Meaning of ADVERTISING in English


Most companies in Britain and the US have to work hard to promote and market their goods in order to sell them. Political parties, charities and other organizations also use advertising. Many pages in newspapers and magazines are filled with advertisements (also called ads or, in Britain, adverts ), companies advertise on the Internet and there are also advertisements, usually called commercials , on radio and television.

Advertisements in newspapers and magazines are expensive and only the largest companies can afford to advertise their products in this way. Many organizations, however, use newspapers to advertise jobs and these are generally grouped together in the jobs section . Small companies, such as travel agents, advertise in the classified ads columns, where each advertisement consists of a few lines of text only. Shops and businesses, and individuals wanting to buy or sell second-hand household goods, advertise in local papers.

The wealthiest companies buy advertising time on television. There is no advertising on the BBC , but programmes broadcast by US and British commercial stations are interrupted by a commercial break about every 15 minutes. Famous actors or singers are sometimes associated with advertisements for a particular product. Some advertising slogans are known by everyone, e.g. ‘Have a break   have a KitKat .’ Some advertisements are like very brief episodes of a story. Tobacco advertising is now banned (= forbidden) on radio and television in Britain and on television in the US. Advertisers have no influence over the people who make programmes, even if they help pay for them through sponsorship. In the US some commercials are national, others are shown only in a particular area. National commercials are often fun to watch, but local ones have the reputation of being badly made. Some products are sold on smaller channels by an infomercial , a commercial that lasts half an hour or more and tries to look like an entertainment programme.

Other ways of advertising include displaying large posters on hoardings or billboards by the side of roads. Flyers (= small posters) advertising local events or special offers are given to people in the street. Restaurants advertise in theatre programmes, and shops advertise in their own magazines or on their shopping trolleys ( AmE carts). Many companies now also advertise on the Internet.

The biggest US ad agencies have offices in New York on Madison Avenue , so Madison Avenue has come to mean the advertising industry. In Britain, the advertising industry is controlled by the Advertising Standards Authority and Ofcom . All advertisements must be ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’. In the US the Federal Communications Commission makes rules about advertising. Television and radio stations are required to do some public service announcements (= commercials that give information to the community) free of charge.

Many people are against advertising, partly because it adds to the cost of a product. People also say that the influence of advertising is too great, and that children especially want every product they see advertised. However, many Americans buy newspapers on Sundays only because they advertise special offers and contain coupons (= pieces of paper enabling people to buy products at a reduced price).

Oxford guide to British and American culture English vocabulary.      Руководство по британской и американской культуре, Оксфордский английский словарь.