No matter where you go and what you do, you see them everywhere. You see them on the television, hear them on the radio, see them in the street, on the motorways and even as you're driving along, you see them on the backs of lorries. The people that make them are «the persuaders» persuading you to buy something and what they make are «advertisements».
For those into correct pronunciation the stress is on the second syllable for the noun (advertisement) and on the first syllable for the verb (advertise). As you would expect, it's quite a versatile noun and can be abbreviated to «advert» or if you're feeling really lazy, ads. They come in various sizes.
The «full-page» advertisement is reserved for expensive items like cars. In the local newspaper you will find so-called «small ads» for things like second-hand furniture, builders, electricians and other services. On television we call them the «commercials» or collectively the «commercial break» made for companies by advertising agencies, from which comes the income to pay for the programmes. Humour is often the underlying theme in the hope that the «consumer» (the potential buyer) will more readily remember the product. There is one showing currently along those lines advertising a certain make of car. The point the manufacturers want to make for this particular car is that you will like it so much that you will take great care of it. This is how the advert goes: We see a window cleaner up his ladder. Unfortunately his ladder falls to the ground and to save himself he «clings» (holds on to) to the «windowsill» (a sort of shelf) and calls out for help. A girl hears the cry while she is washing her hair in an upstairs room, rushes downstairs we imagine to help him by putting the ladder back but no, she gets into her car, which is directly under the man, drives it clear of the man and goes back to her room. Meanwhile the poor window cleaner is left hanging from the windowsill but the car is safe!
In the printed advertisement the use of a particular style with pictures is important. You want your customers to get your message quickly. Let me give you some examples:
A book is ONLY £11.99 and a line is drawn through the RRP (the recommended retail price - what you would normally pay) of £16. The colourful book cover takes up the whole advertisement.
A book/a chair/a carpet is «HALF PRICE» and again you see delightful pictures of them all.
If you buy one ticket for this show, you get a second one «ABSOLUTELY FREE». There is a picture of one of the best scenes in the show.
A new radio is described as Compact, sleek and unique and you can see it on a table next to a comfortable looking sofa.
Of course none of this art of persuasion is new, it's been going on for thousands of years. And we only need go back to the Chinese philosopher, Confucius who is supposed to have said so many wise things in his life. The one I'll quote from here, as it seems relevant is: One picture is worth ten thousand words.