Saturday Night Live (NBC, USA), Pitch Meeting

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The Video

The Saturday Night Live team takes us inside the advertising department at Cheetos where two teams are pitching for the Super Bowl half-time advert. One team are flatly rejected when they present ideas of kids hanging out having fun. The other team, however, find their pretentious projections of human struggle coupled with corn chips far more welcomed.

The video is a direct reference to the half-time ads of this year’s Super Bowl, but, as long as your students have access to a TV, they should recognize the current trend for the pseudo-philosophical nonsense used by companies to sell us their wares.

The video is designed for an adult audience but remains fairly clean. There are some parts which could potentially spark cultural sensitivity, so be sure to watch the video before showing it to your students!

If you teach any advertising executives, this video could provide some light relief yet still remain connected to their line of work.

Language Focus and Level

The narration in this video is fairly slow and the vocabulary is largely non-challenging meaning you could use this video with good intermediate, upper intermediate and if it’s a good fit (pre) advanced students.

You can use this video to talk about describing the plot of a movie or TV show. The worksheet below takes the student through all the necessary grammar to do this, including the difference between dynamic and stative verbs and the use of present tenses (present simple, present continuous and present perfect) when describing a story. This grammar leads on to a speaking activity in which students write their own “recap” style presentations of their favorite movies/TV shows, great if you are looking to do an extended speaking activity.

Worksheet

thumb  Find the main worksheet connected to the video here: SNL Pitch Worksheet

thumb-ii   There is also a separate handout about Stative Verbs available here: Stative Verbs Handout.

Availability

Find the video over at YouTube.

The other optional video detailed in the worksheet is here.

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The Apprentice (BBC, UK) Series 1, Episode 6, “Advertising Executives”

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The Episode

The UK version of this global hit replaces Donald Trump with Sir Alan Sugar producing a far classier, business-focussed affair. In this week’s task, the teams become advertising executives producing a TV and press ad campaign for the mass-market.

Level and Language Focus

The video is perfect for adding a little more fun to business and professional English classes, it also has mass appeal for any adult class. There is a good variety of speaking styles: interviews direct to camera, presenting to a panel, arguing and discussing and the commentary via voice-over. The action does become rather heated and there are plenty of expletives, so the episode isn’t suitable for sensitive audiences.

There is plenty of business English vocabulary to study (see worksheet below) and a possible language extension would be to introduce the third conditional for blame, “If you had spent more time on the press ad, it wouldn’t have looked so terrible”.

Worksheet

A worksheet about the task-part of the show is available here:

The Apprentice – s01e06 Worksheet (right click, save as…)

I would recommend using the worksheet in class and instructing the students to watch the rest of the video at home for homework.

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube.

 

Self-Study

Here is a Riddle Quiz that students can complete away from class. It concerns the same material as the worksheet but, depending on the students, it could be useful for them to watch at home before watching in class.