Listening Topic: Marketing and Advertising – Information conversation

A. Listen to a conversation between Sam and Nicole. Check the main point that Nicole is making.

___ a   It’s important to know how to find products in the supermarket.

___ b   Supermarket products are often placed in inconvenient locations.

___ c   Products in supermarkets are strategically placed in order to increase sales.

B. 1. Listen to the conversation again. Fill in the first column of the chart with the items below.

In the aisles

In back of the store

Near the checkout counters

In the front of the store

Around the sides of the store




1  Milk and ice cream

In back of the store


2  Deli (delicatessen) counter



3  Bakery



4  Special offers and free samples



5  Cleaning products and dog food



6  Candy



2. Listen again. In the second column of the chart, note why each product is placed where it is.





Exercise 1


2   In the front of the store

3   In the front of the store

4   Around the sides of the store

5   In the aisles

6   Near the checkout counter

Exercise 2


1   To make customers pass other items

2   Smells good and attracts customers

3   Smells good and attracts customers

4   Most people go around the side

5   People need it and will look for it

6   People stand next to it at checkout


A = Sam, B = Nicole

A:   I can’t believe it. Every time I go to the supermarket to get milk, I have to walk, like, all the way to the back of the store to get it. You know, why can’t they put the milk near the front of the store?

B:   I know. I was running late the other day and just wanted to run in for some ice cream, but I had to go all the way to the other side of the store, too.

A:   It drives me crazy.

B:   Well, they do it on purpose, you know.

A:   On purpose? What do you mean?

B:   Well, they put things like milk and ice cream at the back of the store, so that you’ll have to go through most of the store and pass a whole bunch of other stuff just to get to it.

A:   Why would they do that?

B:   To make you stop and look at the other stuff, of course. You go in for milk, but you might buy something else.

A:   Really? You mean, they plan this kind of thing? I thought it was just a practical thing.

B:   Well, I think there are practical reasons, too, but marketing people do look at all of that kind of thing. They do research on what people buy at particular stores and how often. And they look at how people move through supermarkets, and that’s how they work out where to put things, to their advantage, of course.

A:   Wow. That never occurred to me.

B:   Oh yeah. I read an article about it in the paper a while ago. There’s a whole science to it. Like, you know how the gourmet stuff – the deli, the fancy bakery, the fresh food – all that stuff is near the front of the store? It smells good. All that baking bread and fresh food – the smell draws people in and tempts them, and then they buy other things they didn’t come for.

A:   Oh, I know. I do that all the time. My supermarket has a great deli counter. I often stop there and get a sandwich for later.

B:   Yeah, even if you didn’t intend to, right?

A:   I guess so.

B:   Supermarkets love people like you. They’re trying to get you to buy something extra, something you didn’t plan to get.

A:   Uh-huh.

B:   All the special offers and the food samples, they’re always around the sides of the store, because most people go around the sides.

A:   Oh yeah. I always go around the side. It seems like it’s the fastest way to get to the things I need. I hardly ever go in the aisles.

B:   Except for when you want cleaning products and dog food and things like that.

A:   That’s right.

B:   Well, they know that if you need that stuff, you’ll go and look for it anyway, so they put cleaning stuff in the aisles because people will go get it anyway, and they put it on a low shelf.

A:   Yeah, that’s right! It is!

B:   ‘Cause there’s a whole thing about which shelf it’s on. Companies pay more for their products to be put on middle shelves.

A:   Really? I had no idea.

B:   Yeah. It’s important to have stuff at eye level if you can.

A:   I guess it is. Huh. Well. They get me, all right. And I always check out the food samples.

B:   So do I. But do you buy the food they’re selling?

A:   Yeah. And then I take it home and don’t use it.

B:   You’re being marketed to. They love you!

A:   You’re right. I’ll have to think about this more. Maybe I should shop more carefully.

B:   Sounds like it.

A:   I guess that’s why they have all the candy at the check-out counter, too.

B:   Same thing. Yeah. It’s hard to say no when you have to stand right next to it for five minutes, or however long it takes.

A:   Just a little chocolate to eat on the way home!

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