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Learn New English Skills with These 7 Cute Commercials on YouTube

When you are watching TV, do you spend a lot of time thinking about the commercials?

You probably just wait for them to end so you can get back to your favorite show.

Well, today, we are going to embrace TV commercials.

Commercials can be an excellent tool for practicing and learning English—and fortunately, there are tons of them available on YouTube right now.

You may already know that YouTube has lots of videos that English learners can take advantage of. But mixing in commercials can make your learning even more interesting.

In this post, we will show you just how useful commercials can be for language learners. Plus, we have some specific video clips to get you started.

How Commercials Can Improve Your English

You may already use English YouTube channels in your language learning routine. But with commercials, there is a whole other category of English YouTube videos you can use to practice your skills.

Here are some of the key ways that commercials will help you improve your English:

  • They are short and sweet. Commercials typically last about 30 seconds. So, compared to TV shows and movies, there is less content to listen to. That means you will not become overwhelmed. You can watch and listen over and over again to boost your comprehension skills.

This is especially important for beginner English learners, who may not yet be ready for longer and more complex content.

  • They are often a good reflection of culture. When you are learning a language, you will appreciate it much more if you learn some of the cultures of the language, rather than just memorizing concepts in a textbook.

English speakers have cultures that differ based on their locations; TV networks show different commercials to reflect the culture of those watching. Even within the U.S., companies create many different commercials to appeal to lots of different people and places. Watching commercials is a quick and effective way to understand these many Anglophone cultures.

  • They help you practice essential skills. When you are watching TV commercials, you engage many different language skills at once (at the same time). Naturally, you use listening skills, but there is even more involved.

Commercials often use questions to get a response out of you. Sometimes, small pieces of dialogue tell a story that may or may not relate to the product. You may also use your reading skills because commercials often have text displayed on the screen. All of this means you will have to start thinking in English to get the full meaning of a commercial.

How to Make the Most of English Commercials

Try some of these tips to get the most English learning out of your commercial viewing:

  • Take breaks. Even though commercials are usually no longer than 30 seconds, pause the video frequently after each phrase or sentence. This will help make sure you understand what is happening. You can also use this time to try to look up some words you do not understand.
  • Use English subtitles. Click on the “CC” button on the lower right side of the screen to access subtitles. These will help you to better understand what you are hearing. If you hear something you do not recognize, seeing it in writing may help you understand. It can also help you to identify words to look up.
  • Look for commercials that relate to what you are learning. Search for “English food commercials,” “English technology commercials” or “English travel commercials” to find commercials that relate to a topic that interests you.

If you are already interested in the subject, hearing about it in English will motivate you to focus and learn.

  • Use FluentUFluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news, commercials and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. You can easily find English commercials on FluentU and use the built-in learning tools to improve your English with them!

Which Commercials Will Help the Most?

While any exposure to the English language will help you develop your language skills, some types of commercials are better than others.

Start with commercials made by companies that you are familiar with, so that you will have some knowledge of the topic. Do you like a particular brand of food? Are you a McDonald’s fan? Look for English McDonald’s commercials. If you like technology, look into brands whose products you might already own, such as Microsoft, Samsung, Apple, etc.

It is also a good idea to look for commercials advertising a product (as opposed to a service, like car repairs or healthcare). That’s because these commercials display many images directly related to the dialogue. This will help prevent you from getting lost.

Often, the best commercials for English learners are those directed toward children. These commercials have simpler dialogue, slower speaking and stories that may be easier for English learners to follow.

Many commercials include a story, even though they can be so short. It is great practice for you to determine what is happening and how it matches with the dialogue. Do not be discouraged if you find it a bit challenging. Many native English speakers have trouble understanding some commercials!

7 Cute and Funny Commercials to Learn English with on YouTube

The following is a list of several English commercials that will engage different language skills. The commercials are made in the U.S. and Canada so the speakers will have American or Canadian accents. Each example also comes with a couple of questions to check what you have understood. See if you are able to give an answer, even if it is just one word.

You will also find that many of the speakers in these commercials are children. This will give you a new challenge because it can be hard to understand children in any language! Listening to children speak English will help you work harder to listen and understand.

1. “How Many Licks?” (Tootsie Pop)

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A young boy asks different animals “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” You may recognize the Tootsie Pop lollipop, which has the classic Tootsie Roll candy at its center. None of the animals that the boy talks to have an answer for him except the owl.

The owl counts as he licks the Tootsie Pop. However, the owl eats the entire Tootsie Pop before he has finished counting.

This is a classic commercial that has aired in the U.S. for more than 40 years.

Questions to help you review:

  1. Which animals does the boy ask for help?
  2. How many licks does it take the owl to finish the lollipop?

What to listen for:

  • Animal names
  • How to use the common English question “how many?”

2. “What Are You Doing?” (Jack in the Box)

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This commercial is many years old, but still provides a great resource for language learners.

The restaurant chain Jack in the Box made the commercial after changing its logo and menu. The old lady in the car is asking some Jack in the Box workers about the changes.

Questions to help you review:

  1. Why does the Jack in the Box clown explode?
  2. What foods/ingredients are mentioned?

What to listen for:

  • Food names
  • English expressions and slang (“bye, bye,” “waste him!”)

3. “A New Teacher’s First Day of School” (Kleenex)

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This is an advertisement for Kleenex tissues. A new teacher starts her first day of work at a new school. She receives encouragement from an unlikely source.

Questions to help you review:

  1. What emotion do you think the new teacher feels?
  2. Finish the little boy’s sentence: “You’re going to do _____.”

What to listen for:

  • The future tense
  • The imperative mood (“Remember…” and “Enjoy it!”)

4. “I Don’t Know How Welch’s Does It” (Welch’s Grape Juice)

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A little girl tells you about the natural ingredients in her grape juice, as well as what ingredients are not in the grape juice. She talks about how healthy and delicious the juice is.

Questions to help you review:

  1. What numbers do you hear?
  2. What is a word to describe how you think the juice tastes?

What to listen for:

5. “Yuck” (Tyson Chicken Nuggets)

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Children talk about what foods they dislike. Tyson Chicken Nuggets are introduced as a food that all kids love.

Questions to help you review:

  1. What food names do you hear in this commercial?
  2. Try naming some foods that you dislike in a complete sentence.

What to listen for:

  • Adjectives
  • Different ways the word “like” can be used (“I like/do not like” vs. “it looks like…”)

6. “What Did Your Kids Have for Dinner Last Night?” (Stove Top)

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The idea behind this commercial is somewhat similar to the Tyson commercial above. Kids try to remember what they had for dinner the night before. The only food they can remember is Stove Top.

Questions to help you review:

  1. What food names do you hear in this commercial?
  2. How many times do you hear the word “stuff?”

What to listen for:

  • Past tense “We had…”
  • How the word “stuff” can be used

In your English studies, you may have come across the term “stuff.” English speakers often use this word to mean anything unspecific. It is often used by younger speakers when they do not want to talk about details.

Example:

Q: What did you do in school today?

A: Stuff.

7. “Back to School” (Walmart Canada)

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Walmart Canada celebrates its 20-year anniversary with back-to-school (the time period just before a new school year starts) shopping in this commercial. Different children shop with their parents for items they will need at school.

Questions to help you review:

  1. What color names do you hear?
  2. What decision is the boy in the blue button-up shirt trying to make?

What to listen for:

  • Numbers (large)

 

There are many different YouTube channels that will help you learn English but go beyond that by searching for English commercials. The best thing about learning with commercials is that there are always new ones! Start practicing your English with commercials and see how much fun it is.

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