Has it ever occurred to you, that you rarely read advertisements in publications – and if not, why not?
More than a century since newspapers were created, many businesses still have little idea what they’re doing when they create an advertisement or sales flyer or corporate brochure.
Some classic examples of ‘headline deficiency’.
The following is a selection of headlines taken from advertisements in a recent edition of ‘W.A. Business News’ with my comments…
W.A.’s leading precaster
Meeting the tightest deadlines
Maintaining quality and safety…
Making Mining Work
Tenix. Leading the way in resourcing tomorrow
No problems Just solutions
Barwick Estates, Western Australia
Collectively, these advertisements total thousands of dollars of advertising money going down the drain. There’s a very good chance that if readers were asked after finishing the publication if they noticed any of those advertisements, they would not even have seen them, let alone chosen to read them.
‘An advertisement cannot stimulate sales if it’s not read; it cannot be read if it’s not seen; and it will not be seen unless it can Get Attention’.
That’s not my words – it’s what one of the greats of advertising, Victor Schwab wrote about 50 or so year ago – and I can promise you, the rule hasn’t changed.
Another great writer, John Caples in his book, ‘Tested Advertising Methods’ mentions that an advertisement has a second to be heeded or passed up.
So unless the headline absolutely grabs the interest of a percentage of readers in within a second or so, the money invested in the advertisement is simply ‘gonna sleep with da fishes’… as the renowned Godfather was want to say.
Victor Schwab pointed out that whilst there are a number of variations to creating effective headlines there are essentially two fundamental types of headlines: a positive or negative approach.
1.Positive: By managing to convey, in a few words, how the reader can save, gain, or accomplish something through the use of your product/ service.
2. Negative: By pointing out how the reader can avoid or reduce risks, worries, losses, mistakes, embarrassment, drudgery, or some other undesirable condition through the use of your product/ service.
Surely creating a headline based on the above premise cannot be all that difficult for these businesses.
Maybe it would be a good service of newspapers and magazines to give some level of guidance to their advertisers as to what has a chance of attracting the interest of their readers and what is absolutely destined for failure.
Afterall, they have sub-editors who are aware of the art of creating attention getting headlines – perhaps they could pass it on to their advertisers.
Surely better than having their clients’ money sleep with da fishies!