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The Advertising Industry  Long-form Listening Comprehension Exercise

This week we have a long-form listening comprehension exercise. The aim of this exercise is to help students develop the notetaking skills they will need to follow lectures at an English speaking university.  The podcast comes from 2018 and is all about changes in the advertising industry. I would suggest that you allow ten to fifteen minutes for the pre-listening questions. The programme is just under thirty minutes long, so give the students plenty of time (I usually assign the long-form listening comprehension exercises as homework). The questions are there to help ESL students follow the main gist of the conversation. 

Just to make it a bit more challenging, there will be no pre-listening vocabulary for this exercise! The learner level for this exercise is a good B2 and above.

Host and Guests

Evan Davis -Host 

Sir John Hegarty, Co-founder BBH

Rohan Midha, Managing Director, PMYB

Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy

 Note: Rory Sutherland speaks in a very posh, upper-class manner. Some of the words and phrases he uses are quite obscure, even for British people!

Before you listen

  1. What is your favourite advertisement? Why do you like it? What is it for? When and where do you experience the advertisement?
  2.  Can you recall any “iconic” advertisements from when you were growing up? What makes for an iconic advert? The image? The story? The music? The tag line?
  3. Where do we encounter advertisements? Does the type of product dictate which media is used, or is the target audience more important in deciding where to put the advert?
  4. Some argue that television advertising is no longer effective for reaching younger consumers. Do you agree?
  5. Do you follow any influencers? If so, in which product or service categories? Do they actually influence your consumption habits?

Note: There are two ways to pronounce advertisement.

The British way (also used by some other native speakers) is /ədˈvɜː(r)tɪsmənt/.

The American way is /ˈædvɚˌtaɪzmənt/.

British people often use the shortened version of the word: advert.

Podcast Link

The Bottom Line -Advertising

Long-form listening comprehension: questions to guide your writing

  1. What types of brands are BBH’s principal clients?
  2. When was BBH founded?
  3. Why does John Hegarty recommend that young entrepreneurs focus on building brands rather than on building businesses?
  4. What is the difference between behavioural economics and traditional economics? Why is the difference important?
  5. What does PMYB do? What is its USP?
  6. According to Rory Sutherland, what is the best way to get sales through influencer marketing?
  7. According to John Hegarty, what is changing in advertising/marketing? What is staying the same?
  8. John Hegarty believes TV advertising is still relevant. What evidence does he present to back up his case?
  9. What was the cost to reach 1000 people (CPM) of TV advertising in 2009? What was it in 2018?
  10. John Hegarty states that the cost of TV advertising has always been rising. What is the reason for this?
  11. Summarise Rory Sutherland’s thoughts on “reach” and impact.
  12. What is Rory Sutherland’s signalling theory? How does he feel about narrow targeting? Do you agree with what he is saying?
  13. Rohan Midha disagrees with Rory Sutherland. What examples does he give to support his viewpoint?
  14. What is the presenter’s opinion?
  15. How does John Hegarty respond to Rohan Midha’s and the presenter’s comments?
  16. How does Rory Sutherland then respond?
  17. How many data points does PMYB measure?
  18. What is the danger of relying too much on data?
  19. What percentage of influencers who were asked admitted to manipulating comments and follower numbers? What does Rohan Midha believe the true figure is?
  20. How can they discover if an influencer has purchased followers?
  21. Why is the answer to marketing still creativity?
  22. How can influencers indicate that they are being paid to promote a product?

After Listening Discussion

Having listened to the podcast, do you believe that traditional advertising is dead? What are the pros and cons of different advertising media?