Classic Print Ad Structure Promise of benefit (headline) Spelling out of promise (subheadline) Amplification of story Proof of claim Action to take
Evaluating an Effective Headline Does it start with short, simple words? Does it invite the prospect to read more? Does it include a thought-provoking or emotion-provoking idea? Are the words selective, appealing only to prime prospects? Does it give sufficient information for those who read only the headline?
Print Ad Anatomy The Headline is part of the visual that attracts interest. The Subhead elaborates on the headline and transitions from headline to copy. The Copy (Body Copy) gives the details.
Amplification The body copy amplifies what was announced in the headline or subheadline
Bly’s Checklist for Print Ads (adapted) 1.Headline mentions important benefit, news, arouses curiosity or promises a reward for reading on. 2.Visual illustrates the main benefit stated throughout the copy (and, for sure, the headline). 3.Good flow and progressive expansion on the message from headline to subhead to body copy. 4.Inviting layout encourages consumers to read the body copy. 5.Sales points are covered in a logical sequence (usually most to least important, i.e. inverted pyramid). 6.Copy convinces prospects to take the next step (define what that is!). 7.Copy is interesting to read. “You cannot bore people into buying your product.” (David Ogilvy) 8.Copy is believable and overcomes the reader’s general distrust of advertising. 9.Call to action is included in the ad.
Slogan or No Slogan…? [Bly] Don’t force it. – Slogan should be strong and meaningful. – Should flow logically and aesthetically in the ad. Can your product’s USP actually be summarized in a neat little catchy phrase? If you already have a slogan, you should probably try to use it. Bigger ad budgets = more continuity = more effective use of slogans. Don’t use a slogan if it will typecast your brand too narrowly. Nowadays some slogans may come across as too slick.
Print Media – Special Considerations Newspapers: Copy can be straightforward, a list of facts. Magazines: Copy should be more “poetic”, metaphorical and engaging. Directories: Short and sweet. Uncomplicated. Billboards: Headline must be bold and capture attention and interest quickly. 7-10 words max. Play on words is typical. Visual very important. Collateral: Is more explanatory, detail-driven. Can be longer, but must still be “pithy”.
Types of Print Ads See Bly p. 141 for the full list… Question Ad Quiz Ad News Ad Direct Ad Reward Ad Command Ad Letter Ad Story Ad Demonstration Ad
Why magazines? Selective – great targeting vehicle Print quality Long lasting Pass-along Prestige Design flexibility Integration with other media
Gatefolds extend an ad, but will consumers actually unfold them?
Use of “fancy” fonts can help or hurt. Be careful.
Good headline (though bad color contrast). Body copy is dull and layout is terrible. Too much going on.
Daring ad brakes up editorial copy with famous athlete imagery.
Why newspapers? Local Timely Widespread Specialized or general purpose sections Believable / Trustworthy Convenient – Can take it with you! Large size – lots of ad size possibilities Good for focusing on price and product details Inserts – lots of possibilities
Alternative Media Flexible High impact – make a big splash! Go right to assured high traffic locations Rapid awareness Generate repeated commuter impressions in a short time period
Billboards Standard static boards Extensions Motion boards Illuminated boards Digital boards 3-dimensional boards
Tips for Billboards Landscape orientation, not portrait Need copy and imagery that can be quickly absorbed Think big Use bold, sans serif fonts Strong visual-verbal connection One main idea Take advantage of location All caps for short headlines/upper-lower for longer headlines Short words Bold colors Few elements Show product or package instead of words if possible
Collateral Product brochures Corporate image brochures Press kits Catalogs Sell sheets Capabilities brochures Personal selling kits Trade show handouts Annual and quarterly reports Nowadays: pdfs and web pages
Brochures / Collateral Tend to be for “bigger ticket” items People still ask for printed materials!! Can help to establish legitimacy of business / product / brand People will actually read the “long” copy if it’s good. Functions of brochures (Bly): – Leave-behinds – Point-of-sale literature – Inquiry Response – Part of Direct Mail Package – Sales Aid (more detailed)
Brochures / Collateral - Guidance Have a theme that continues throughout the brochure Brochures are the place for sales-oriented information. Use repetition to good advantage Think visually – Cover = “Headline”… and is crucial! – Short paragraphs of copy. – Seamless integration with images that effectively illustrate the micro-copy and main theme(s). – Complete all drafts right in the template!
Brochures [Bly, adapted] Where are prospects in the buying process? – Brochure as sales intermediary between initial contact and final sale. – “Cold” or “qualified” prospect? – How much do prospects know? – How much do they need to know? – Allow for knowledge self-selection (multiple pieces of collateral)
Brochures [Bly, adapted] What else is supporting the brochure? – Standalone brochures must do “heavy lifting” and sell the product from start to finish. – Each product / product line could have its own brochure. – Usually best to stay more abstract in the brochure and provide separate collateral (i.e. fact sheets) or a web address for details. – What is the rest of the promotional mix?
Brochures [Bly, adapted] What do your readers need? – What will your product do for me? – SHOW (images) and TELL (copy) – Avoid including irrelevant (though perhaps interesting) information, i.e. history – Facts/figures vs. imagery – Short vs. long copy and attention spans
Brochures [Bly, adapted] The cover needs to grab attention – Sales message and image must be simple and strong. – Include (at least) an effective headline or tagline. – Avoid including irrelevant (though perhaps interesting) information, i.e. history. – Avoid using “borrowed interest” concepts. – Consider starting the body copy on the cover.
Brochures [Bly, adapted] Provide information! – Brochures are one of the best media formats for providing information – so don’t be afraid to provide it! – “The serious prospect … will read every word of copy as long as it is interesting and engaging.” – Include: Product details and specifications, prices (if stable and uniform), ordering information, warranties and guarantees, testimonials, demonstration copy – Fill the panels with copy and images Use only as much whitespace as is necessary to make the copy more readable. – Remember to include contact information and call-to- action gateways: phone number, email, mailing/physical address, website address, facebook page, twitter handle, etc.
Brochures [Bly, adapted] Organize your sales points logically – Tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. – Product offering may suggest a certain logical organization scheme (i.e. most to least popular, alphabetical, Q&A, by benefit, etc.) – Best flow format is usually: General (Begin)=> Specific (Middle) => General (End)
Brochures [Bly, adapted] Divide the brochure into short, easy-to-read sections – More inviting to read and allows for readers’ self- directing by interest/need. – Makes you write better copy! – Create an outline to work from: What main things do I want readers to know? – Use headlines and subheads to lead the sections Some readers will only scan these, so they need to sell. – One layout concept to a panel. – Page continuity – what are the linkages?
Brochures [Bly, adapted] Use hardworking visuals – Show the product in action. – Photos are best (reason to believe). – Charts, tables and graphs may be appropriate. – “Only use a visual element if it improves upon the written description.” – Usually better to label visuals with captions. Captions get twice the readership as body copy. Make them interesting! – See Bly p. 188 for list of common brochure visuals (but dare to be different where appropriate!)
Brochures [Bly, adapted] Include a call-to-action – What do you want the reader to do next? – Clearly state the next step and provide an action gateway (phone number, web address, web page, etc.) – Re-state the key benefit in the CTA (Example: “Call now to find out how we can help your child do better in school.”) – Where do I put the call-to-action? Full version always placed at the “end” of the brochure. (What is the “end” anyway?) Scaled-down CTA info should be placed throughout the brochure where readers expect to find contact info – top, bottom margins, front cover.
Brochures [Bly, adapted] Make the brochure worth keeping – Brochure may sell later rather than now. – Try to put something useful into the brochure so the reader has an incentive to keep it around. Conversion scale table for cooking enthusiasts Top-rated nearby restauants – Don’t force it!
Three types of Brochures [Bly] Product Brochures Service Brochures Corporate Brochures See Bly pp. 193-196 for copy details
Workshop Activity: Using the Checklist to Evaluate Copy Effectiveness Rate a classmates’ copy effort using this checklist. Answer “Yes”, “No” or “Not Applicable” to each of the items and comment upon each of your ratings. Strong opening line? Appeal to consumer’s point of view? Does body copy support the headline (and subheads)? Does it flow? Is it easy to read? Is it engaging throughout? Is it believable? Is it persuasive? Is it specific? Is it concise? Does it have a “call to action”? Does the copy tie to the visual? Do the copy and visual reinforce each other? Comment on anything else ** Note: The above items will vary in importance for a given communications objective.