Why Bad Ads Happen To Good Causes
Describes seven “Print Ad Principles” that are intended to help nonprofits compete more effectively, based on a 10-year study of public interest advertising and including interviews with leading practitioners.
1. Capture the reader’s attention like a stop sign and direct it like a road map.
- Keep it simple.
- Have an unmistakable focal point.
- Provide a clear “path” for the eye to follow from one element to another.
2. Make an emotional connection before attempting to convey information.
- Minds tend to follow hearts, so make sure you reach their hearts first.
- Facts fly by. Stories stick.
3. Write headlines that offer a reason to read more.
- State a benefit, arouse interest, or break news.
- Keep it short (but if you need more words to be genuinely intriguing, don’t be afraid to use them).
- Know how your headline plays off your illustration.
4. Use pictures to attract and convince.
- Color pulls, black & white explains, and monochromatic does neither.
- Seeing is still believing.
- Avoid placing text over photos (but consider placing captions below them). […]
5. If you want people to read your text, make it readable.
- Legibility is priority #1.
- Layout of text can also enhance readability.
- In general, shorter is sweeter, but if it doesn’t tell the whole story…
6. Test before, measure after.
- Test an ad’s effectiveness before publication.
- Pre-testing ads with a publication’s gatekeepers can increase your chances of securing donated space.Measure response after publication.
7. When everyone zigs, it’s time to zag.