There are basically two types of space advertising: promotional ads and advertorials.
Each has its place in your marketing toolbox. However, while most copywriters and designers have at least a fair understanding of promotional ads, advertorials can pose a challenge.
Designers in particular have issues with advertorials because they’re ugly.
So let’s take a look at a sample advertorial and see what makes it tick.
Here’s an article I wrote a while back that infuriated agencies and award show supporters all over the country. It generated criticism, diatribes, tirades, personal attacks, verbal abuse … and quite a bit of praise. I guess it really hit home. So I’ve decided to share it with my loyal, savvy readers here.
If you’re the typical advertising type, you can get pretty fed up with all those direct response techniques.
How dare anyone suggest that your job is about something as crass as getting people to read a sales pitch or generating profit. After all, you’re a creative genius, right?
Besides, while you’re pretty sure that direct marketers know a thing or two about getting people to respond to ads, they don’t know squat about what’s really important. Winning awards!
I mean, sheesh! They’re so spastic. Always whipping out calculators and crunching numbers … as if numbers have anything to do with advertising!
Let’s take a quick look at a few sure ways to create ads that impress your colleagues, win pointy plastic prizes, and give you a well-deserved break from all that pesky response.
I’ve always been in love with print ads.
Like radio advertising, print ads are relatively easy to create and place. They offer a simple and elegant platform for selling. And with an endless array of niche publications, you can target prospects better than ever before.
But print advertising can also be expensive. You could buy a house for what you’ll pay for a one-page ad in an AARP publication.
Plus, you generally have to plan and place your ads months in advance. You can’t make last minute changes. So it pays to evaluate your ads carefully before you commit to an advertising schedule.
Here’s a 9-point checklist to help you make sure your ad is good-to-go:
The money wasted on do-nothing “corporate” advertising is truly astonishing. Here’s a “corporate” style ad I chose completely at random from Target Marketing magazine.
Okay, quick … what’s it about? Don’t know? Of course not. You have to read the teeny little block of type to find out it has something to do with email. I think it’s software, but I’m not entirely sure.
This is typical of what I call “corporate” ads. These are ads that look pretty, say little, cost a lot, and don’t work very well.
Direct response design is all about getting people to READ the text. If no one reads the words, why bother running the ad?
While flipping through some magazines recently, I came across this ad for a laser sighting device. I know what the ad is about because of the photo, but certainly not because of the text. This ad ignores virtually every convention for designing readable copy.
Some of the best advertisements are built around a story.
This is an advanced copywriting technique and takes a deft hand to pull off, so I don’t recommend it to novice copywriters. But when you can do it convincingly, it’s a thing of beauty.
Here’s an ad I ran across while rifling through some folders this morning. This is probably too small to read, but you can click on it to download a PDF image of the entire ad.
Let’s take a look at a few things that make this ad work. Read more
Let’s take a look at a few principles for writing and designing effective print ads. And instead of rehashing “classic” ads that you always see in advertising and marketing textbooks, let’s just pick an ad out of the newspaper. That’s where a lot of the ad dollars go anyway.
Here’s one I ran across today in my local paper. It’s not pretty. And it ain’t Shakespeare. But it’s a damn good ad. Why? Mostly because it’s all business. The copywriter isn’t trying to entertain. The designer isn’t trying to impress. Take a good look.
The ad copy here is doing smart things:
1. The headline selects the audience and identifies a problem.
2. The subhead promises a solution.
3. The body copy suggests the solution is easy.
4. The offer is simple and direct. And it’s free!
5. The title of “Dr.” and the testimonials establish credibility.
The ad design is smart as well:
1.The headline and subhead are big and bold.
2. The illustration ties directly to the headline.
3. The body copy is in large type and bulleted to make reading easy and scanning effortless.
4. The offer and call to action are highlighted and cannot be missed.
5. There is not one hint of cleverness to distract from the message.
This print ad won’t win a single award. Most ad agency copywriters or designers couldn’t bear to be in the same room with a print ad like this. But this is solid advertising. This is the sort of ad that works!