Advertising conversation questions

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  • advertising /ˈædvərtaɪzɪŋ/
  • advertisement
BrE: /ədˈvɜːrtɪsmənt/, advert, ad
Ame: /ˌædvərˈtaɪzmənt/, ad


  • What is advertising?
  • Is the purpose of advertisements to give information about products, or is their purpose only to project an image?
  • How truthful do you think advertisements are?
  • Some people complain that adverts stimulate an excessively consumerist society. What do you think?
  • What do you think is the most effective way of advertising something - on TV, the cinema, radio, internet, newspapers or something else?
  • What do you understand to be the difference between the English words "advertising" and "propaganda"?

Adverts and you[edit]

  • What do you like about advertisements?
  • Do you think that advertising should be regarded as an art form?
  • Can you think of an advertisement which you particularly dislike at the moment?
  • What is the funniest advert you can remember?
  • What car advertisements can you remember? What sort of things do they usually tell you about their products?
  • What telephone company advertisements can you remember? What do they tell you about their products?
  • Do you feel that you personally are affected by adverts? Do you ever remember the ad but forget what was being advertised?
  • How frequently do you buy an article in a shop because you remember the advert?
  • Have you ever not bought a product because you were irritated by the advert?
  • What do you imagine it would be like to work in the advertising industry?
  • Have you ever paid for an advertisement or started an advertising campaign?
  • What don't you like about advertisements?

TV and adverts[edit]

  • Do you (or does someone else in your family) channel surf during adverts? How does the rest of the family respond?
  • What do you actually DO when the TV commercials come? Do you watch them? What is the maximum number of things you have managed to do during a commercial break?
  • How is washing powder usually advertised?
  • Is there (or should there be) a limit on the number of advertisements which can be shown? What would be the effect of such a limit?
  • Sometimes people say, "The adverts are better than the programmes". What do you think about this?
  • What do you think of the idea of "product placement" advertisements - the inclusion of particular branded products in films and soap operas?
  • How much more effective do you think an advertisement is if it features a celebrity?

Adverts and the internet[edit]

  • How often do you click on advertisements on web pages or Google search?
  • It is sometimes claimed that the web is the future of advertising. What do you think?
  • How would you define "spam"?
  • How much spam email do you get? Have you ever responded to a spam email?

Adverts and society[edit]

  • Advertising for alcohol and tobacco is now severely limited - do the adverts, or their prohibition, have much impact either way?
  • Are there any other things which shouldn't be advertised?
  • In many countries lightly dressed women frequently feature in advertisements. What do you think of this practice?
  • Should there be any special controls on adverts specifically directed at children? (For instance adverts directed at children under 12 are banned in Sweden.)
  • What moral responsibility, if any, do advertisers have to use "normal looking" people in their advertisements?
  • Some charities sometimes use shocking images of starving children or abused animals in their advertisements. What do you think of this practice?


This is a simple activity, which does not need any materials. Time: depending on class and group size, between 1 and 2 hours.

Talk with the students about commercials or use the questions above.

  • Where do you encounter advertisements?
  • Why do companies advertise?
  • What do you think of advertisements?
  • Why do you think they are good or bad?
  • What is a slogan? Do you know any?

Make a (radio) commercial[edit]

Work in groups

  • Come up with your own company with a good name
  • Think of a product you want to advertise
  • Think about why people should buy your product
  • Come up with a catchy slogan
  • Do the commercial live, in front of class


  • campaign: /kæmˈpeɪn/
  • propaganda: /ˌprɒpəˈɡændə/
  • prohibition: /ˌprəʊɪˈbɪʃən,BrE ˌprəʊəˈbɪʃənAmE/

See also[edit]