Advertising Is Harmful

In 2011 Google was reported to say that online advertising alone could be worth more than $24 billion a year. It has grown significantly and in 2017 it is now worth $160 billion. With such money pouring into the industry, what is it actually doing to us all? Surely having all these ads online and in every public space from toilets to train doors is influencing us. Some say that it is a sign of prosperity and wealth, a natural by-product of capitalism.

There are also 47 further topics on media and advertising that could further dig into the culture and industry of these highly influential industries.

If you would like more research on the subject the British Advertising Association is a great place to start.

Level: Intermediate: B1/B2
Running Time: 90 minutes +

Materials included

This free lesson plan is suitable for adults, teenagers, and General English classes. Each plan includes:

  • A debate motion
  • A summary of the controversy
  • Points for both Pros and Cons
  • Language to use in a debate
  • Debate role cards to help identify student groups
  • An article
  • Statistics (true or false exercise)
  • Vocab for the topic


For more information on how to use this in the classroom, please have a look at our detailed post on using free lesson plans.

Worksheet download

Advertising is harmful – Discussion Questions and Article

Advertising is harmful – Pros and Cons Debating Pack

Further reading / additional resources

The Negative Effects of Advertising on Society

9 Negative Side Effects Of Advertising On Children

If We All Hate Ads So Much … Why Do They Still Exist?