Have you been to Times Square in New York City?
That place is one giant advertisement.
Did you watch the Olympics this past summer?
Were there any advertisements that made you go “wow”?
Seeing amazing advertisements like these might inspire you to learn more about advertising or the language of advertising. After all, it’s clear that they’re important for businesses.
If you’re in the business world, then you need to know something about advertising.
I’m going to start you off today with the top 19 English terms used in the field of advertising. Each word will come with examples from actual news stories. I suggest you click on the links to read the full articles and see how the vocabulary is used in different contexts.
When you reach the end of this article, I’ll have three more advertising news stories for you to read in your free time. How about that?
Let’s start learning!
Business English: 19 Advertising Terms You Ought to Know
In Business English, there are many words that are unique to the field of advertising, just as there are words which have special meanings and usages in the fields of finance, sales and international trade.
While there are many ways to use the words in the list below, we’ll only be discussing those meanings and usages that are unique to the context of advertising.
The noun advertisement comes from the verb to advertise.
To advertise is to make the public aware of a product or service that you’re selling. So then, an advertisement is a pubic announcement of those products and services through newspapers, TV, the Internet, etc. You may also refer to an advertisement as an ad in American English, or an advert in British English.
The word advertising may be used in three ways: (1) as an adjective if it comes before a noun (for example, “advertising campaign”), (2) as a noun if it comes after an adjective (for example, “online advertising”) and (3) as a verb (for example, “we are advertising our product on television”).
2. Advertising campaign
An advertising campaign is a series of advertising activities designed to achieve a certain set of results. Verbs you will frequently see used to talk about advertising campaigns are launch (which means “start”) and run.
Sample sentence: KFC has just launched a new advertising campaign featuring Rob Riggle as Colonel Sanders across all advertising channels including digital and social media.
3. Advertising channel
An advertising channel is simply a means of communicating an advertisement to the public. What the channel is tells you how the advertisement is reaching people.
The next seven terms (#4 through #10) are all examples of popular advertising channels.
4. Print advertising
This is sometimes known as hard copy advertising, and refers to advertisements such as those in newspapers, magazines, flyers, etc.
5. Outdoor advertising
This refers to the advertisements placed outside in busy public areas such as roadside signs, billboards along highways and poster advertisements at bus stops and train stations.
6. Direct mail advertising
This involves mailing print advertisements (usually flyers and coupons) directly to peoples’ homes.
The next time you check your mailbox, be sure to look for flyers and newsletters containing promotions and advertisements from your local stores.
7. Digital advertising
This refers to advertisements placed on the Internet. I’m sure you’ve seen these types of advertisements quite often on your computers, tablets and mobile devices.
Digital advertising is also known by different names such as Internet advertising, online advertising and web advertising.
8. Native advertising
This is currently a hot trend in online advertising. It’s an advertisement that blends (combines) naturally with the rest of the text on a website or online page. The idea here is to create an advertisement that doesn’t look like an advertisement.
9. Radio/television advertising
Can you guess where you can find these? I’m sure you can.
The advertisements that are run on radio and television are called commercials.
11. Word-of-mouth advertising
This is when you tell your friends about a product or service that you’ve used and really like.
12. Advertising budget
An advertising budget is the amount of money you plan to spend on advertising.
Sample sentence: Jet.com will be spending 90% of its $5 million a week advertising budget on digital, TV, outdoor and direct mail advertising.
What brand of sports shoes do you wear? Nike, Reebok, Adidas are all popular brands in sportswear (athletic clothing).
A brand is simply the name you give to your product to make it stand out from those of your competitors.
14. Brand image
In very simple terms, an image is a picture. So then, a brand image would be the idea or picture that comes to mind when you think of a particular brand.
Do you believe their product works like it’s supposed to? Do you trust its quality? Do you look forward to their innovative designs?
Sample sentence: When Cadillac continued to see a drop in their sales, they started making changes to their brand image which included unveiling their “Dare Greatly” commercial on Oscar Night 2015.
15. Brand awareness
Being aware is to know that something exists. You probably know this already. So creating brand awareness would mean making people aware of the existence of your brand.
Sample sentence: Businesses use many different kinds of advertising techniques to create and build brand awareness in their products.
16. Brand ambassador
What’s the job of the ambassador of your country? If you said, to represent your country in another country, you would be right. So then, a brand ambassador would be a person who is hired to represent your brand and create brand awareness of your products.
Sample sentence: According to Entrepreneur.com, having a good brand ambassador is a powerful way to increase product and brand awareness for your company.
The noun endorsement comes from the verb to endorse. To endorse is to publicly recommend a product or service. So then, an endorsement is a public recommendation by a celebrity or famous person who is paid to endorse your products.
Sample sentence: According to Social Media Week, the most effective celebrity endorsements are by those who actually use and like the product or service that they’re promoting.
18. Target audience
To target is to aim at. So a target audience refers to the group of people that an advertisement is intended for. These are the people you aim to attract into buying your products. Target audience is sometimes referred to as target market.
19. Product placement
This is another popular form of advertising. Product placement is when you pay for your product or service to be featured in (shown on) movies and television programs.
And there we have it, the top advertising vocabulary that’s commonly used in this field. Here are 3 more news stories for you in addition to the ones I’ve highlighted in the sample sentences above.
How to Practice Your Business English Advertising Vocabulary
The world of advertising is both exciting and ever-changing. So what’s new and happening today? Here are some current news stories for you. Be sure you read the full articles and note the usages of the vocabulary we’ve discussed earlier..
Chipotle is a popular Mexican fast food chain in the US. Have you heard about Chipotle’s new advertisement?
They’ve recently put out a short, animated advertisement entitled (named) “A Love Story.” But what’s the real story behind this advertisement campaign? Read all about it and be sure to watch the video.
Facebook is making it easier for advertisers to reach its site users and for users to keep their advertising offers. How does this digital coupon drawer work?
Google has decided to stop using the “Nexus” branding that it’s been using on smartphones built with third-party manufacturers. It’s not clear yet what the new brand name will be.
Could it have something to do with the small “G” logo on the back of their new smartphones?
You can keep up with more current news stories about advertising with a subscription to Entrepreneur and other business magazines. If you live in the U.S., Magazine Line is a perfect place to buy these subscriptions at discounted prices. If you’re a student, you may even be able to get further discounts.
Remember, these articles are just a start.
I’ve enjoyed reading them and I hope you will too.
For more, try subscribing to a business magazine or subscribing to The New York Times and following their business section daily. There are many more articles that you can read to improve your advertising vocabulary.
So, start reading and keep learning!
And One More Thing…
Want to sound like a native English speaker in your advertisements and pitches? Then you’ll love FluentU. FluentU takes real-world videos—like inspiring talks, movie trailers, news and more—and turns them into personalized and fun English learning lessons.
It’s got a huge collection of authentic English videos that people in the English-speaking world actually watch on the regular.
More to the point, FluentU has an entire business category filled with authentic business-related videos covering six language levels.
To show the variety of videos even inside this single category, real-world business videos on FluentU include “Introducing Business Colleagues,” “Business Buzzwords,” “Control Your Inbox!” and “What Warren Buffet Thinks About Cash.”
An added bonus is that if you want to work on other topics later, simply use the same, familiar FluentU platform to learn with videos from other categories, such as “Science and Tech,” “Politics and Society” or mix it up with “Arts and Entertainment” or “Health and Lifestyle.”
Every spoken word is subtitled, complete with an in-context definition, image and multiple example sentences.
All you have to do is tap or click on one of the words in those subtitles to get more information. For example, if you tap on the word “brought,” you will see this:
Plus, these great videos are all accompanied by interactive features and active learning tools, like multimedia flashcards and fun games like “fill in the blank.”
If you are interested in watching fun, relevant videos and practicing language actively in the process, be sure to create a FluentU account and try out this one-of-a-kind language learning program!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.