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JANUARY 2009

K
MAY 2009

PRINT & TEACH LESSON

ADVERTISING
Language Function:

discussing issues; understanding a written text

Vocabulary/Topic:

advertising; brain research; human mind; persuasion

advanced
upper-intermediate
intermediate
pre-intermediate

ISSUE NO: 245

focus on talking
Activity 1. Ask and answer these questions
in pairs.
What is your attitude towards advertising?
Does advertising make our life better or
worse? Would the world without advertising be
a better place or not?
What is the main goal of advertising? What
would you call a successful advertising
campaign? Does an effective advertising
campaign need to be persuasive?

VOCABULARY BOX

Does advertising affect your choice of


products and services? What kind of
advertising do you find most effective?

advertisement - an announcement in a public


medium promoting a product, service, or event

commercial - a TV or radio advertisement

Whats the best TV commercial you have seen


recently? Why did you like it? Do you think it
was persuasive?

infomercial - a TV commercial shown in a format of a


television programme

What kind of TV commercials do you find


annoying? Why?

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ADVERTISING

focus on reading
Activity 2. Scan read the article to find out:

1. What is the salience model of advertising?


2. What are its implications for advertisers?

NO NEED TO BE

PERSUASIVE
memorable is good enough

Suppose you were asked whether advertising has ever persuaded you to choose a
certain brand of cereal, washing powder or car. My gut feeling is that, just like me,
you would be quite reluctant to admit that your decisions are influenced by what
you can see and hear in the commercials we are all bombarded with every single
day. We tend to think that our decisions are based on a logical analysis of pros and
cons of each product or service. Yet, billions of dollars are spent each year by
companies trying to persuade us to buy. Is all that money wasted, or are we,
consumers, completely wrong about our decision-making?
The new research carried out by neuroscientists and psychologists provides some
evidence that we might, after all, be right. Recent years have seen a rapid progress
in the understanding of how our brains work. This knowledge casts a new light on
how our behaviour and attitudes are shaped, very often contradicting the views
that are prevalent among advertisers.
One of the most widespread opinions is that advertising should be persuasive. It
should change consumers thoughts and feelings about the brand in such a way that
they will hurry to the shop to buy the product. Apparently, there is little evidence to
support this view. We are very reluctant to change our attitudes, and it does not
matter if it is an attitude towards a particular brand of chocolate bar or a political
party. Ask yourself how likely you are to vote for a party which you did not vote for

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ADVERTISING

in the last election. Why should we be more eager to switch to a new brand of
cornflakes? After all, the outcome of the latter decision, unlike exercising of the
voting right, would really influence our daily lives. And even if we assumed that it is
true that advertising can change our attitudes, how can we be sure that the shift in
peoples attitudes influences their buying behaviour? In fact, there is little evidence
to support this claim, too. Consumers often make purchase decisions in seconds and
do not want to spend too much time and effort evaluating the pros and cons of all
the brands on the shelf.
So far, it seems that our belief that we
are immune to advertising is justified.
Well, not really. The fact that advertising
is not persuasive does not mean it is not
effective. Quite opposite - it is very
effective if its goal is not to persuade us
but instead, to build brand salience.
Brand salience is the likelihood that the
brand will be recalled at the right time,
which is in the buying situation.
According to neuroscientists, successful
adver tising builds and reinforces
consumers memories about a brand and
hence brand salience. What we should
expect from advertising is not that it is
persuasive but that it is noticeable and
memorable.
In a typical buying situation we never consider all available brands, instead, we
consider two or three. Which brands come to our minds? Not those which tried to
persuade us about their value but simply the ones we remember. Also, we tend to
choose what we find more familiar; the more information we retrieve about a brand,
the more likely we are to select it. So, according to the salience model, the main aim
of advertising should be to make the brand as prominent as possible in consumers
minds. Advertising does not need to persuade to be effective. Instead, it should build
and consolidate memories about brands and thus increase the probability of being
chosen by consumers.
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ADVERTISING

focus on comprehension
Activity 3. Read the article again and decide whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F).
1. Most people are unwilling to admit that they
are influenced by advertising.
2. The new research carried out by
neuroscientists and psychologies has
confirmed advertisers understanding of
consumers behaviour and attitudes.
3. A lot of people believe that advertising
should be persuasive in order to be
effective.
4. According to the author, we are not affected
by advertising.
5. According to neuroscientists, adverts need
to be memorable in order to be effective.
6. Consumers prefer new brands to the ones
they know well.

focus on talking
Activity 4. Discuss these questions in pairs.
Do you find the salience model of advertising credible? Do you agree that advertising does not need to be
persuasive to be effective.
How do you behave in a typical buying situation? Do you tend to choose products that you find more
familiar? How many brands do you usually consider before making a decision?
According to neuroscientists, advertising needs to be memorable and noticeable. How to make adverts
more memorable and noticeable? Can you give any examples of such advetising campaigns? What made
them memorable and noticeable?

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ADVERTISING

focus on vocabulary
Activity 5. Explain the following words and phrases.
1.

I have a gut feeling that ...

.................................................................................................

2.

reluctant

.................................................................................................

3.

pros and cons of something

.................................................................................................

4.

to cast a new light

.................................................................................................

5.

contradict

.................................................................................................

6.

prevalent

.................................................................................................

7.

to exercise ones voting right

.................................................................................................

8.

to be immune to something

.................................................................................................

9.

hence

.................................................................................................

10.

to retrieve

.................................................................................................

focus on vocabulary - persuasion


Activity 4. Match these words and expressions with their definitions
1. to brainwash

A. to persuade someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do

2. to coax

B. to persuade someone by telling them repeatedly to do something

3. to lobby

C. to make someone believe something by continually telling them that it is true and preventing any
other information from reaching them

4. to coerce

D. to persuade someone to do something they might not want to do, by pleasant talk and promises

5. to dissuade

E. to persuade someone not to do something

6. to badger

F. to persuade a politician, the government or an official group that a particular thing should or should
not happen, or that a law should be changed

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