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THE ARTICLE

Avon is the world’s largest cosmetics and perfume company. It’s also one of the oldest. It was founded in New York in 1886 by a door-to-door book salesman David H. McConnell who gave away perfume to encourage sales. The perfume became more popular than the books so he established the California Perfume Company. Since then it has become a multinational corporation, employing over 40,000 people in 140-plus countries across the globe, and has annual sales in excess of $10 billion. The company uses a mix of sales strategies, relying on door-to-door selling, catalogues and retail stores. Traditionally, the trademark ‘Avon lady’ would come to customers’ doors. The company is expanding quickly into China and Russia and has also targeted the market for male cosmetics.


 

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WARM UPS



 

1. BRAINSTORM CHAT: Write all the words you can think of about Avon on the board or on a piece of paper. Talk about these words with your partner(s).

2. AVON MORNING: Each student pretends to be an employee of Avon. They walk around the class and talk about the company and their job.

3. RUMOURS: Each student writes down a pretend rumour about Avon. They then walk around the class and talk to other students about their rumour.

4. GOOD AND BAD: Brainstorm good and bad things about Avon and write them on the board. Students talk about these in pairs.

5. TRUE OR FALSE: Students find out several facts about Avon. They write these down and add the same number of things about the company that are false. Students test each other on which of their points are true or false.

6. FACTS: In groups, students write down as many facts as they can about Avon. The winner is the group with the most facts. Teacher may wish to have groups share their facts to make sure they are real.

*  LISTENING / READING GAP FILL

Avon is the world’s largest cosmetics and perfume company. It’s ___________________. It was founded in New York in 1886 ___________________ book salesman David H. McConnell who gave away perfume to encourage sales. The perfume ___________________ the books so he established the California Perfume Company. Since ___________________ a multinational corporation, employing over 40,000 people in 140-plus countries across the globe, ___________________ in excess of $10 billion. The company ___________________ strategies, relying on door-to-door selling, catalogues and retail stores. Traditionally, the trademark ‘Avon lady’ ___________________ customers’ doors. The company is expanding quickly into China and Russia and ___________________ the market for male cosmetics.

*  CORRECT THE SPELLING

Avon is the world’s largest cosmetics and pfrumee company. It’s also one of the oldest. It was ofdeund in New York in 1886 by a door-to-door book salesman David H. McConnell who gave away perfume to eeaugronc sales. The perfume became more popular than the books so he stieablhdes the California Perfume Company. Since then it has become a multinational corporation, epyigmnlo over 40,000 people in 140-plus countries across the globe, and has annalu sales in csseex of $10 billion. The company uses a mix of sales strategies, yelingr on door-to-door selling, catalogues and retail stores. Traditionally, the trademark ‘Avon lady’ would come to customers’ doors. The company is nxepigdna quickly into China and Russia and has also tedtrgae the market for male cosmetics.

*  UNJUMBLE THE WORDS

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*  INSERT THE VOWELS

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*  PUNCTUATE THE TEXT AND ADD CAPITALS

avon is the world’s largest cosmetics and perfume company it’s also one of the oldest it was founded in new york in 1886 by a door-to-door book salesman david h mcconnell who gave away perfume to encourage sales the perfume became more popular than the books so he established the california perfume company since then it has become a multinational corporation employing over 40000 people in 140-plus countries across the globe and has annual sales in excess of $10 billion the company uses a mix of sales strategies relying on door-to-door selling catalogues and retail stores traditionally the trademark ‘avon lady’ would come to customers’ doors the company is expanding quickly into china and russia and has also targeted the market for male cosmetics

*  CHOOSE THE CORRECT TENSE

Avon .......... (be) the world’s largest cosmetics and perfume company. It’s also one of the oldest. It was .......... (found) in New York in 1886 by a door-to-door book salesman David H. McConnell who .......... (give) away perfume to .......... (encourage) sales. The perfume .......... (become) more popular than the books so he .......... (establish) the California Perfume Company. Since then it has .......... (become) a multinational corporation, employing over 40,000 people in 140-plus countries across the globe, and .......... (have) annual sales in excess of $10 billion. The company .......... (use) a mix of sales strategies, relying on door-to-door selling, catalogues and retail stores. Traditionally, the trademark ‘Avon lady’ .......... (will) come to customers’ doors. The company is .......... (expand) quickly into China and Russia and has also .......... (target) the market for male cosmetics.

*  REWRITE WITH SPACES

Avonistheworld’slargestcosmeticsandperfumecompany.It’salsooneoftheoldest.ItwasfoundedinNewYork
in1886byadoor-todoorbooksalesmanDavidH.McConnellwhogaveawayperfumetoencouragesales.Theperfumebecame
morepopularthanthebookssoheestablishedtheCaliforniaPerfumeCompany.Sincethenithasbecome
amultinationalcorporation,employingover40,000peoplein140-pluscountriesacrosstheglobe,andhasannualsalesinexcessof$10billion.Thecompanyusesamixof
salesstrategies,relyingondoor-to-doorselling,cataloguesandretailstores.Traditionally,thetrademark‘Avonlady’wouldcome
tocustomers’doors.ThecompanyisexpandingquicklyintoChinaandRussiaandhasalsotargetedthe
marketformalecosmetics.

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*  CHOOSE THE CORRECT WORD

Avon is the world’s largest cosmetics and ____________ company. It’s also one of the oldest. It was ____________ in New York in 1886 by a door-to-door book salesman David H. McConnell who gave away perfume to ____________ sales. The perfume became more ____________ than the books so he established the California Perfume Company. Since then it has become a multinational corporation, ____________ over 40,000 people in 140-plus countries across the globe, and has annual sales in ____________ of $10 billion. The company uses a ____________ of sales strategies, relying on door-to-door selling, catalogues and ____________ stores. Traditionally, the trademark ‘Avon lady’ would come to customers’ doors. The company is ____________ quickly into China and Russia and has also ____________ the market for male cosmetics.

 

 

excess
founded
retail
popular
perfume
targeted
mix
expanding
employing
encourage

*  PROJECT AVON

Part 1. Your mission is to increase the profits and sales of Avon. Complete this  table with your project partner(s):

Main products

 

 

 

How to improve them

 

 

 

A brand new ‘killer’ product

 

How Avon is better than the competition

 

How to beat the competition

 

Part 2. Change partners and look at their project. Suggest improvements. Ask for advice on your project:

Part 3. Make a presentation on your project. Give it to the class. Vote the best projects.

*  AVON – ROLE PLAY 1

Role  A – Avon CEO

You believe your company is the best in the world. It pays its workers very well and working conditions are great. Your company is very green – it cares about the environment. You think your levels of customer service are great. Disagree with person B, C and D.

Role  B – Avon worker

You think it’s a bad company to work for. You’re very unhappy with pay, raises and bonuses. You are very unhappy with the working environment. You don’t like the company’s policy on the environment. You keep hearing profits are more important than customers. Disagree with A and C. Tell D the truth.

Role  C – Avon customer

You are a customer of Avon. You used to think it was great, but not now. Its workers are always very rude. No one ever answers the phone. You are shocked about its policy on the environment. You think all staff should get less pay. You disagree with person A and B. Tell D the truth.

Role  D – A journalist

You keep hearing bad things about Avon. You want to tell the world in your newspaper. You heard the CEO gets a huge bonus every year. You found a company memo saying profits are more important than the environment. You want to know why so many staff are ill. Find the truth.

*  AVON – ROLE PLAY 2

Role  A – Avon New Products Director

You have created a new product for Avon. You believe the new product will be the company’s best ever. It will be a bestseller. There are people who do not agree with you. You need B, C and D on your side. Tell them why this is a product that will bring great things to Avon.

Role  B – Avon Marketing Director

You think the company’s new product is a really bad idea. It will give your company a really bad name. You think the New Products Director is trying to destroy the company. Try to get him/her to understand there’s no way the new product will sell. Try to get person C and D on your side.

Role  C – Avon Market Researcher

You have interviewed thousands of people about the new product. They don’t like it or hate it. You think it will be successful if they make many changes. Tell the New Products Director he/she needs to change the product. You neither like nor trust person B. Disagree will him/her.

Role  D – Avon Shareholder

You know a lot about Avon’s new product. You are worried it will not sell and share prices will go down. You think A is crazy and must find a new job. You agree with everything B says. You don’t agree with C. The new product should not go on the market.

*  JOB INTERVIEW ROLE PLAY

INTERVIEWER  (Write the questions you want to ask the candidate.)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________

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INTERVIEWEE  (Write questions you want to ask the interviewer.)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

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3.

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4.

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5.

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6.

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*  DISCUSSION (Write your own questions)

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

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3.

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4.

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5.

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6.

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STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

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4.

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5.

________________________________________________________

6.

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*  AVON SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about Avon in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

*  WRITING 1 – SPEED WRITING

Write anything about Avon for 10 minutes. Show your partner your paper. Correct each other’s work.

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*  WRITING 2 – LETTER OF COMPLAINT

Write a letter to Avon. Complain about one of its products. Ask for a refund. Show your partner your paper. Correct each other’s work.

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*  WRITING 3 – LETTER OF APOLOGY

Write a letter of apology to the customer. Explain why you cannot give a refund. Show your partner your letter. Correct each other’s work.

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*  HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET INFO: Search the Internet and find more information about Avon. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about Avon. What have they done recently? What are their plans? Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

4. AVON POSTER Make a poster about Avon. Make sure you sell the company to the public.  Show it to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your posters.

5. MY AVON LESSON: Make your own English lesson on Avon. Make sure there is a good mix of things to do. Find some good online activities. Teach the class / another group when you have finished.

6. ONLINE SHARING: Use your blog, wiki, Facebook page, MySpace page, Twitter stream, Del-icio-us / StumbleUpon account, or any other social media tool to get opinions on Avon. Share your findings with the class.

ANSWERS

You can check your answers to these activities by looking at the article at the top of this page.

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