IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 3|1. Brands


  • Are you loyal to any brands: that is, do you always try to buy that particular brand?
  • Do you want other people to know you buy a particular brand?
  • Do you buy any products without considering the brand name?



Test spot

Remember that this is a test of your listening, rather than of what you know about the topic, so answer the questions according to what you hear. The questions are in the order in which you will hear the information on the recording.

In matching tasks the words and phrases in the box are usually all mentioned, but not in that order, and you will not need to use them all. It may be helpful to underline the key words In the rubric, questions and options before you listen.

1. You are going to listen to a monologue which is in two parts.

Questions 1 and 2

Questions 1 and 2

At first sight, a bank account may seem very different from a laptop or a university, but what they have in common is that they’re all products. Until relatively recently, the term tended to be restricted to manufactured goods, such as furniture or books, but now it’s applied to virtually anything that’s the focus of marketing activity; that is, activity to attract the attention of the general public, or perhaps companies. In terms of business, though, products ate generally either manufactured goods, such as a laptop, or services, like bank accounts or training courses.

But because the purpose of the producer is to sell, pop singers, holiday resorts and so on can also be marketed as products — the purpose being to publicise that particular pop singer, etc. These days more and more people are even managing themselves as a product, for instance when applying for jobs.

Choose the correct answer.

Questions 3-9

Look at the following companies (questions 3-9) and the list of statements below. Match each company with the statement made about it.

Questions 3-9

In this analysis of products its consumer goods that I’ll focus on first. These are products that are manufactured and sold to members of the public — or consumers — rather than to companies.

Normally, with consumer goods, a number of manufacturers make similar products, and compete for sales. Levi Strauss has manufactured jeans since 1873, and until the early 1960s it was unusual in that it had virtually no competition. Since then, a lot of other manufacturers have entered the market. As a result, Levi’s market share — that is, its percentage of all the pairs of jeans that are sold — has fallen dramatically.

Marketing is all about getting people to buy from you. One way of achieving this is by advertising, but another crucial clement is the creation of brands. Until the late 19th century, it was simply soap that people bought, or a dress, or whatever. But then,  manufacturers including this soap maker Pears,  begin to realise that by giving their product its own name and advertising it to the general public,  they could encourage purchases to ask for a their goods, and  not those of a competitor.  By the early 20th century,  advertising was to be seen everywhere.

Brand names fall into two basic categories.  Some manufacturers,  like Microsoft,  create a strong identification between the company and all its products by using the same name for both.  Other companies use a variety of brand names:  Procter and Gamble produces around 300 brands altogether,  and it also sells several washing powders under different brand names,  in order to maximise sales:  Tide, Ariel and Duz are just three of these.

Often,  companies manufacture a product line.  Take the car manufacturer Ford, for instance.  One of its cars,  the Focuse,  is a product line consisting of closely related versions of one product,  sold under the same brand name.

All the brands and products that a company produces make-up it’s «product mix»:  Ford specialises in one type of product — cars, while Yamaha has a much more diverse product mix which includes motorcycles, musical instruments and electronic equipment.

Now let’s turn briefly to retailers,  such as the supermarket chain Tesco.  Retailers are businesses which sell directly to consumers,  usually in their stores — or retail outlets —  but in some cases by mail order or through the Internet.  They usually sell branded goods,  which they have received from other manufacturer, but like Tesco they may also sell there own brands which are normally goods that they buy from a manufacturer and sell under their own name. So,  for example alongside the Heinz brand of baked beans, Tesco also sells Tesco baked beans.

A brand doesn’t just have a name, however:  most have a logo which the company wants the public to associate with the brand.  Coca-Cola’s logo, for example, is there a distinctive way in which the name is written.

Now I just want to mention…

Choose your answers from the box and write the letters Anext to questions 3-9.

2. Choose your answers from the box and write the letters A-К next to questions 3-9.


created one of the earliest brands


was the first company to realise the value of advertising


has increased the number of brands it produces


has lost its dominance of the market


makes brands which compete with each other


makes products that are unrelated


sells several variations of the same basic product as one brand


may not manufacture its own brands


only sells products using its company name


sells through the Internet


uses something visual to identify its brand


0 Levi Strauss



pic2_T|Grammar act|L10

Word building

Style extra

The language of lectures and academic writing is typically fairly formal and impersonal, with, for example:

— fairly complex sentence structures;

— passive sentences;

— technical expressions;

— relatively formal, often long, words;

a tendency to use nouns rather than verbs (for example: The mass production of most consumer goods results in there being few differences between them, rather than the less formal — Most consumer goods are mass-produced, and so they aren’t very different from each other.)

4. In small groups, imagine that you’re going to launch a new line of clothing. Discuss what image you want the clothes to have, and how you would advertise them.

Useful language


luxury, upmarket, downmarket, sporty, casual, smart.


TV and radio commercials, magazines, billboards, sponsorship, target market.

1. As you read this article, decide which of the four statements А-D best sums up the writer’s main point.

  • A The general public do not fully understand business methods.
  • В There is something wrong with present-day values.
  • C Hear’Say was a unique phenomenon.
  • D Television is essential for success in pop music.

Hearts for sale


First there were simply goods that we could buy, and services we could pay someone else to provide. Then came brands, first of all for manufactured goods, and later for services, too. In the next stage even people became brands. Drawn from the world of business, and in particular of marketing, branding would have been an alien concept to Leonardo da Vinci or Beethoven, or most other self- respecting artists and musicians, and one that the vast majority would have rejected.

What’s happening now, however, is that the creativity displayed by an artist — or more often a musician — is turned into a brand, something to be marketed and sold, as though there were no difference between a talented and internationally renowned singer and a bar of chocolate.

At least in most cases the singer or the artist has proved their worth, and branding takes place on the back of their talent and success. But now we have gone one step further: the brand comes first, and the mere human beings are chosen to fit. A classic example of the manufactured pop group is Hear’Say.

More than five thousand people auditioned to join the yet-to-be formed group and ten of them were shortlisted to take part in Popstars, a talent show on British television. Here they performed in front of three judges, who chose the five people they considered best embodied their concept of the group — two young men and three young women, all able to sing, dance, and handle press conferences and interviews, and all good-looking. The perfect pop group. Out came an official video of the TV series, dolls, posters, a line of clothing — all ways of turning music into a business, and making money from the brand. Within a few weeks of being created in a television contest. Hear’Say had gone from obscurity to having a number-one single, video, and other merchandise — and there was even an hour of prime-time television about their short lives and breathtakingly brief careers. The Hear’Say phenomenon became audience wanted of them.

Within two years of its formation, however, the group split up, blaming public hostility — which certainly existed, alongside the mass adulation — and the pressures of music industry life. Other groups have been branded and marketed as aggressively as Hear’Say; none as quickly. As their licensing manager admitted, they were marketing the group before they even knew who was going to be in it. Hear’Say succeeded because they brilliantly exploited marketings Big Idea — namely, the quickest way to your customers’ wallets is through their hearts. The marketing lore is that the consumer is swamped with as products and the only brands which will succeed are those that make an emotional connection.

Increasingly, what we want is to buy our values — we need products to bring meaning and purpose  into our lives. The danger is that this commercialisation of our private world breeds cynicism and emotional detachment: happiness is reduced to no more than having the latest mobile phone. Emotional exploitation ultimately generates a pessimism about human nature which assumes that everyone is a brand, with some tailing and some succeeding, and that everyone is out to ‘sell themselves’ in life’s great talent contest. It is as a reflection of our times, rather than as to musicians, that Hear’Say have their greatest significance.

2. Answer the questions.

Test spot

This task type is mainly used to test your understanding of the writer’s opinions or claims  whether or not you agree with them. The statements are in text order. Not given means that there isn’t enough information to work out the writer’s opinion.

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer?


  • YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer
  • NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer
  • NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

Example: The introduction of brands for goods and services was an undesirable development.

Answer: Not given. (The relevant section of the text is underlined. It does not indicate the writer s opinion of the introduction of brands.)


Cleft sentences

Cleft sentences are often used in academic language to focus attention on the key message of a sentence. They are divided into two sections (cleft means divided), each with its own verb.

Look at these sentences from the reading passage, paying particular attention to the underlined sections. These contain the writer’s key idea.

What’s happening now, however, is that the creativity displayed by an artist — or more often a musician — is turned into a brand.

It is as a reflection of our times, rather than as musicians, that Hear’Say have their greatest significance.

Cleft sentences

Cleft sentences divide a sentence or clause into two sections, in order to highlight a particular part of it. This is particularly useful in written English, as it lacks the intonation and stress which are used to give prominence in speech.

It type: it + to be + key idea

This is the most common type of cleft sentence. From the sentence Pear’s created a brand in the nineteenth century because it hoped to increase sales, it is possible to create several cleft sentences, each focusing on a different element (in bold):

  • It was Pear’s that created a brand in the nineteenth century because it hoped to increase sales.
  • It was a brand that Pear’s created in the nineteenth century because it hoped to increase sales.
  • It was in the nineteenth century that Pear’s created a brand because it hoped to increase sales.
  • It was because it hoped to increase sales that Pear’s created a brand in the nineteenth century.

The key idea often contrasts with something else, e.g. in the last example, it was for this reason and not another one.

The introductory part of a cleft sentence sometimes uses a modal verb + to be, e.g.

  • It must have been Pear’s that created the first brand name.
  • It might be Procters and Gamble that makes the most washing powders.

When a pronoun is focused on, it is normally in the subject form, e.g. Henry Ford invented the Model T Ford motor car. It was he who said, ‘People can have it any colour — so long as it’s black.’

In informal speech the object form (e.g. him) is often used.

What type: What clause as subject

This structure focuses attention on the part of the sentence that follows it. The first sentence in each pair uses a standard structure, while the second uses a what clause, to highlight the bold section.

You need a book about advertising.

What you need is a book about advertising.

I’m going to apply for a job in marketing.

What I’m going to do is (to) apply for a job in marketing. Pear’s created the first brand of soap.

What Pear’s did was (to) create the first brand of soap.

Test spot

In the second part of the Speaking Module you are given a topic and asked to talk about it for one to two minutes. Use a variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures to show what you know.

1. Spend a minute thinking about the topic below and making brief notes, then talk to a partner for a minute. What you say doesn’t have to be true. If you can’t think of an effective logo, invent one.

Describe a logo that you think is effective.

You should say:

  • what brand or company the logo is used for where you have seen the logo
  • what the logo looks like
  • and explain what makes the logo effective.

Useful language

  • eye-catching;
  • well-designed;
  • colourful;
  • stylish;
  • memorable;
  • intriguing.

Test folder


True / False / Not given and Yes / No / Not given

(Academic Reading and General Training Reading Modules only)

You will be given some sentences which relate to the reading passage. The sentences follow the order of the passage.

You must decide whether each sentence agrees with the text or contradicts it, or whether there is not enough information in the passage for you to decide.

True / False / Not given is used to test your understanding of factual information. Yes /No / Not given is used to test your understanding of the writer’s opinions.


  • Skim the whole passage before you start working on any of the tasks. Then read the instructions, so that you know what you need to do. They are not always phrased in the same way.
  • Read the first statement. It may help to underline key words.
  • Look through the passage to find the relevant information, and think carefully about what it means. Underline the part of the text that contains the answer. Decide if the statement agrees with or contradicts the passage or is Not given. Remember you must base your answer on what is in the passage, not on your own knowledge or what you think is likely to be true. Not given means that there isn’t enough information in the passage to decide if the statement is True or False (or Yes or No).
  • Continue with the other statements in turn. If you can’t find the relevant part of the passage, it probably means that the statement is Not given.
  • Always give an answer — you won’t lose any marks if it’s wrong. If you’re not sure, choose Not given.

How Product Placement Works

Have you ever watched a television show or a movie and felt like you were watching a really long commercial? If so, then you’ve been the victim of bad product placement. Clever marketing folks want their products to be visible within a scene, but not the focus. When done correctly, product placement can add a sense of realism to a movie or television show that something like a can simply marked ‘soda’ cannot.

Product placement dates back to at least the early 1950s when a drinks company paid to have a character in the movie The African Queen toss loads of their product overboard. Since then, there have been countless placements in thousands of movies.

Sometimes product placement just happens. A set dresser might think of something to boost the level of credibility or realism of the story. One example is the use of a can of ant killer in a violent fight scene in the popular television programme The Sopranos. A spokeswoman for the manufacturer said the company was not approached about the use of their product and they would not have given it a thumbs-up.

Then there are arranged product placement deals.The most common type is a simple exchange of the product for the placement. A deal is made; in exchange for the airtime, the cast and crew are provided with an ample supply of the company’s products.

Sometimes, a gift of the product isn’t an appropriate form of compensation, so money powers the deal. Someone from a manufacturer’s marketing team hears about a movie project, and approaches the set dresser with a financially attractive proposal.They come to an agreement, and the product makes a number of seemingly casual appearances. Both teams are happy.

Before product placement really saw a surge in the mid 1980s, it was pretty much a do-it-yourself effort. Now there are entire agencies that can handle the job. Some larger corporations will dedicate personnel to scout out opportunities for product integration or placement within films, television shows — even games and music.

The next time you watch a movie, keep an eye out for products or brand names you recognize. It’s highly likely that you’ll see one of the major soft drink companies represented. ‘And how,’ you’ll wonder, ‘can the actor hold the can just the right way every time so that the logo is perfectly visible?’

1. Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage?


  • TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
  • FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
  • NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

Example: Good product placement draws the viewer’s attention to the product.

Answer: False (Clever marketing folks want their products to be visible within a scene, but not the focus.)

2. Cleft sentences. Complete the sentences below using phrases from the box. Make sure that each sentence is both grammatically correct and true according to the passage.

a partnership with another manufacturer
at the end of the century
high ‘brand awareness’
in 1994
in its first year
in the 1980s
that the business needed foreign investment
the Fabia
the fact that the company’s costs had increased
the Felicia
the Octavia