Getting bored with learning how to speak Spanish?
Variety is the spice of life. And if you’re getting bored with Spanish, variety is the key to smashing that boredom and keeping Spanish fresh.
Study Spanish with the same textbook (or podcast, or course) every day, and one of two things will happen:
You’ll get bored and give up.
You’ll get stuck in that method, and will struggle to use Spanish in real world situations.
But have you ever thought of TV commercials (anuncios in Spanish) as a study aid? Probably not! But they’re surprisingly effective.
Why Use TV Commercials to Study Spanish?
Sure, you probably get as annoyed by TV commercials as the next person. Commercials usually interrupt what you want to be doing.
When you choose to watch commercials, it’s a different experience.
Here’s why you should choose to watch Spanish TV commercials:
TV Commercials are Short (and Perfect for Beginners)
Movies can be an ideal study aid. But for beginner learners, feature length movies are just too long. You get bombarded with new material for an entire ninety minutes, and that can be really disheartening.
A TV commercial is a bite-sized movie. It’s precise, short and to the point. As a beginner, you can follow along and get to grips with everything that’s said. And you won’t feel overwhelmed.
TV Commercials are Simple to Follow
Unlike movies, TV commercials are deliberately accessible to everyone. They’re written to be easy to understand.
With movies, you risk getting lost in a convoluted plot while simultaneously trying to follow all the dialogue.
I barely understood Inception in English, much less a language I’m not yet fluent in!
TV commercials are designed to reach as many people as possible. This means keeping it simple and using everyday themes. In other words, commercials are the perfect way to improve your comprehension skills.
TV Commercials are Memorable
Most commercials are less than a minute long. This means that they need to stand out if they’re going to have an impact on consumers. Advertisers employ teams of full-time psychologists to give their ads the most bang for their buck.
Just like a catchy Spanish song, a well-made Spanish-language commercial can stick in your mind all day.
That’s exactly what you need to learn Spanish fast.
Like it or not, advertising is a part of our lives. Use this to your advantage by turning it into an opportunity to practice your Spanish skills.
Get started with the following Spanish TV commercials:
1. Verizon (English subtitles)
Yes, this commercial is politically incorrect. It also happens to be very memorable!
What’s more, it includes everyday vocabulary about family, work and marriage. These are all topics that you’ll very likely need to talk about early on as you learn Spanish, especially when meeting new people.
2. Spanish Christmas Lottery (Spanish subtitles)
The annual Christmas lottery is a national institution in Spain. It’s the second longest running lottery in the world, and the largest one in terms of total payout at over two billion euro!
Each year, the Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (Spanish lottery commission) produces a TV commercial to promote the lottery, and I’ve shared the video from 2014. To make sense of what’s going on in the video, you’ll need a bit of background on how the lottery works.
Lottery tickets are usually sold in tenths (décimos), because an individual ticket is quite pricey. If a ticket wins, then everyone who bought a tenth of that ticket gets 10% of the prize money. In this commercial, the cafe owner offers to sell his friend un décimo, but the friend declines. The implication is that that money is tight for him right now. Unemployment in Spain is still at one of the highest levels in the EU.
I’ll let you see for yourself how the commercial ends.
3. Faceboom (English subtitles)
This is a hilarious ad about Faceboom, a Spanish-language book that provides an in-depth analysis of the profound impact that Facebook has had on the world.
The dialogue of this commercial provides you with tons of useful vocabulary about Facebook. You can help this vocabulary stick in your mind by changing your Facebook language preference to Spanish.
Feeling ambitious? You can order the book to get Spanish reading practice about a very relevant topic.
By the way… have you liked us on Facebook yet? 😉
4. iPhone 6S (no subtitles)
This commercial is about a topic that rarely features in Spanish textbooks: iPhones!
Even if you don’t own one yourself, I bet you know several people who do. iPhones are just as popular in Spain and Latin America as they are in the rest of the world. When you meet real Spanish speakers, you can practice the vocabulary from this commercial to have an interesting conversation about a topic that nearly everyone has an opinion on.
On that subject, why not switch your phone’s language to Spanish? That way, you’ll sneak in extra practice every time you use your phone.
5. Cruzcampo Beer (English subtitles)
Like most beer commercials, this ad isn’t really about beer. It’s a rousing, inspirational speech about what it means to be Andalusian.
Andalucía is the region of Spain that this beer brand comes from. I can’t vouch for the quality of the beer there, but I’ve visited Andalucía and it’s spectacular. It’s everything this commercial says and more.
A word of warning: the narrator in this ad speaks quickly. This is a good thing! He doesn’t speak any more quickly than the average Spanish speaker in everyday conversation. This is the speed you’ll need to get used to if you want to have real conversations in Spanish.
Want to practice at a slower rate before getting to grips with full speed Spanish? Use the settings button on YouTube to slow down the video (it’s the button that looks like a cog at the bottom right of the video).
6. Coca Cola (English subtitles)
This is a really useful commercial for practising the Spanish future tense.
It’s an interesting take on how today’s statistics predict the future of human health. Try to ignore the counterintuitiveness of this being a Coke commercial, and just enjoy the content. There’s lots of useful Spanish vocabulary in there.
7. IKEA (English subtitles)
How about a Swedish-Spanish fusion?
With this ad, IKEA brings home a poignant message about what’s most important over Christmas. Hint: it’s not toys!
I like how this commercial features lots of different voices. You get to hear all sorts of people speaking Spanish, including children of all ages.
Why’s it so helpful to hear kids speaking? For one thing, you get a different kind of listening practice, since young children haven’t mastered their own language yet and don’t speak it like adults do. For another, they often speak more slowly, which is especially helpful in a lightning-fast language like Spanish!
8. Nocilla (no subtitles)
Everyone’s heard of Nutella, right? But have you heard of Nocilla? It’s by far the most popular chocolate hazelnut spread in Spain and Portugal, vastly outselling Nutella.
Only a Spanish chocolate spread advert could focus on football. And football is likely to be a topic you’ll find yourself chatting about during a visit to any Spanish-speaking country. If you don’t want to be left out of these conversations, then you’d better brush up on your football vocabulary,
Just don’t be surprised after watching this commercial if you get a craving for some rich, creamy hazelnut spread while you’re reviewing the difference between a golero and a goleador.
More Spanish Commercials
These commercials are just a taste of what you can find online. Here are some other places you can find Spanish TV commercials.
- Youtube: Run a search for anuncio de televisión to find tonnes of Spanish TV commercials.
- Flipboard: This social media news sharing website has a nice collection of commercials scraped from around the web.
- ABC.es: A modest list of some of the best commercials from Spanish TV history.
Have you used TV commercials to help you learn Spanish? I’d like to hear about it! Drop me a line in the comments!