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IELTS with Fiona Members Academy

Day 21: Finance and Advertising



Marketing tools:

a marketing ploy/campaign/tactic/gimmick

a slogan/logo


freebies/promotional materials/gifts



a consumer/ a customer

a manufacturer/distributor/vendor/


to advertise – an advertisement – advertising

advertising = the business of persuading people to buy things. (uncountable)

an advertisement, advert, ad  (countable)

a commercial = on radio/TV

to persuade – persuasive – persuasion

to tempt us to buy more

(It’s very tempting. We have to resist temptation!)



Negotiating a pay rise (GT) TFNG

Formal Dress Code (GT) Gap fill with podcast and vocab

Staff Benefits (GT) Gap fill – with vocab and podcast

Staff benefits (‘perks’)

Holiday entitlement

To be eligible for a pension

Paid holiday

Long-service increases

Final salary pension

Life assurance

Annual salary

Staff are entitled to a discount

Subsidised accommodation

Ticket subsidies

Corporate membership

Financial support

Sabbatical leave

Discounted private health care

Car purchase scheme

One-off deals



Listening Part 4: How to keep your place

[Listening Course]

 PDF with Tapescript



Part 2

Describe a gift you gave recently. You should say

  • what the gift was
  • who you gave it to
  • why you chose it

and explain how the person felt about the gift.

Describe a shop near your home that you sometimes use. You should say

  • what sorts of product or service it sells
  • what the shop looks like
  • where it is located

and explain why you use this shop.

Describe an advertisement that you like. You should say

  • what type of advertisement it is
  • what product it advertises
  • where you first saw it

and explain why you think this advert is effective.

Part 3

Do you think local businesses are important for a neighbourhood?

How do large shopping malls and commercial centres affect small businesses?

Why do some people want to start their own business?

Are there any disadvantages to running a business?

What are the most important qualities that a good business person needs?





Learning Link: English File Student’s Site is an amazing place to find lots of learning practice resources for all levels

Also, check out this Wonderopolis page for more Reading and Vocabulary practice related to advertising.

What gives a dollar bill its value?

Capitalism vs socialism

Universal basic income explained

The history of consumerism (YouTube)

Learning from consumer culture (TedTalks)

Conscious consumerism (TedTalks)

Marketing Food to Children (TedTalks)

Get Speaking Feedback

Make a 2-minute video here. (Password ieltsvip1)



Writing Practice

Some celebrations have lost their original meaning and these occasions have become too much about spending money.

What problems can this cause? What could be done to change the situation?


Click here for a model answer

There are several celebrations throughout the year which are dominated by shops and companies taking the opportunity to make large profits. Heavy advertising campaigns, which begin well in advance of the celebration itself, mean that some people pay very little attention to the actual reason behind the event. In the following essay, I will discuss some of the problems this causes and also offer some solutions.

One of the main problems with some celebrations is that the focus on spending money causes great stress and anxiety. People worry about what gifts to buy or about not having enough money to splash out on their loved ones. Take Christmas for example, when people often waste their hard-earned cash on unnecessary or unwanted gifts just because they feel pressured into buying something. Many families end up in serious debt at this time of the year.

Perhaps the most significant problem, however, is that the true meaning of the celebration is forgotten. Most celebrations are about appreciating life and spending time with friends and family. As a result of focusing on presents and money, this is often forgotten, and the tradition of gift-giving can lead to arguments and tension between friends and relatives.

I believe the solutions to these problems are simple. Firstly, it is the duty of schools and parents to educate the younger generation, teaching them the true meaning of each celebration. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, people should agree to limit the number of presents they give and receive, consequently putting less emphasis on the materialistic aspects of the occasion.

In conclusion, therefore, there are several negative effects associated with celebrations revolving around money. In order to limit the effects, the younger generation need to be educated about the true meaning of celebrations and people should resist the marketing ploys that encourage us to buy without thinking about the consequences.

309 words

What are the effects of TV advertising aimed at children?

Should TV adverts aimed at children be controlled?

Click here for a model answer

The advertising industry spends millions of dollars on TV adverts that target children, and there is no doubt that such adverts have a powerful influence on young, impressionable minds. In my opinion, the effects are almost always harmful and I would advocate a total ban. I will outline my reasons below.

A number of studies have found that persuasive marketing can have long-term effects on a child’s physical and psychological well-being. Take for example, the food industry, which falsely promotes certain products as being healthy, while in reality they contain high levels of sugar and saturated fats. Children are unable to see beneath the clever marketing and are lured into fast-food outlets with the promise of a plastic toy. This is having a detrimental impact on our children’s health and yet the government is doing nothing to regulate these misleading campaigns.

Another worrying trend caused by adverts designed to influence children is the pressure put on children to buy the latest products and to conform to the image of happy, smiling people seen in the adverts. Children are brought up believing that material possessions bring happiness, which in turn creates a demand that will never be satisfied. Research has shown that this leads to low self-esteem and depression in later life.

The problems that I have outlined above are just a few of the negative effects that the all-pervasive marketing culture has on the young generation, and I find it incredible that these companies are allowed to exploit children in such a manipulative way. The government must do more to protect children and should strictly censor the type of adverts that children are exposed to.

(276 words)


Day 21: How much can you remember?



Adjectives to describe adverts:

‘I find adverts really…’

– irritating, annoying: they annoy/irritate me

– misleading: they give false information

– persuasive: they persuade me to buy something

– effective: they work!

– slick: skilful and effective, without requiring effort

– memorable: easy to remember

– humorous: funny

– colourful, entertaining, creative, imaginative


Customers often feel pressurised into buying something.

Many companies use marketing ploys to help boost sales.

The Nike logo is called the ‘Swoosh’ and looks like a tick.

The Nike slogan is my favourite – Just Do It.

Promotional events are designed to counter customers’ negative attitudes.

The hard-sell approach doesn’t always work.

In order to enhance customer loyalty, companies try to improve customer perceptions of their trustworthiness.

They provide assurances that personal and credit card information is secure.

It takes more than customer satisfaction for them to return to a retail website.

Online retailers should give discounts on future purchases.

 We live in a consumer society.

Even the very young are conscious of famous brands such as Lego and McDonald’s.

Because of this, it’s important to teach children to be wary of commercials they see on TV.

There are many companies that target young children.

In order to increase their sales, these adverts bombard young children with colorful and entertaining TV ads.

Marketing campaigns aimed at children often feature their favourite cartoon characters, so children need to be taught that not everything they’re watching is a TV show.

They also need to learn that companies often exaggerate the features of toys and may make promises they cannot keep.

consumerism –  the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods.

many people are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of consumerism’

‘We live in a consumer society.’

greed –  selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.

celebrity endorsement. A form of brand or advertising campaign that involves a well known person using their fame to help promote a product or service.



More SPEAKING Topics

Part 2

Describe an open-air or street market which you enjoyed visiting.

You should say:

where the market is

what the market sells

how big the market is

and explain why you enjoyed visiting this market.

Part 3

Shopping at markets

Do people in your country enjoy going to open-air markets that sell things like food or clothes or old objects?

Which type of market is more popluar? Why?

Do you think markets are more suitable places for selling certain types of things? Which ones? Why do you think this is?

Do you think young people feel the same about shopping at markets as older people? Why is that?

Shopping in general

What do you think are the advantages of buying things from shops rather than markets?

How does advertising influence what people choose to buy? Is this true for everyone?

Do you think that any recent changes in the way people live have affected general shopping habits? Why is this?

Part 2

Describe something you don’t have now but would really like to own in the future.

You should say:

– what this thing is

– how long you have wanted to won it

– where you first saw it

and explain why you would like to own it.

Part 3

Owning things

What types of things do young people in your country most want to own today? Why is this?

Why do some people feel they need to own things?

Do you think that owning lots of thing makes people happy? Why?

Salaries for skilled people

Do you think television and films can make people want to get new possessions?

Why do they have this effect?

Are there any benefits to society of people wanting to get new possessions?

Why do you think this is?

Do you think people wil consider that having lots of possessions is a sign of success in the future? Why?

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