Listening Topic: Marketing and Advertising – Listeners’ responses to a documentary

A. Listen to the responses to a radio program about advertising. Circle on the list below the five opinions that you hear.

___ a   The advertising industry is too powerful.

___ b   Advertising looks ugly in a natural landscape like a beach or a desert.

___ c   Children see too many ads for junk food.

___ d   Advertising should not be aimed at children.

___ e   Children should learn to evaluate advertisements.

___ f   Advertising is an important part of our economy.

___ g   A lot of advertising gives false or misleading information.

___ h   Young people are so used to advertising that they don’t pay any attention to it.

B. Listen to the responses again, and choose the correct answer for each item below. Listen again if necessary.

 Edna Sullivan most dislikes ____.

      a   billboard advertising

      b   advertising on buses

      c   advertisements in natural areas

 Which one of these points does Robert Bianchi not mention?

      a   Advertising helps companies stay in business.

      b   Advertising helps customers decide which products to buy.

      c   Advertising helps keep prices low.

 Victor Rodriguez doesn’t allow his children to watch commercial TV because ____.

      a   they are very young

      b   there are too many commercials

      c   they watch it in school

 Where do Rodriguez’s children see advertisements in school?

      a   On posters and in books

      b   On the school bus

      c   On TV

5   What kind of advertising does Laura Wellman not mention?

      a   Ads in school lunches

      b   Ads on the drink machines

      c   Ads on sports clothing

6   What does Sarah Cohen think parents should do?

      a   Believe what their children say about advertising

      b   Limit the amount of advertising that their children see

      c   Teach their children how to react to advertising



b ✓   d ✓   e ✓   f ✓   h


1 c   2 b   3 b   4 a   5 a   6 c


A = Host 1, B = Host 2, C = Edna Sullivan, D = Victor Rodriguez

A:   Time now to look at our mailbox for some of the reactions to last week’s show.

B:   If you were watching last week, you will remember that the show looked at advertising: how much of it there is, where it’s done, and who is being targeted. In particular, we looked at the growing trend towards advertising in schools.

A:   We had a lot of e-mails and phone calls in response to that program. Here’s Edna Sullivan, from Huntington, West Virginia:

C:   I don’t mind advertising on billboards and bus shelters, and I’ve gotten used to seeing ads on lampposts, and trashcans, and supermarket floors and elevators and all the rest of it. But I was very upset by some of the advertising that you showed in places of natural beauty, like the billboards in the desert. It looks awful to have advertising in places like that. Our landscape is a previous resource, and I don’t think it should be spoiled by advertising.

B:   For a different point of view, let’s read an e-mail we received from Robert Bianchi in New York. He said, “Companies have to attract customers in order to survive. That is the nature of our economy. Successful businesses are the ones that know how to do that. No matter how good your product is, if you can’t attract customers you won’t succeed. We should remember that without advertising, many companies, and the jobs that they provide, would simply not exist, and we’d all pay a lot more for the products and services we take for granted.”

A:   The segment on advertising in schools generated a lot of responses. Here’s Victor Rodriguez, from Albany, New York.

D:   I am shocked at how much marketing is geared toward … purposely geared toward young children that are just too young to know that … that they’re being marketed to. I’m a parent, and I can’t even allow my children to watch network TV stations because of all the commercials. It just encourages them to want the latest toy or whatever. Another thing, I am concerned about the advertising that’s turning up in our local elementary school. It’s in my kids’ schoolbooks, posters on the walls, and school lunches, for example. I think it’s wrong. School is not the place for advertising.

B:   Laura Wellman, a high school student from Boulder Colorado, disagrees. She says in an e-mail, “I don’t have a problem with advertising in schools. As a teenager, I’m surrounded by advertising all the time, but I don’t necessarily buy the products that are advertised. A couple of extra ads on the drink machines or on the school bus really wouldn’t make any difference to me. I probably wouldn’t even notice them. If a company wants to sponsor our soccer team in exchange for their name on our shirts, that’s fine with us.”

A:   Finally, here’s an e-mail from Sarah Cohen from Baltimore. She says, “I would like to have seen more specific guidelines for parents on how to help children deal with the thousands of commercial messages that they face every day. Teenagers in particular are very influenced by advertising. They should be taught to be more critical of the advertising that they encounter, to ask pointed questions about the products, and above all not to believe everything that they see in an ad.”

B:   And with that thought, we’ll leave you until next week. Thank you for watching, and remember to send your comments on this week’s program…

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