You may be asked questions about advertising in your country. Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Are there any TV channels in your country that don’t have adverts?
Loraine: 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.
Examiner: Do you enjoy watching adverts on TV?
Karin: 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.
Examiner: What are the best ways for ordinary people to advertise something they want to sell in your country?
Marianne: 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-style task
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.
Max: 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-style questions
Examiner: What is it that makes an advert effective?
Spencer: 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.
Examiner: What are the advantages to companies of advertising on the Internet rather than TV?
Stelios: 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.
Examiner: What things do advertising companies do that might give it a bad name?
Raol: 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.
- advertising agency: a company that creates adverts for other companies
- advertising budget: the amount of money a company decides to spend on advertising
- brand awareness: how well people know a particular brand
- brand loyalty: the degree to which people continue to buy from the same brand or company
- buy and sell: often used to refer to the buying and selling of items between individuals
- call to action: something that encourages someone to take a particular action, such as making a purchase or clicking a link on a website
- celebrity endorsement: to have a well-known person promote a product
- classified ads: small advertisements often put in a newspaper or magazine by individuals
- to cold call: to call someone with the aim of selling something without them asking you to do so
- commercial break: the short period during TV programmes when advertisements are shown
- commercial channel: TV channels that make money from showing advertisements
- to go viral: to quickly become extremely popular on the Internet through social media
- junk mail: unwanted promotional leaflets and letters
- to launch a product: to introduce a new product
- mailing list: a list of names and contact details used by a company to send information and advertisements
- mass media: large media outlets like TV, newspapers and magazines
- niche product: a product that is aimed at a distinct group of people
- to place an advert: to put an advert somewhere
- press release: something written by a company for newspapers and magazines and websites to share and publish
- prime time: the time during the viewing schedule when most people watch TV or listen to a broadcast
- product placement: to advertise a product by using it as a prop in a TV show or film
- sales page: a page specifically used to promote a product or service
- to show adverts: to display adverts on TV
- social media: websites that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
- spam email: unwanted, promotional email
- target audience: the people a company want to sell their product or service to
- word of mouth: recommendations made by individuals to other individuals about a product of service