IELTS Advertising Vocabulary

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

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