In our modern world we are surrounded by publicity. These ads come in print, audio and video formats. They can be one word, a phrase, an expression, a long web landing page, a musical jingle, a TV commerical, a cinema spot at the beginning of a film.
Some of these ads can bore us to death, some catch our attention momentarily, some stay in our memories for days and weeks…. and then there are the iconic ads that become part of our culture.
What ads, commericals, publicity do you remember?
If I give you a part of an ad jingle, can you give me the first or following part???
- __ _______ , No Party! (a fairly young ad…. but already a classic!)
- Where the rubber meets ___ ____. (This is a very old ad, but I still remember the whole jingle and can sing it.)
What ads do you remember in your language? Can you translate them into English? Are they still as persuasive and memorable?
Here’s a video ad produced for Microsoft Advertising. Well, really, it is several ads containing a trailer and the sequel to a previous award-winning Microsoft Advertising ad called the “Break Up”. It’s got subtitles in English for the English dialogue as well, so enjoy and then share your thoughts…
What part of the ad did you like the most?
Which part was the easiest to understand?
Which part was the most difficult?
Now take a deep breath….
Most of my students tell me that there’s so much here, that they hardly understood anything….
But when I start asking them questions, they realize they understood more than they thought!
The problem is, you see, that we language learners want to understand E-V-E-R-Y word! Instead, we should first focus on understanding the general meaning of what we saw and/or listened to….
So, what did you understand? If you still feel overwhelmed by this video… go back… rewind…and
- watch again the first part about what the narrator says about “Break Up”, the trailer and its sequel and how the online community responded – write down what you understood, for example, what is “Break Up” all about? How did the online community respond to the “teasers” Microsoft released?
- watch again the trailer about the sequel to Break Up”, “Inspiration, Anyone?” write down what you understood, such as, what is the purpose of the sequel? what do the CEO and Creative Director suggest?
- re-watch “Inspiration, Anyone?” with subtitles and this time just concentrate on the action: what’s going on in the story?
- re-watch “Inspiration, Anyone?” and this time concentrate on the subtitles:
ok, so did reading the subtitles confirm what you understood the first time?
- Now, re-watch “Inspiration, Anyone?” and this time, stop the recording at words or expressions that you don’t understand. First, try to understand them from their contexts. If you still have questions about their meaning, look them up on a good online or offline dictionary. If you still have some doubts, ask your native English-speaking teacher or friend for an explanation.
- And now, re-watch the whole video from the beginning. See! you understand now a lot more than you did the first time! And the more you do this, the more you will understand and the faster you will understand!
(Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither do we learn languages in a day – be gentle on yourself…. Just keep working with English learning EVERYDAY and you WILL make progress!)
Ok, now try these Follow-up Questions:
Submit your answers to the following in the “Comments” box below:
Some comprehension questions:
- What’s Brad, the advertiser’s, problem?
- What suggestion does the CEO give him?
- What recommendation does the Creative Director make?
Some lexical/vocabulary questions:
- What are muffins? Here’s the word as it was used in the film: “Brad, we haven’t even had our muffins yet.”
- For the word: “blitzkrieg” – click on this link: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blitzkrieg
At this link, the online Cambridge Dictionary gives a good business English meaning to: “blitz”: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=blitz*1+0&dict=A
- How do we usually say: Web 2 dot zero?
- What does “gonna” mean? e.g., “Last time he said he was gonna change.”
- What’s a “novel idea”? Here’s the sentence in the “Inspiration, Anyone?” dialogue: “Adding some actual words might be a novel idea.”
- What does “thrilled” mean? e.g., “I’d be thrilled to introduce him to my friends.”
- What does “bet” mean in this dialogue: “I have a lot of friends.” “I bet you do.” (For a little online help, click on that question.)
- What does “viral” mean in this sentence: “Then there’s the whole viral effect.”
- What is “brainstorming”?
- What’s a “pool table”?
(And remember: You learn better and faster when you are enjoying yourself – so relax and have fun while you learn!)