot of cases, you can reach a very wide target market through advertising, for example with TV and Internet ads.

      And as for the drawbacks, well I suppose the most obvious one is the cost, because as I’m sure you know, advertising isn’t cheap, and you have to pay for it up front, before you can start enjoying the benefits. So in other words, there’s quite a big element of risk to it, because you know, you could end up losing quite a lot of money if your advertising campaign isn’t successful.

  • Do you think there’s too much advertising in our daily lives?
    • Yeah, I’d say there is, because it seems that wherever we look nowadays, there’s something being advertised. You know, it’s almost impossible going anywhere without seeing an advert of some sort. So it kind of feels like we’re being constantly bombarded with information, left, right and centre! And for the most part, people don’t have the slightest desire to see any of it. So yeah, I think there’s way too much advertising at the moment!

Wrap-up

Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

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