You might live in Japan or Brazil, but one day you’re walking down the street and see a big McDonald’s advertisement with the words ‘I’m lovin’ it!’ written on it. First you might wonder why it’s not in your native language. Second you note the bad grammar of ‘lovin’’ and not ‘loving’. Then later, when you’re abroad in an English speaking country, you see it on the all the McDonald’s ads there!
Why is this?
The answer: it’s the right coupling of words that helps McDonald’s sell their burgers, fries, and salads.
Some people don’t think that language is important in business development and promotion, but the opposite is true. Companies not only utilise a specific language for marketing and advertising, they often pay people with these language skills to help sell their product. Language students with the knowledge of the right terms, diction, and understanding of English for advertising and marketing will be at an advantage if they’re interested in moving into these fields.
Here is some key English vocabulary to know for advertising and marketing:
- Brand – a comprehensive representation of a company with a particular product. For example, the Adidas three stripes logo, its shoes with that design, and all of its apparel are representations of the Adidas brand.
- Banner – an elongated poster used to promote a product. Today, people see banners in print form on buildings or on the top of company websites.
- Billboard – large, outdoor posters that advertise products. You often see these on top of large city buildings or on the side of the motorway.
- Client-base – a specific type of people that regularly buy a company’s product. For Nintendo, it’s mostly young to middle-aged people, whereas Carhartt Workwear are typically for middle-aged people working manual labour jobs.
- Copy – the text used in promotional or marketing pieces, like a brochure, that potential clients read to learn about a product or service. People that do this writing are called copywriters.
- Coupon – a small electronic and/or paper promotion that helps market a product by giving the recipient a discount off of their purchase.
- Endorsement – when someone famous uses their own image to help promote a particular product. Many famous musicians and DJ’s do this for their favourite instrument, and many famous Hollywood actors do this regularly.
- Jingle – a short song or melody that helps sell a product through visual or audio media. Often companies will license popular songs by famous performers like The Ramones, Aretha Franklin, or The Black Keys to act as their jingle.
- Product placement – when companies make arrangements with films, television shows, or events to have their product included in that particular media to help promote their product further. If you ever see your favourite actor or actress drink a Pepsi or Budweiser beer in a film, the production company has likely been contracted by Pepsi or Bud to do product placement.
- Press kit – a media package of brochures, coupons, and other assorted free materials sent to various outlets to help promote a product. Film companies often issue these to magazines or audience members to help give their new film exposure.
- Slogan – a special saying made from a few words that helps identify the company or brand. Think Coca-Cola’s ‘The Real Thing’, Nike’s ‘Just Do It’, or Ford’s ‘Built tough’.
- Spread – a large promotion in a magazine of a particular product or service across two full pages with glossy pictures.
- SEO – Short for search engine optimisation. This is important for anyone working in digital marketing and advertising today. Its concepts determine rankings on search engines like Google, helping to push products and make them easier to find online.
- USP – A product’s unique sales point or unique sales proposition. All products carry this, from Rolex watch’s commitment to building high grade, non-electronic, handmade watches, to the Apple iPhone’s latest model having all of the modern technological features that anyone could want.
- Viral marketing – a common expression that is used in today’s technological age to help market a product across the internet. Often this is done via paid advertisement on social media or through interfaces like Google. Occasionally it’s done by accident when a wave of internet popularity responds well to a particular product.
Obviously there are more, and thanks to the internet today, new advertising and marketing English vocabulary is cropping up all the time. If you’d like to learn more, look into The Language Gallery’s English for work programme, its Advertising and Marketing group class, and the Business Communications elective. You can learn these expressions as well as other contemporary business English language and concepts.