AdVice Articles by Sam Harmon
The following article was published in Media Inc. Magazine
Purpose Of An Ad
It was a bulky thump that engaged my dog and triggered the front porch light, which in turn woke me up far too early for a Sunday morning. Just as I suspected, on my front porch lay one of the Northwest’s best infotainment values…The Sunday paper.
I personally love it: where else can I find tons of examples of what my competition and potential customers are doing with their print advertising AND get a nice workout from hefting the paper into the house? Last Sunday’s paper was stuffed with display ads, inserts, and countless classified ads, engulfing nearly 40% of the paper. Every ad was desperately trying to grab readers attention. Unfortunately, over 40% of those well intended ads weren’t serving their purpose. And this is just identifying PRINT advertising. The same goes for online advertising, too!
WAS YOURS AMONG THEM?
The problem with many of those scrawny, underdeveloped ads is they weren’t serving their BASIC PURPOSE. Every ad should IMMEDIATELY COMMUNICATE ITS PURPOSE OR INTENT as simply and as impactual as possible.
So how do you identify your ad’s purpose? That depends on what you intend your advertisement to accomplish. Here are a few examples: Establish top-of-mind awareness. Reduce inventory of a particular product. Announce a new product or service. Increase weekend traffic flow. Entice people to come to your event. Recruit new employees. Whatever the purpose is, WRITE IT DOWN or tattoo it just above your left wrist and review it all the time.
BUILD YOUR ‘PURPOSE’ MUSCLES.
EXERCISE1. While keeping your back straight and your feet 12″ apart, squat down on your front porch, grasp your newspaper with both hands and lift back up with your knees. Walk briskly to your dining room table, toss down the paper and aggressively flip through the pages. Now, start looking at all the ads as fast as possible. If you have to spend more than 4 seconds trying to figure out what an ads OFFER is, it’s an ad that some unfortunate business has just wasted their ad budget on.
EXERCISE 2. Grasping your freshly designed ad in your right hand, speed-walk to as many NON-BIAS people as you can. Taking one deep breath, ask them “What is the offer of this ad?”. Then, hold your breath for as long as they take to answer the question. If you start to turn a blueish tone… Yep, your ad’s missing it’s purpose.
So go out there and demand that your ads serve their purpose.