Print Ad Layout Ideas: Insert Captions For Selling Below Every Image in Your Ad

May 27, 2010

Sales and Marketing studies have shown that the majority of people will first read the headline, followed by an image (or illustration), then the caption, then the body copy.

That’s why you should always insert a caption under every photo or picture you include in your sales product flyer or business brochure.

It has also been proven that captions which pull in the highest number of sales are ones that make a strong selling point. For example, let’s imagine you’re advertising a particular brand of facial cleanser. If your product helps consumers effectively remove blackheads and achieve better-looking skin faster than other brands, you could have a photo of an attractive model who has radiant complexion and include a before-and-after comparison of the amount of blackheads on the model’s nose.

To complete the photo, you might include an italicized caption in your sales ad that reads, “The ABC marvel gel helps you remove blackheads fast and achieve noticeably brighter skin after just 1 wash!” I personally recommend you to put your sales caption in italics because it makes it stand out from the rest of the copy around it.

In a nutshell, always remember to make your caption highlight the main selling benefit you’re trying to get across!

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Best Performing Ad Layouts: Vertical Ads

April 26, 2010

Did you know that “tall and skinny” vertical ads pull better response than horizontal ones?

There’s a reason for this and that’s because newspapers normally publish their articles in a vertical format. Readers who have become used to this format will be naturally attracted to ads that are oriented vertically.

Therefore, when you design your ad, always ensure that it is twice as high as it is wide. If you plan to run the ad in the papers, specifically request for this. Newspaper space is measured in column centimeters, which is the space that is 1 column wide (across) and 1 centimeter long (top to bottom). So if you plan to run an ad that’s 2 columns wide, the height should be least 5 centimeters. For an ad that is 3 columns wide, its height should ideally be 7 centimeters.


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Goal Setting Tips for Creative Advertising #1: Goal Setting Examples

March 23, 2010

So you’ve meticulously done your research by carefully looking into the demographics, statistics, and successfully identified your target group or groups. You’ve even engaged your product extensively, establishing its unique selling points and figuring out the most desirable approach to market it.

So what comes next?

How do we tie it all together and end up with a killer ad campaign that rakes in millions of dollars?

The answer is clear: You need to formulate a goal, which means that all the ideas you’ve brainstormed up to this stage have to be condensed into a single-minded proposition that can be easily understood by your target audience within a few seconds. A clearly formulated goal prevents time-wasting discussions (may I mention meeting marathons that could potentially stretch up to 20 hours with minimal breaks in between?) and ensures that everyone on your team works towards the same marketing objective and communicates a clear message at the end of the day.

In my line of work, goals are asked in the form of a question that focuses on a single-minded proposition – there are no “ands”. Here are just some of the questions I often ask myself over different project scenarios that have inspired me to create the best results in my work.

Advertising a product or service through a specific medium

How could a viral online campaign demonstrate that my product is able to make a positive difference in the lives of people through self-improvement?

Advertising a product or service through visual campaigns

How could a graphic spotlight the benefits of my product as a life-changing tool that improves lives around the globe?

Advertising a product or service by highlighting a specific benefit

How could a series of email teasers show that the company I work for is the fastest growing technology firm in Asia?

Notice that in all of my goals, the proposition is always concise, single-minded, and formulated in a way that even ordinary people can understand.

In the next of my “goal-setting” series, I’ll show you how to formulate a goal that will help you create overwhelmingly positive results in your advertising campaign. Click here to read the article.


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Proofreading Technique #2 – Have Someone Read Your Copy Out Loud to You

January 20, 2010

So you’re done with your copy. But how do you find out if it’s easy to read?

The solution is to ask a friend to read it out loud to you. In doing so, it draws you out of the plot and any errors that you might have missed initially will immediately sound more obvious to you.

When your friend reads over your copy, pay close attention. Listen to them and watch their facial expressions. Do they stumble over a few words and find themselves re-reading a phrase or two ? Do they frown in confusion over some portions of your copy? If the answer’s yes, then you’ll have to re-write and correct the problem areas in your copy.

If your friends are too busy to help you, try reading aloud to yourself. While this gives you a different perspective of what you’ve written, chances are you would have already known how some words are to be read. And this wouldn’t be as effective as listening to your own work being read by another person. Then again, it’s your second best choice!


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Want to be Interesting? Tell Stories!

January 13, 2010

People love reading stories.

That’s why newspapers and tabloid magazines sell.

Likewise in copywriting and advertising, the best way to enthrall readers is to weave stories into your product or idea.

Look all around you. What are some of the everyday situations inspired by your own life could you develop around your product to show its benefits? What personal story could you share to make someone smile, laugh or cry? What story would show the strength of a product in an impactful or provocative way?

As you think over these questions, recall the TV commercials that touched your life in some way. What were the similar qualities of those ads that made you respond in a particular way?

One of my favorite TV ads: “Funeral” by legendary TV producer Yasmin Ahmad

In this touching ad, the central theme of  family togetherness is presented in dramatic style that many of us can relate to. The idea of  preserving the memory of a loved one is very much real and could happen or has happened in our own lives. As a result, we are moved by familiar emotions and could either smile or cry.

As you plan your next advertisement campaign, think about which of these styles of drama would be best for presenting your idea in a daily situation or story:

  • Action/Adventure
  • Broadway/Theater
  • Comedy
  • Costume
  • Chatshow
  • Documentary
  • Horror/Thriller/Mystery
  • Love Story
  • Sad Story
  • Soap Opera
  • News

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Creative Thinking Technique #2: Ask the “What-If” Question

January 11, 2010

A great way to get your creative juices flowing is to ask “What-If” questions of your own and discover where your imagination takes you. Chunk down to the details of your visualizations and see what happens in different scenarios. For example, what if…

  • Your household carpet suddenly came to life and could take you anywhere you wanted? What does it feel like to travel everywhere for free? Would you take a loved one with you? And if you do, what does it feel like to soar in the air over a magnificent cityscape on a magic carpet ride…like Aladdin? What marvellous sights can you see? What incredible sounds can you hear?
  • You were given the ability to read the minds of people around you? What does feel like to wield such amazing supernatural power? What words would you say to the person whom you suspect to be backstabbing you in the office or to the confidence trickster who roams the streets below your home?
  • You stepped into your office one morning, and everybody became an animal befitting of each person’s personality? How would you react? What would you do if your boss, who suddenly became a snake, slittered his way to your feet?

Take a moment to try out this exercise.  And if you do it often, the faster and more likely you’ll be able to invent creative new ideas. Have fun!


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Creative Thinking Technique #1: Combine 2 Things Together to Create Something New

January 9, 2010

In my “Creative Thinking” series of articles, you’ll learn a set of fun exercises that can help improve your imagination and turn your visualizations into innovative ideas you can use in your ads or marketing campaigns.

A huge part of creative thinking is joining 2 previously separate ideas and creating something entirely new and unique.  Back in the 1950’s, who would have thought that somebody would combine the idea of using a paper cup with the popularity of eating noodles and came up with the world’s first instant cup noodle?  Today, cup noodles are sold all over the world and have even become a staple food in many households.

In the same way,  look for interesting everyday objects  and try combining their functions, features and forms so that something new results. The key thing is not be limited by your imagination! Try and see and you’ll be surprised by the creative, unique ideas that you come up with. As a start, try the following exercises for example:

What happens when you combine…

  • A watch and a phone?
  • A chair and a fruit, like a watermelon?
  • A clock and the wheel of a car?
  • A pen and a torch light?
  • A shoe and a pogo stick?

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