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I find the world of advertising quite fascinating. Perhaps it has to be. After all, the advertisers want to catch your eye...and sell their products! Whether you are “born to shop” or the thrifty type, I guess you´ll admit that most ads are interesting and nice to look at, with all those colourful and beautiful designs. And you can use them for improving your students´ reading abilities and to broaden their vocabulary range, too! Tip: use a few TV commercials for listening comprehension purposes and added fun.

Most advertisements use images. Start by describing the pictures/scene. As designers and photographers work harder and harder to share with the public their best ideas, there will be lots to talk about, that´s for sure! You will see people, animals and objects of all sorts, often in unusual situations. Some ads are rather controversial...let your students have their most interesting debate ever!

You can exploit ads to illustrate some grammar points (eg the Imperative, the Present Continuous, the Future Simple) and sentence patterns (mainly questions and negative statements.)

To me, though, the main power of advertisements lies in the words they use, the adjectives in particular. You bet they choose them carefully: things in ads are always "amazing", "comfortable", "excellent", "superb", "unique"...and cheap :) Our friend Dave Sperling (where would we be without him ???) claims to be "the one and only", does he not? We all know he is. But this is by the by. I once heard an expert say that, in the advertising world, things are not "yellow" but "golden". Isn't that the language of persuasion? Come to think of it, I assume not many people would be interested in getting an "old expensive rickety chair".

Comparatives and superlatives are used more often than not ("A" Washes Wither ; "B"...Just The Best There Is! ) and witty sentences are easily found: "Switzerland, for the Time of your Life" (seen at a Travel Agent's.) Quite a few products are said to be made "For Your Eyes Only" (quoting the title of a James Bond film) and , until recently, my dear friends :( at Telefónica de España (the main phone company in Spain) urged our visitors over here to "Phone Home" (using the famous words from that lovely scene in the film ET.) One day I´ll tell Spielberg...he may want to claim his rights there... But he must have been told already, mind you...the company has just switched to "Call Home" instead.

So...even if you, like me, have nothing to sell, do turn to advertisements every once in a while...they are fun and the kids enjoy reading them (the stds. are great at writing their own, too!) Ah...and if you surf the www often, you know the magical word already: "click, Click....CLICK !!!" Do your own risk.

Devised by Joan M. Díez Clivillé
IESI Ramon Berenguer IV
Amposta, Tarragona (Spain)
[email protected]
[email protected]

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