"I Don't Know How to Tell If My Ad or Brochure is Any Good"
AD OR PRINT PIECE
Analysis is a key part of any marketing plan -- who are your
consumers, why do they buy products in your category, which of their
particular needs, wants, desires can your product fulfill, etc.?
An advertisement for a product or idea is (or should be) a
distillation of the answers to these and many other analysis
questions posed by the marketer. The ad, brochure, flyer, etc. should
contain elements that meet the requirements of good communication and
contain the elements necessary to stimulate the targeted customers.
Analyzing good advertisements can help you in crafting effective
marketing plans. Of course, your marketing plans will include an
advertising component of some kind.
More importantly, the analysis which forms the springboard for
advertising will also play a major role in the design of the overall
marketing plan. Both focus on the key element -- the buyer, that poor
soul who often feels like a rabbit on a shooting range.
The average person is surrounded by 3,000 commercial messages a day.
We are bombarded with advertising messages in print, on radio and TV,
through the mail and over the Internet. We don't pay any attention to
99% of them. Either they don't even attract our attention, or they
are perceived and given a very rapid "once over" at a level
we barely notice before being rejected. Think about that. An ad which
probably took weeks to create and thousands of dollars to reach a
customer's mind often gets no more than a second of consideration
before being mentally tossed in the wastebasket! You can see how
costly bad planning is.
Thus, the first job of any ad is to get the target buyers to pay
attention to it -- to make it over the two hurdles noted above. This
is usually the job of the headline or picture in a print ad. Radio
relies on music, sound effects, key words, or a catchy opening.
Television nearly always relies on visuals, its strong suit.
Once the ad has been perceived, it must clear the next hurdle -- does
it immediately stimulate one or more "hot button"
motivations (a need, want, fear, or desire) of the consumer?
ANALYSIS: Does the ad reach out and GRAB your attention, or is it
Once it has gained the viewer's momentary attention, the ad usually
has only two or three seconds to show how it can answer some of the
buyer's needs, wants fears or desires (which are called
"drives" or "motivations").
Ads often link other drives (other needs, wants, fears or desires) to
their product to produce the initial involvement needed to get the
viewer to commit more time to the ad. Often these drives are
unrelated to the product.
The desire for sexual stimulation is a familiar example. While
beautiful women or handsome men have nothing to do with the value of
a car or a hamburger, their presence stimulates a pleasure site in
the brain. To continue feeling this pleasure, viewers will look at
the ad. Humor is another example of this technique, as are mystery
Of course, the product itself may stimulate the viewer's interest
without "add-on" drives if his need is strong.
These same points are directly applicable to ad messages presented in
brochures, flyers, or other types of media. In all cases, the
consumer is only willing to give you a very small amount of time to
prove your product/service might be valuable. How you do that will
determine if your message gets through, or is gone forever.
DESIGN & COPY
The ad's design and copy (written or spoken) are important for its
overall success. They must help attract attention and viewer
involvement; make the ad's key message easy to find and understand;
reinforce an image of the product consistent with the ad's key
message; and encourage the viewer to act in a way that contributes to
the success of the marketing plan.
A cluttered ad which requires the viewer to decipher the message, or
even the product, is not often successful. The exception is a design
in which the ad creates a mystery which involves the viewer's
curiosity about what the product is, such as the Nike or Obsession ads.
The ad's design and copy must recognize and support the mental needs
and limitations of the viewer. The viewer generally can't, and
doesn't want to, wade through a dense ad to find the answer to the
question, "Why should I care?" The viewer generally won't
remember more than a few facts or ideas, and will recall pictures far
better than words, which must be repeated to help the viewer grasp
and learn the idea.
The "look" of the ad contributes to the image of the
product. Ads for products appealing to wealthy customers (Cadillac,
Lexus) feature design elements which are consistent with that image,
such as a "refined" look or layout, cultured voiceovers,
conservative typeface, well-dressed actors, rich sets, etc.
The ad plays a front line role in the marketing plan, the first
troops to engage the target buyer. It's specific role may be to
create brand awareness (prescription drugs), build an image (Hallmark
cards), stimulate immediate need satisfaction (pizza), create a
decision to look at the product (car ads), produce a buying decision
(lettuce on sale), or reinforce brand loyalty (soap powder, soup, cereal).
The design and copy should direct the viewer to take the desired
action, now or in the future. Ads are usually not intended to make a
sale, but to get the buyer to take the next step. An ad which doesn't
clearly encourage the buyer to take that next step is like a salesman
who doesn't ask for the order.
INTEGRITY, LOGIC AND BELIEF
An ad can be well designed and written, but fail completely if it
doesn't seem believable, logical, and honest. Ads which seem
trustworthy will help the product's image and reputation.
A good example is the way in which Tylenol addressed the issue of the
safety of its bottles. The company was honest with the public about
the problem, offered logical methods to identify tampering (broken
plastic seals and wrapping), and made a believable argument that the
new process guaranteed safety.
A product which makes outlandish claims ("cures ailments from
your head to your toes"), or presents arguments which are not
logical ("the Yugo performs better than the BMW") will
The buyer's loss of trust in a product is a knife in its heart.
("Try the AbBomber -- exercise just 10 minutes a day and lose 20
pounds in 20 days!")
>>>> DON'T MISS THIS:
These are just a few of the tips and techniques for creating a print
ad that gets results. Click HERE to
see how you can get several hundred similar tips to help your advertising
and brochures bring in more customers. Specially written in practical
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Read our Three Part Series on Writing Effective Ads:
To read Part One (Writing a Good Headline), click GoTo1
To read Part Two (Selecting a Picture for Your Ad), click GoTo2
To read Part Three (Writing Effective Body Copy), click GoTo3
(c) Gary Witt, 1998
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