Less is more when it comes to advertising

I recently picked up a free ‘lifestyle’ magazine, and flicking through it, 3 adverts caught my eye. They were all nice and clean, with plenty of white space, nicely laid out and fairly simple.


Closer inspection though made for interesting reading. Bearing in mind you’ve only got a few seconds to catch the eye of your potential customer, one of them failed as the message was confusing. Another got it just right. So here’s my assessment of what they did well, and what could have been better …

Bronze medal – Van Buddies/Liefestyle4homes

  • Attractive ad with appealing visual
  • Full contact details at the bottom – reassuring
  • Confusing title and image – Van buddies and a picture of a camper van made me think of camper van rental. I thought they hired camper vans for holidays
  • Confusing names – Van Buddies? Lifestyle 4 Homes? They’re actually offering a ‘man with a van’ service
  • Started with boring ‘about us’ text and their credentials – this should have gone at the bottom
  • Too many bullet points
  • Trying to appeal to too many people with too many services

Silver medal – Merry Maids

  • Good heading immediately explains the benefit ‘come home to a job well done’
  • Nice image illustrating the service – no room for doubt, it’s obvious what they do
  • Simple and clear bullet points
  • Clear call to action

Gold medal – Smartwash

  • Very clear heading appealing to anyone who hates ironing!
  • Amusing but relevant image
  • Minimal text but gets the message across loud and clear
  • Contact details and open 7 days a week is useful info  (could have included times for even better information, but if this was confusing or irregular, better to keep the ad clean)

In summary

Keep in mind who you are talking to. Decide on a very defined target audience and make the message relevant to them. If you have several target audiences, run several adverts in relevant publications. Don’t try and cram it all into one.
Keep the message as simple as possible. Don’t add too much detail.
Make it easy for people to contact you or find out more. Provide contact details, tell them what to do next.

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