Secrets of Successful Ads
By Selena McIntyre
Throughout my life, I've seen billions of ads. Several of these ads are good, and several
are bad. Since advertising is expensive, it is important for us learn how to produce successful ads so we
don't waste any money on bad advertisements. This article will show you the secrets of producing successful
Secret #1 - Simplicity
This is a very powerful yet most overlooked rule of design. The truth is that a clean,
crisp, non-cluttered ad will outperform a clutter, hard to read ad.
The main purpose of an ad is to get people to purchase your product or service. The next
objective of an ad is make people want to learn more about your product or service.
Secret #2 - Focus on a Benefit
Benefits sell, features do not!
People want to know what's in it for them. They would rather know how your product can help
them (benefits) instead of what your product can do (features.)
For example, let's say you are a real estate agent and your company has just won the best
real estate award possible. I know you're proud of the award and you should be, but please don't make the
award a big part of your ads. People that are buying or selling property would rather know that your agency
will list their property on-line for convince and to time-savings.
Secret #3 - Appeal to your target market
Don’t try to make your ad appeal to everyone. Design your layout so it will appeal to your
target market. Your ad response rate will be greater this way.
Remember each of us is in a different stages of life, and we all want different things.
Once you find out what stage of life your target market is in, then you can make your ads reflect their
Secret #4 - Emotional Appeal
Design your ads in a way that will show consumers how your product or service will make
them feel. This is a very effective marketing technique because ads us subliminal messages that will make us
feel a certain way about your product or service.
Kay's Jewelers ads are a good example of this technique. These ads always show happy people
that exchange jewelry, hugs and kisses. When we view or hear these ads, we feel warm, loving, and happy.
After seeing these ads several times, we start to associate warm, loving and happy feelings towards Kay
Secret #5 - Eye Catching & Unique
Ever since I was little, I was always told to "color inside of the lines" and "you have to
color apples red instead of blue." When I colored things the same way every else did, my work got lost in the
crowd because it looked the same as everyone else's.
In advertising the rules have changed. It's ok to be different; in fact it's great to
"think outside of the box." Some of the best advertisements are so effective because they are completely
different from all the other ads.
Decide what is the single most important part of your ad. Then find a way to make it stand
out more than anything else. Arrange the ad so the human eye will see the most important item first, then the
second most important item, and so on.
Secret #6 - Colors
According to psychology.about.com, "Psychologists have suggested that color impression can
account for 60% of the acceptance or rejection of that product or service." The human eye is attracted to the
colors red and yellow before any other color. Yellow backgrounds with black text is the most effective color
Each color has different meanings to different cultures. For advertising purposes, it is
extremely important to design your ads in a way that appeals to your target market. Try to choose colors that
will compliment the message you are sending to your consumers.
Secret #7 - Copy
Use as little words as possible. Try to use words that catch attention like powerful,
amazing, shocking, and revealing.
Be sure the copy you use will be legible for your audience. Use fonts that are clear, easy
to read and big enough for each particular ad.
Also be sure your ads have a smooth flow. Viewers may get confused if your ads constantly
jump from one topic to another.
Secret #8 - Creditability
An ad will not be effective if no one believes it. You can have the most creative,
colorful, and eye-catching ad, but if people read your ad and say "Yeah, Right," than your ad will not be
profitable. For example, an ad that says "Earn $100,000 a week with XYZ product" will not be as believable as
an ad that says "Increase your sales by 20% with XYZ product."
Secret #9 - Problems Sell
People always want help with things and are always looking for easier ways to do things.
Make your ads help them and solve a certain problem your consumers have.
Try to start your ads with a question that allows your product to be the answer. Here are a
common few examples:
· "Is your cold keeping you up all night?"
· "Are you tired watching your weight?"
· "Do you want to be your own boss?"
· "Is your cellular phone bill as low as possible?"
· "Are you unhappy with your current internet service?"
Secret #10 - Call to Action
Don't forget to tell people what you want them to do after they see your ad. Don't be
afraid to come right out and say "Order Now," "Call Today!" or "Visit our web-site at
Secret #11 - Advertiser Recognition
Don't forget to put your name and / or logo on all your ads. Make sure they are big enough
to be seen. There's nothing worse than seeing a great ad and wondering who the advertiser
Secret #12 - Tie it all together
Make sure your graphics, words, slogans, and so on make sense when used together. If your
viewers have to ask what your ad has to do with your product than it won't be
Secret #13 - Memorable
Successful ads make a lasting impression on everyone. Give your ads something special and
unique that will help make your ads memorable.
Good examples of this are: The AFLAC duck, the "Whats up?" telephone commercials, Wendy's
"Where's the beef?" from the 80's, and Verizon's "Can you hear me now?"
Secret #14 - Repetition
Your ads will look more professional if you use the same fonts and colors as often as
The average person must see an ad 7 times before they remember it. Once you've found an ad
that produces results, use it everywhere and as often as possible. This will brand your ad into consumers’
Selena McIntyre has been a Creative Designer for BPS Outdoor Media since
1999. She has a Marketing Degree and several years of customer service experience. Selena has studied art most of her life and continues to do so
now. She designs most of BPS’s billboards and has written several articles about the outdoor advertising
industry. To see some of her work please visit http://www.bpsoutdoor.com/blog/
This article is provided as a courtesy from www.OutdoorBillboard.com
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