Posts Categorized: Advertising

What is a good ad?

The best ads are the ones that make us feel “If I had this [product or service], my life would somehow be better.” Think about it. If the product or service doesn’t have the ability to inspire that thought, that’s a problem. And you won’t be able to create very convincing advertising or much in… Read more »

The message IS the message

You may have heard the saying “the medium is the message”.  Not so. Sometimes we think “What I need is a brochure!” or “A new website will increase profits!” when what we really need to be thinking about is getting the right message to the right audience. Once we have the strategy for that worked… Read more »

After Mad Men

Before Mad Men, there was The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, a seminal 1955 novel by Sloane Wilson, later made into a movie classic by 20th Century Fox. In it, Gregory Peck represented the archetypal mid-century advertising man and established advertising stereotypes that persist to this day. What’s ironic is that advertising principles of… Read more »

Benefits vs Features

You’ll notice that the actual product being sold on the left is only a very small part of the entire ad. Now imagine the same ad space showing only the product, with callouts identifying its features: size, materials, weight, etc. Which ad do you think is going to sell better? This ad is focused on… Read more »

Oops! Again.

In advertising it’s extremely important to communicate clearly and concisely. You have just a split second to get your message across and accuracy is everything. On the other hand, advertising can also be sublime when there is just a little something that gets mangled in the process. For example: “There is a French widow in… Read more »

Advertising mixup: Santa, meet CONAD!

On December 24, 1955, Sears ran an ad in a Colorado Springs newspaper which included a special phone number children could call to talk to Santa. Unfortunately, the phone number was misprinted; it turned out to be the number for the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). Despite this inauspicous beginning, volunteers working with CONAD started… Read more »

Hidden in plain sight

I’ve always enjoyed the smiling Amazon logo but didn’t realize I was missing out on a more subtle message it contains as well. What I hadn’t noticed was that the smile is also an arrow. An arrow that points from a to z, referring to Amazon’s amazing breadth as a retailer. Many logos contain somewhat… Read more »

When the message is hard to hear

Sometimes we need to communicate a message about a very serious subject and yet engage readers with an image that is pleasant and inviting. Dining Out for Life is an annual fund-raising event. The image for this campaign manages to deliver two seemingly unrelated topics: you can treat yourself to a dinner out knowing that… Read more »

Cherchez la femme

The Starbucks siren/mermaid (see previous post) is not the only company figurehead who had to clean up her image. In a logo designed to promote tourism, Marianne  (France’s female counterpart to America’s Uncle Sam) was depicted along with the slogan “Rendez-vous en France”. All good. Then it was pointed out that Marianne was a little… Read more »

Too much of a good thing?

We all love having options, but did you you know that having too many choices can actually have a negative effect on sales? A classic example of this is a study conducted by Columbia University which offered customers a choice of strawberry jams. In one test, the customers had 6 jams to choose from and… Read more »