Thoughts on Ads - benefit, not brand, must take centre-stage


15 Sep

Sometimes I write to companies whose advertising I think could use a tweak.

And other times I bottle it and express myself here instead...

Archant's Content Chief looks like a man who's not to be trifled with. So I thought I'd keep this one for the blog.

I don't think there is much wrong with the components of this ad (right-click the image to open it full size in a new tab or window). I just think they are in the wrong order.

It only stopped me because I'm specifically looking for ads whose benefit isn't immediately apparent. If I was looking for free digital marketing assistance, I might have overlooked it altogether, given that (a) that bit is buried beneath a largely-meaningless headline and (b) people below the age of 70 skim through free local newspapers like this one at the speed of light. 

Too many businesses think the function of ads is to make people aware of them. It isn't. It's to make people aware of what those businesses can do for them. If that point isn't being hammered home, then no amount of branding will save the day. We're selfish ******** like that; all of us.

All that's needed at the top of the ad is for the third line to vanish and the big juicy lettering wasted on 'INSIGHTDAY' to be allocated instead to 'FREE DIGITAL MARKETING WEBINARS'.

That's the 'hook', right there. Anyone needing marketing advice was just stopped in his/her tracks.

Now onto the white panel underneath; left-hand side. I would lose the first three lines. I'm sure Archant sweated cobs over a fancy collective name for these webinars but I'm almost as sure that no-one else cares. The headline, meanwhile, has already mentioned that they're free. The space created by this can accommodate a bigger, more readable font.

At this point, you want to aggravate the readers' pain instead; reinforcing their decision to give your ad the time of day, before you offer them your soothing balm. Starting this section with the paragraph - 'At Archant, we know how challenging running a business can be...[etc.]', does that. 

I would reword the second sentence to, 'That's why we're back with Insightday - a brand new, five-part webinar series...[etc.]', and remove the words "support and assist". Why say the same thing three times?

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