This print ad will have John Caples spinning in his grave.

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In printed advertising the headline is the most important part of the overall design.

It must get the attention of your target audience, shaking them out of whatever it is they are thinking and making them read your advertisement. And it has to engage him or her to carry on reading the rest of the advertisement too, which might be written to make the reader take some kind of action.
Research by the late advertising legend John Caples highlights that headlines, and advertising messages in general, can be broken down into three types:
1, Self interest.
Statistically the most successful. These typically use the word ‘you’ a lot and really talk to the reader. And after all, we are all human and want to know what’s in it for us.

2, Announcing news
People love news and being informed of new things. This is particularly true in business-to-business advertising where professionals are always looking to improve their specific knowledge or keep up to date with technological advances.
3, Curiosity
Statistically the least successful headlines but nonetheless they can still be effective. These advertisements try to arouse your targets curiosity to make them read on.
So look at the advertisement below that was kindly brought to my attention by law firm marketing expert Stephen Fairley. It’s for Godwin Ronquillo PC, a law firm based in Dallas and Houston, USA.

An example of a poor advertisement by a law firm

To be honest I can’t really tell if this is printed on an outdoor space or is a static image on a TV screen. Nonetheless , it says absolutely nothing. It’s all about the advertiser not the potential client. And even then, it doesn’t really say much about them either.

I wonder if this advertisement was conceived by a marketing expert or a lawyer? I have a sneaky feeling it was created by the stars of the show, none other than Mr Godwin and Mr Ronquillo themselves.

Stephen Fairley is based in the USA. And I think Godwin Ronquillo PC could do a lot worse than give him a call.

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2 thoughts on “This print ad will have John Caples spinning in his grave.

    jason1970 said:
    June 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Foggy isn’t the right word. Imagine some advertising professional somewhere got paid to produce that junk. The problem it seems that humans pick up messages in good ads but don’t really know why they respond to them. It is the same reason why coming up with benefit driven headlines and copy doesn’t come natural – even some “marketers” dont’ get it…as demonstrated. I recommend Caples’ book is a first stop for any marketer.

      Carl Weston responded:
      June 16, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Thanks for the reply Jason – always appreciate comments from such a learned marketer.

      It might sound obvious but I think Pareto rule applies to creating communications. i.e. 80% planning and research and 20% dedicated to the actual creation. But when you look at many examples from professionals, in particular agencies, they appear to create communications with little planning or thought; other than to make their design look ‘different’.

      Also, I’ll reply to your emails regarding the SEO work early next week.

      Carl

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