Business English: Advertising
Updated: Mar 21
If I asked you what make are your shoes, what would you say? And then if I asked what make is your phone? I’m not asking what your shoes or phone is made of, but I’m asking for the brand. Another more commonly used word for brand is make, and this can be used for any company that produces something. I’m sat here writing this on a Lenovo laptop, drinking Pepsi Max, eating Big Bob nuts, while my Samsung watch vibrates from my notifications on my Huawei phone. While all these makes may be in different markets, they all do the same thing. Advertise!
The world of advertising is vast and it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Each company competing against each other for a piece of the market. Trying to stand out and reel you in with their eye-catching packaging or creative bus stop billboard. Brand awareness is very important and if your company has an excellent reputation, they say you don’t need to advertise too much.
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What do you think of when you hear the word Mercedes, The North Face, or how about Ryanair? I’m guessing mostly positive things come to mind. Of course, these companies are well-known, their marketing budget is massive in comparison with a language school in Lviv for example. These smaller companies can’t afford to advertise on TV, pay a film company to place their product into a scene, or have a celebrity endorse their product or service. They have to rely on the cheaper side of advertising like handing out flyers to pick up business, using a sandwich board or hanging a banner outside their school, office, or restaurant. And, let’s not forget a very important thing in this digital age which is simply writing content for their website to boost SEO and their ranking.
Advertising is everywhere, we are like walking sandwich boards, yes even you with your nice new cut is advertising the hairdresser who cut your hair. If someone says ‘ Oh, I love your new hair do! Where did you get it cut? “ then that is the best type of advertising for anyone, and this is called word-of-mouth. That person will more than likely contact that hairdresser because of their work that you advertised. Great. We can also decide if we like something before buying by sampling, this type of advertising allows us to try, taste, or smell something before we decide if it’s right for us. If our budget is high we might sponsor an event, person, or team. Imagine the exposure you would get seeing your advert on the hoarding of the world cup final.
Of course, starting a business is not easy, you need a name, logo, service or product, slogan, and more importantly decide on your target market and your USP. It’s never been easier to setup a business nowadays, but to keep your head above water in a certain market is another thing. But who knows, sometimes you can get lucky and end up creating an advert or picture that goes viral and have everyone talking about it … just like my favourite slogan here.
Can you think of any jingles from advertisements?
If you had to start a business tomorrow, what market would you enter?
Do you often get junk mail?
What do you think about cold calling and door-to-door marketing, is it an effective way of advertising?
Do you have a favourite slogan or advert?
Talking of adverts, I’d like to end on three adverts that were banned. Two of them are very clear why they were banned albeit not bad ideas and quite funny, but the third has caused a lot of controversy for its reason for being banned. I won’t tell you why it was banned, but I’ll let you decide.
Advert 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyaHzY-8AD4 – BANNED IN THE UK
Luke – a CELTA qualified English native speaker from England based in Lviv, Ukraine.
Skype English lessons and Zoom English classes with a native speaker
Make – another word for brand
Make of – the material something is made from
Vast – very big
Dog-eat-dog – a very competitive industry
Stand out – to be noticed
To reel someone in – to make your customer want something
Eye-catching – something that makes you notice
Fancy packaging – a package that looks expensive
Billboard – a board that is advertised on.
Brand awareness – how other people see your brand
Well-known – established and know by people
Marketing budget – an amount of money to market a product or service
Can’t afford – you don’t have the money for something
Product placement – the type of advertising where products are placed in films and TV
Scene – a part of a film
Endorse/Endorsement – when a celebrity uses or promotes your brand
Hand out – to give people something
Flyers / Leaflets – pieces of paper to promote a business or service
Pick up – to improve by getting more business
Sandwich board – a small board that stands on its own on the pavement usually with some offer written on it
Hoarding/Boards - advertising around a football pitch. Nowadays most are digital
Banner – similar to a poster that you hang outside somewhere. Usually it is long and goes over a balcony.
Content – articles or information
SEO – Search engine optimisation. Making your website show up better than others on search engines
Ranking – what page you appear on Google or somewhere else
Word of mouth - the type of advertising when someone recommends something or someone
Sampling/Samples - the type of advertising where you have little testers of a product to try before you buy. Known as a test drive in the car market.
Budget - a set amount of money you have to spend
Sponsor/Sponsorship - Giving money or something in return for advertising
Exposure - the opportunity of being seen by a lot of people
Target market – the age-group and gender who you will appeal to
USP – Unique selling point
Keep your head above water – to survive
To go viral - when a video or picture is shared around the Internet
Jingle – a little ‘song’ connected to the advertising, like ‘ba-da-ba-da-ba I’m lovin’ it”
Junk mail – advertising put in your post box. Not your email. That’s SPAM
Cold calling – the type of advertising when you call people randomly trying to sell your product or service
Door-to-door – knocking on random houses trying to sell your product or service
Slogan – Just do it!
Banned - Not allowed