An advertisement is a public announcement that announces an event, product or service. Thus, advertising is the process by which events, products or services are brought to the public’s attention and made to look appealing.

Advertisements can be on paper, on TV or online. The nature and ethics of advertising has been the occasion for much debate over the years.

Think of an advertisement you’ve seen recently. Answer these questions.

  1. Where was the advertisement?
  2. What product was advertised?
  3. What was the picture / the story in the ad?
  4. Did you like it? Why? / Why not?


Adverts are everywhere.

There are hoardings in the streets, leaflets in your letter box, jingles on the radio, commercials on TV, brochures in shops, glossy ads in magazines, personal ads in newspapers, handwritten ads on the supermarket wall and famous faces on the sides of buses.

Advertising is a huge industry that uses emotions, logic, snobbery, beauty, music, thruth and lies to make you spend your money. But do adverts influence you?

Read the following comments from an internet forum. Decide if the statements 1 – 6 are true (T) or false (F).

  1. Zippy is sure advertisements change people’s behaviour.
  2. Johnnybubble believes people react to ads without realizing it.
  3. Psrus decides what to buy depending only on the price.
  4. Nial878 thinks many car accidents happen because people buy fast cars they see advertised.
  5. Blowout believes he /she makes rational decisions about what to buy.
  6. Only one person states he / she is never influenced by ads.

Comment by Zippy

Of course adverts influence us. If they didn’t, the companies wouldn’t spend so much money on them. Just think of the power of a good slogan. Something like “Just Do It!” fixes a brand name in people’s minds and so that’s the brand they choose in the shops.

Comment by Helenbee32

I prefer a lot of adverts on TV to the programmes. I like the funny ones the best. But they don’t influence me when I go shopping. I always buy the same brands.

Comment by Johnnybubble

Some people say adverts don’t influence them at all, but they are forgetting about the subconscious effect. When you’re in the supermarket and you pick a product off the shelf, it’s probably because you’ve heard of the brand name or seen the logo, and you feel you can trust it. That’s the effect of advertising.

Comment by Niall878

Unfortunately, adverts influence not just the things people buy, but also the way they behave. A lot of the deaths and injuries on our roads are caused by advertising campaigns that portray cars as a symbol of power and speed and encourage people to drive too fast.

Comment by psrus

Adverts influence me, but in a negative way. I hate adverts, especially those repetitive ones you get on the radio. If an adverts irritates me, I make sure I never buy the product it’s advertising. Apart from that, I always choose the cheapest products I can find whether I’ve seen an advertisement or not.

Comment by blowout

It depends. If an advert gives me some useful information about the product, then of course, I’m more likely to buy it. I always study all the leaflets you get from shops before I buy anything so that I can compare the prices. That way I get the best deal and save money.


Answer the questions.

  1. Which person’s opinion is most like yours? Why?
  2. Which person do you disagree with? Why?
  3. On the whole, do you like or dislike ads? Why?



 Complete this table with words from the text.

Types of advertisements Where you can see / hear them





g_____________  ______

in the street






  • The American word for hoarding is billboard.

 Complete the names of things you see in advertisements. Then give an example of each.

  1. s _ _ _ _ _  – a sentence, usually short, that sounds impressive and is easy to remember.
  2. l _ _ _ _  – a symbol which is the sign of a company
  3. b _ _ _ _ n _ _ _  – the name given to a product by the company that produces it.

Write your opinion about advertising to add to the website.

There are some advantages and disadvantages of advertising.

Advantages of Advertisement

  • Bringing new products to your notice. Advertisements are a great source of inspiration for new things to buy!
  • Creativity. Some adverts are very creative, and fun to engage with in their own right.
  • Helping the economy. Marketing helps to keep the wheels of business well oiled.
  • Spotting your favorite stars. Famous actors often appear in high profile ad campaigns: watch out for them!
  • Treating yourself. Advertisements encourage you to treat and pamper yourself, a great way of boosting your mood.
  • Gift ideas. Advertisements are a handy way of getting ideas for gifts that you can give your loved ones on special occasions.
  • Cultural markers. Adverts often are the barometers of our society, showing what people care about and what our values currently are.
  • A break from the show. When the adverts come on during a TV show, you have time to grab a drink or use the bathroom: very convenient!
  • Time to get some popcorn. As the adverts roll in the movie theater, audience members have time to find a seat or rush out for an extra hot dog.
  • A talking point. Everyone sees the same adverts, so they are something to talk about with your friends.

Disadvantages of adverts

  • Spending money you don’t have. Advertisements can prompt you to spend cash that you should really be saving.
  • Too commercial. Adverts show just how commercialized our society has become.
  • Breaking up your favorite shows. Sometimes, you just want to watch that thriller straight through without having adverts breaking up the action.
  • An online annoyance. Trying to stay absorbed in an online article when ads are popping up left, right and center can be very difficult!
  • A security risk. We have seen the rise of ‘adware’: malicious software that plants risky ads in your computer.
  • Crass and crude. Some people find today’s ad campaigns far too low minded for their liking.
  • Ineffective. Nowadays, people are well aware that advertisements are trying to sell them something, so they can ‘switch off’ instantly as soon as they see an advert, making adverts ineffective.
  • Boring. Some people just find ads monotonous and boring.
  • Unsuitable for kids. Some parents worry about the suitability of certain adverts for their children.
  • A waste of money? The money spent on ad campaigns could be used for education or charity projects instead.


Taking everything into account, it’s up to you to decide whether advertisements are entertaining or boring, inspirational or maniulative.