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0652 Outdoor Advertising

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 652: Outdoor Advertising.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 652. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Download this episode’s Learning Guide to help you improve your English even faster.

This episode has a dialogue between Kam and Gina using business vocabulary related to advertising. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Kam: Okay, the purpose of our meeting today is to listen to some ideas for our new advertising campaign. Gina, take it away.

Gina: Thanks, Kam. I’m going to talk today about outdoor advertising. I know that it’s a new area for us and it hasn’t been on our radar in the past, but I know it’ll work well for our new campaign.

Kam: Can we talk specifics?

Gina: Sure. There are several types of outdoor advertising. One is the billboard, both the traditional kind and the digital ones. Advertising on ones in high-traffic areas will give us a lot of exposure. To get even more exposure all over town, we can use mobile advertising.

Kam: You mean advertise on buses?

Gina: Yes, more and more, products are being advertised on buses and cars. These wraps can also be put on the side of buildings and other structures. There really are a lot of outdoor advertising options, from bench ads to skywriting.

Kam: That’s all very interesting, but which of these methods do you recommend?

Gina: I think we should use all of them – blanket the city with our new ads.

Kam: All of them?

Gina: Yes, all of them. You know what they say: “Go big or go home.”

[end of dialogue]

Kam begins our dialogue by saying to Gina, “Okay, the purpose of our meeting today is to listen to some ideas for our new advertising campaign.” “To advertise” means to let other people know about what you are selling: your product or service. An “advertising campaign” is a coordinated effort, a project that includes all the different parts of advertising. There may be advertising on the Internet; it may include advertising on television. Together, these things are called an “advertising campaign.” Kam says to Gina, “Gina, take it away.” The expression “take it away” is used in an informal meeting or an informal situation to show that you are done talking and you are ready for someone else to begin their presentation or to begin leading the meeting.

Kam is done talking, so he wants Gina to start talking. He says, “Gina, take it away.” Gina says, “Thanks, Kam. I’m going to talk today about outdoor advertising.” “Outdoor” (outdoor – one word) refers to what is not inside a building or a house; that is, if you’re not in a building or in a house, then you are outdoors – you are outside of a house or building. “Outdoor advertising” would include things that you would see while driving or walking outside of your house or building. Gina says, “I know that it’s a new area for us (outdoor advertising is a new area for them) and it hasn’t been on our radar in the past, but I know it’ll work well for our new campaign.” The expression “to be on your radar” or “to be on our radar” (radar) is used to show that you are aware of something; you are considering something; you are thinking about something. “Radar,” as you probably know, is the system used to determine, for example, where planes are in the sky. It allows you to know where objects are that you cannot see. Gina says that her company has not used outdoor advertising in the past, but she thinks that it will be successful for their new campaign.

Kam then interrupts Gina and says, “Can we talk specifics?” There’s actually two things here: the first is the expression “can we talk (blank).” In this case, it’s specifics, but you could say, “Can we talk vacation now?” “Can we talk advertising?” This is a somewhat informal abbreviated way of saying can we talk about something. Now, Kam says, “Can we talk specifics?” meaning can you tell us the specific things about this advertising. “Specific” is the opposite of “general,” you want to know what is the case for this particular campaign.

Gina says, “Sure. There are several types of outdoor advertising. One is the billboard (billboard).” A “billboard” is a large sign used to advertise. Typically, it’s up high in the air and you can see it when you are driving down the street. That’s a “billboard.” Gina says that there are both traditional billboards and digital ones. A “traditional billboard” has the same image – you see the same thing every time you go by it. It’s often made with large pieces of paper. A “digital billboard” is a new thing, where it’s actually a big video screen like a big television, and the images change as the day goes on. In fact, they often change every 5 or 10 seconds. We have these digital billboards now here in Los Angeles, including one just about four or five blocks from where I live. Gina says, “Advertising on ones (meaning on billboards) in high-traffic areas will give us a lot of exposure.” A “high-traffic area” is a place where there are a lot of people or there are a lot of cars going by; many people will see the sign. Times Square in New York is a high-traffic area; there are always people there in the center of the city, in Manhattan. Well, a high-traffic area would be any area that you had a lot of people either walking or driving by. If you put advertisements, in this case a billboard, in a high-traffic area you will get lots of exposure. “Exposure” just means you will be seen or heard by many people, in this case seen.

Gina says, “To get even more exposure all over town (meaning in every part of the city), we can use mobile advertising.” Something that is “mobile” moves around; it doesn’t stay in one place. Kam asks, “You mean advertising on buses?” Notice the informal way he asks: “You mean advertise on buses,” instead of “Do you mean advertise (or advertising) on buses?” Gina says, “Yes, more and more, products (things that people sell) are being advertised on buses and cars (obviously on the side of the bus or the back of the bus). These wraps can also be put on the side of buildings and other structures.” A “wrap” (wrap) is a large piece of plastic or other material that completely covers something else. It can be used as a form of advertising for example on a bus. Sometimes here in the U.S. when you see a bus there isn’t just one sign on one side of the bus, but the entire bus is wrapped – is enclosed, if you will – by this plastic that is advertising for whatever the company is advertising. That’s a “wrap.” You can also put these on the sides of buildings and structures. Sometimes buildings have advertisements that go on the side of the building or around the building. “Structures” is just something that has been built: a building, a bridge, a monument. All of these are structures, things that we build.

Gina says, “There really are a lot of other outdoor advertising options (or possibilities), from bench ads to skywriting.” A “bench (bench) ad” is a bench advertisement; “ad” is short for “advertisement.” It is when you have a long chair, basically, for people to sit on so you can have two or three people sitting, and you put these on the street where the bus stops. So, when you are waiting for the bus you can sit down on this thing that, as I say, looks like a long chair; we call it a “bench.” You can put advertising on the benches. Here in Los Angeles, it’s very common for people who sell and buy houses – real estate agents we would call them – to advertise on bench ads. Another kind outdoor advertising is “skywriting.” The “sky” is what’s above you, up in the air; it’s usually blue in most places. Today here in Los Angeles it’s a little gray because we have clouds, at least this morning. Well, “skywriting” when a plane goes up in the air – a small plane typically – and it writes something in the air; it leaves a white vapor or smoke behind it that you can look up and see. Often people will, for example, write messages to their loved ones. “Will you marry me?” for example would be a piece of skywriting – an expensive marriage proposal, to be sure!

Kam says, “That’s all very interesting, but which of these methods do you recommend?” Gina says, “I think we should use all of them (all of the kinds of advertising she has talked about).” She says, “blanket the city with our new ads.” “To blanket” (blanket) as a verb means to cover something entirely. She’s saying that we should put advertising in all the different places in the city: billboards, bench ads, skywriting, mobile advertising, wraps, and so forth. “ Blanket” has a couple of different meanings however; take a look at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Kam is a little surprise, he says, “All of them?” Gina says, “Yes, all of them. You know what they say: ‘Go big or go home.’” “To go big” means to do something with the most energy, with the maximum amount of effort, something that is going to be the most you could do. If you were going to propose to your girlfriend, and you wanted to go big, you could hire a plane – you could pay to have a message written in the sky – skywriting. Or, you could…I don’t know…fly to the moon and send a message from the moon back to your girlfriend. That might work; you should try that! That would definitely be going big! Well, the expression is “go big or go home,” meaning either do something 100 percent or don’t do anything, forget about it. Gina thinks the company should go big or not do anything at all. Of course, it isn’t Gina’s money that’s being spent here; it’s the companies!

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Kam: Okay, the purpose of our meeting today is to listen to some ideas for our new advertising campaign. Gina, take it away.

Gina: Thanks, Kam. I’m going to talk today about outdoor advertising. I know that it’s a new area for us and it hasn’t been on our radar in the past, but I know it’ll work well for our new campaign.

Kam: Can we talk specifics?

Gina: Sure. There are several types of outdoor advertising. One is the billboard, both the traditional kind and the digital ones. Advertising on ones in high-traffic areas will give us a lot of exposure. To get even more exposure all over town, we can use mobile advertising.

Kam: You mean advertise on buses?

Gina: Yes, more and more, products are being advertised on buses and cars. These wraps can also be put on the side of buildings and other structures. There really are a lot of outdoor advertising options, from bench ads to skywriting.

Kam: That’s all very interesting, but which of these methods do you recommend?

Gina: I think we should use all of them – blanket the city with our new ads.

Kam: All of them?

Gina: Yes, all of them. You know what they say: “Go big or go home.”

[end of dialogue]

If you’ve been listening to ESL Podcast for a long time, you should have Lucy Tse – Dr. Lucy Tse – on your radar. She is, of course, our wonderful scriptwriter.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2011 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
advertising campaign – an effort to make people aware of one’s products or services and want to buy them by using many different kinds of related advertisements

* An advertising campaign designed to reach young consumers might use ads on Facebook, MySpace, and other websites that are popular with young people.

take it away – a phrase used in an informal meeting to show that one has finished speaking and is ready for another person to begin a presentation or begin to lead the meeting

* Now Hank is going to tell us about his research. Hank, take it away.

outdoor advertising – advertisements for a product or service that people see when they are outdoors (not in their home, on TV, or in newspapers or magazines), such as on vehicles, on large signs, and on the sides of buildings

* Too much outdoor advertising can be distracting for drivers.

on (one’s) radar – a phrase used to describe something that one is aware of, or something that one is thinking about and considering

* Poverty in Appalachia wasn’t even on the governor’s radar until she took a business trip there and saw how much the people there are suffering.

to talk specifics – to speak about something in detail

* That sounds like an interesting idea. Let’s schedule a meeting next week so we can talk specifics.

billboard – a large sign used to advertise a product or service, raised high in the air next to a road

* The food in the photograph on that billboard looks so delicious, I get hungry every time I drive by it!

digital – electronic; displaying information electronically with lights that can change

* Do you have a digital alarm clock, or an old wind-up alarm clock?

high-traffic – with a lot of people or cars passing by; being seen or used by many people

* This carpet-cleaning company promises it can clean even the dirtiest high-traffic rugs.

exposure – being seen or heard by many people

* If you want your company to have more exposure, buy a bigger ad in the phonebook and create a fancy website.

mobile – moving around; not stationary; not staying in one place

* Enjoy holding your baby while she’s little! Once she learns how to crawl, she’ll be mobile and then you’ll have to follow her around everywhere.

wrap – a large piece of fabric or plastic that covers another object, often much larger than the object itself; a form of advertising on vehicles and buildings

* To advertise the new movie, the movie company placed a wrap around the tall building next to the busy road.

structure – something that has been built, such as a building, monument, or bridge

* As a civil engineer, Julie has experience building many different types of structures.

bench ad – an advertisement that is attached to a bench (a long, outdoor seat designed for two or more people) on the part where one’s back normally is when seated

* The city’s public transportation system makes money by selling bench ads at all bus stops.

skywriting – the practice of having an airplane fly to write messages in the sky with white vapor or smoke that it leaves behind

* India’s boyfriend used skywriting to write “Will you marry me, India?” in the sky.

to blanket – to cover something entirely

* The band blanketed the city with posters for weeks before the big concert.

go big or go home – a phrase used to encourage someone to decide to do something thoroughly, with 100% effort, or not at all, because it isn’t worthwhile to do something with only partial effort

* If you’re going to look for a new job, go big or go home. Make your resume as good as it can be and apply for every job opportunity you find.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why does Kam tell Gina to “take it away”?
a) Because he’s letting her control the next section of the meeting.
b) Because he doesn’t want to see the advertising anymore.
c) Because he thinks she’s being too quiet.

2. Which of these phrases could be used to describe a bench ad?
a) Outdoor advertising.
b) Digital advertising.
c) Mobile advertising.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to take it away

The phrase “to take it away,” in this podcast, is used in an informal meeting to show that one has finished speaking and is ready for another person to begin a presentation or begin to lead the meeting: “That’s all I wanted to say, so now it’s time for our next presenter. Take it away, Sam.” The phrase “to take (something) away” means to subtract: “Today, the kids learned that if you take three away from five, you get two.” The phrase “to take (something) away” also means to remove something so that one can no longer see it: “That chocolate cake looks so delicious! Please take it away before I eat the whole thing by myself.” Finally, the phrase “to take (one’s) breath away” means to be very beautiful or surprisingly wonderful: “This sunset is so beautiful, it takes my breath away.”

blanket

In this podcast, the verb “to blanket” means to cover something entirely: “The city looks so peaceful when it’s blanketed with fresh snow.” Normally a “blanket” is a thick cover for a bed that one sleeps under in order to stay warm: “It’s going to be really cold tonight, so make sure you have enough blankets.” A “security blanket” is also used to describe any object that someone likes to have because it makes him or her feel calmer or less anxious: “Olga has a necklace that she uses like a security blanket, always touching it when she feels nervous or scared.” Finally, someone who ruins another person’s fun can be called a “wet blanket”: “Why did you tell everyone it was time for the party to end? You’re such a wet blanket!”

Culture Note
A JumboTron is a very large television screen used in “stadiums” (very large buildings where people can watch teams play sports) and concert “venues” (places where concerts and other events are held). Normally they are used to show “close-up” (from a short distance away) images of what is happening. For example, if there is a “fumble” (an instance where a player drops a ball), the JumboTron might show a close-up so people can see what happened more clearly. JumboTrons are most helpful for people who are sitting in the “nosebleed section” (very high up in a stadium or arena, far from the thing being seen) and cannot see “the action” (the things that are happening) very well.

Sometimes JumboTrons are used to provide entertainment. For example, during some games, a video camera records images of the “crowd” (the people who have gathered to watch the game) and plays them on the JumboTron “in real time” (as the action is happening), so people can see themselves on the screen as they are waving to the camera.

JumboTrons can also be used for outdoor advertising. Stadium “sponsors” (companies that provide money for an event in exchange for advertising) can have their “logos” (an image representing a company), marketing messages, and contact information displayed on the JumboTron in front of all the people who have come to see the game or hear the concert.

Sometimes individuals use the JumboTron to share special messages. For example, some people have paid to have their “marriage proposal” (a request for someone to marry oneself) written on the JumboTron for everyone to see. Then the JumboTron might show a video in real time of the other person’s reaction. Of course, people may only want to do this if they are sure the answer will be ‘yes’!

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - a