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Vocabulary and Pronunciation Lesson – Advertising

This lesson focuses on essential advertising vocabulary. There is also an audio so you can listen to how the words are pronounced. At the bottom of the page, is some practice exercises to learn how to use these words correctly. Advertising is a common topic in both IELTS speaking and writing task 2, so you must learn all the basic vocabulary to be able to talk and write on this topic.

This lesson contains a lot of vocabulary. Take your time to learn the words and practice your pronunciation. There is an audio under each table for pronunciation practice.

Forms of the word:

  • ad (n)
  • advert (n)
  • advertise (vb)
  • advertising (v+ing)
  • advertisement (n) (there are two different pronunciation – UK and USA)

Main Types of Advertisements:

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BillboardsThese are often signs on the road or at sport stadiums. Large billboards can give a message with impact but with limited information.
Newspaper adsThese adverts can either be national or local. They are placed in particular sections in the newspaper.
TV CommercialPromotion of products and services using colour, action, sound and sight. These are memorable and accessible to a large market. They are good to show how something works and can be persuasive.
Magazine adsThese are aimed at a specific market and interest group. The ads are colourful and eye-catching but can be more expensive than newspaper ads.

Other Types of Advertisements:

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Direct MailsLetters and adverts are sent directly to customers. This is a direct approach with a select audience.
Radio AdvertisingThis approach reaches a target audience and relies on them listening to particular station. However, the message can easily be forgotten.
Text MessagesThese promotions reach a target audience in real-time but they have a limited number of characters in the text.
Internet Pop-upsThey can impact a viewer and allow them easy access to the product. However, they can be annoying, intrusive and some even crash the system.
Email AdvertisingDirect advertising to the customer. it is cost effective as long as the customer database is up-to-date.
FlyersSmall flyers with printed information handed out to customers face to face. They can be attractive and informative but also costly.

More Types of Advertising

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Transit AdvertisingThese are usually posters on trains, buses, taxis and underground railways.
Covert AdvertisingThis is when a product or brand is incorporated into a movie or TV show. It is not commercial advertising, it is subtle advertising. For example, James Bond drives a BMW.
SponsorshipA company sponsors an event or entity in return for regcognition of the brand or product. For example, companies funding schools or sporting events in return for them using their equipment.
TelemarketingThis involves promoting and selling over the phone. This offers direct contact with the customer but can be intrusive if it is a “cold-call”, which means an unasked for call.
Celebrity EndorsementA celebrity is paid to promote and market a product through TV ads or event appearances. This can be effective as it is high profile but it does rely on the celebrity image remaining constant and popular.


Practice Exercises with Advertising Vocabulary

Use the vocabulary above to complete the sentences. Words may be used more than once.

  1. I think I prefer …………….. because they are really good fun to watch and often have a catchy tune or song to go with them.
  2. Last night, I was just sitting down to my favourite series on TV when the phone rang. It was another …………. I find them really annoying.
  3. Personally, I think that …………………… in movies is the most effective because you aren’t even aware that you are being targeted by a company while you’re watching.
  4. I think ………………… are a great way to advertise because they are so entertaining but I guess they must be very costly to put on, particularly at peak viewing time.
  5. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to work online and getting bothered by ………………
  6. I hardly ever pay attention to adverts in the ………………….. because they aren’t usually very attractive but whenever I flick through a ……………., I’m constantly drawn towards their beautiful, glossy ads.
  7. I find telesales quite ……………….. because they call your home to sell you something. I think it’s an invasion of privacy.


  • eye-catching = appealing, attractive
  • subtle = not obvious
  • flick through a magazine = look at the pages quickly
  • to target an audience = to aim for a group of people
  • catchy tune = an appealing melody
  • peak viewing time = a time when the majority of people are watching
  • glossy = shiny
  • specific market = particular group of people
  • specific interest group = particular group of people with the same interests
  • persuasive = it convinces us to do something or think something
  • memorable = it stays in our minds for a long time
  • intrusive = causing annoyance, uninvited
  • invasion of privacy = when your privacy has been invaded (entered) without permission
  • up-to-date = current
  • customer database = list or record of customers

Listen to Audio

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  1. TV commercials
  2. cold call
  3. covert advertising
  4. TV commercials
  5. pop-ups
  6. newspaper / magazine
  7. intrusive

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