TV commercial activity

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TV commercial activity (verb tenses)

This group activity involves creating TV (or radio) commercials following a "before and after" model, with a customer testimonial. I originally used this as a midterm project for an intermediate general English course, first-year college level. I had the groups first decide and tell me what particular product or service they wanted to advertise. An example or template is provided for the students below.

Skill areas:

  • Verb tenses
  • Product descriptions

1 Instructions

Your group will perform a commercial to promote some product or service. It should be 3-5 minutes, and the suggested format is a "before and after" type commercial. This involves an announcer or interviewer selling the product, who interviews several others. The others provide a testimonial, or testimony of how their lives were before using the product or service, how they found out about it or why they tried it, and how it changed their lives.


  • Each person should contribute equally. That is, each person should speak for the same amount of time as the others in your group's commercial.
  • You should hand in a script of your commercial, though you do not have to perform the commercial exactly according to the script.
  • You will perform the commercial in front of the class on the day for which you sign up. All You must come to class that day and participate in your group's commercial in order to get a grade for the midterm.
  • As you perform your commercial, be sure to speak clearly and loudly; do not just read from your scripts, but look at each other and at the class (your audience); speak to the audience, not your paper.
  • As other groups perform their commercials, you will listen to them and fill out an evaluation form; on this form you will comment on their performance; you will hand in this form at the end of class; it will count as part of your grade.

2 Sample "Before & After" Commercial

Work with your group members to create a brief advertisement. At least one person will narrate a commercial (announcer / interviewer), and the others will give a product testimony – explaining how the product or service improved your lives. You will probably want the following elements in your commercial:

  • Introduce the product or service
  • How your (the customer's) life was before
  • Why you decided to try the product or service, and/or how you discovered it
  • How it has improved or changed your life

Here is an example:

Announcer:          Hey, folks! Are your teeth looking bad? Do you have bad breath? Do people avoid you? Then you need a new toothpaste. Try White-Out toothpaste! White-Out will make your teeth perfectly white, and will make your breath smell minty fresh!

Millions of people have tried White-Out and have been pleased. White-Out has made their teeth sparkling white. Their breath has become so fresh, like a bed of roses. And their lives have changed. Let's hear from one satisfied customer. Here's Bert Finkmeyer from Bonkers, New York. Bert, tell us what was your life like before you tried White-Out?

Customer: Before I discovered White-Out, I never brushed my teeth. I didn't like toothpaste, and I didn't like brushing. So my teeth were yellow, and my breath smelled bad. People avoided me. Women didn't want to go out with me. Even my dog avoided me.
Announcer: So why did you decide to try White-Out?
Customer: One day I was taking care of my houseplants. I was talking to them, of course. But when I breathed on them, they all died instantly. Just like that. Dead. It was depressing.

Then my mother sent me a tube of White-Out for my birthday. I tried it. The taste was wonderful, like chocolate mint. After I used it for one week, my teeth became white and shiny, really shiny. You could see your reflection in my teeth, like in a mirror. My breath became so fresh. It smelled like flowers in the spring. And now I love brushing my teeth!

Announcer: Did social life improve after you tried White-Out?
Customer: It sure did. Suddenly I had lots of friends. Women wanted to go out with me. My parents allowed me to visit them. My dog no longer ran away from me. My houseplants became healthier. Most of all, I feel so much more confident now.
Announcer: You see, folks. White-Out has changed Bert's life. It can change yours, too.