The Only Bad Advertising Is No Advertising - Or Is It?

 

Depending on whom you ask, you will get told many "truths" about advertising. The question I have for you today is this - "Is the only bad advertising, no advertising?"

Before we begin, it might help us to agree on what advertising is, so here's one definition:

"Advertising is the non-personal communication of an individual's paid persuasive information regarding products, and or services via various media."

In other words, someone is trying to "sell" us on something - be it a product, or a service, or just picking up the phone. Advertising is all about getting people to do something - well, for the majority of us, it should be.

So, if advertising is about selling stuff, then perhaps we can answer our question now: "Is the only bad advertising, no advertising?" Of course not! You could create a really bad advert that did a terrible job of selling? and that would easily be a bad advert.

"Repetition, repetition, repetition!"

Is the battle cry of the ardent advertiser. "You must have repetition to have an impact." Do you believe this? A healthy dose of scepticism is always handy at a time like this. But before you start patting yourself on the back thinking that you're right I think you might want to hear this.

Repeating an advert works. Studies have shown conclusively that a 'sale' regularly occurs between the fifth and eighth exposure to a sales message (sure it can happen sooner, the point is that one-hit-wonders are rare). So repeating an advert works - BUT? and this is quite an important "but"? the advert must be having an effect (or working) for the repetition to be meaningful.

Flogging a Dead Horse

Permit me to explain. If your advert tanked on the first run you may have a bad advert on your hands. You will need to think carefully about what you do next. Experience tells us that this might be a fluke or a freak of circumstances so it warrants at least another run - may be two.

However, if the advert is not performing at all well after a couple of exposures to your market place, exposing that advert continuously will NOT (I repeat NOT) improve it. In this instance, repetition is quite simply a waste of time and money.

However, if your advert worked well then keep running the advert. For how long you might ask? The answer to that is actually very easy. Keep running performing adverts until the numbers tell you to stop. That's right, let the sales numbers tell you when that advert needs a rest.

Great Adverts Need A Vacation Too

Size Does Matter!

So how big should your advert be? That's easy, it should be 'dominant'. After all, your advert is trying to do its first job - CATCH ATTENTION! This is easier to achieve with a larger advert. All things being equal on the page, the bigger ads get more 'eye time' than the smaller adverts. As with all things though, there are exceptions to the rules and a small advert developed properly will outperform a big advert that is poorly designed.

There are other advertising 'secrets' we copywriters have learned that help us gain the edge when writing adverts. For instance we know whether colour makes a difference and when to use it, we know which single colour out performs all other colours and why, and we know which fonts (yes fonts) make a difference to an advert? but sadly I'm out of space again so we'll have to save those tidbits for another time.

 



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