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A Thing

Launching an Effective Ad Campaign

This is the first in a series of articles intended to give designers and marketing teams a fresh perspective on producing advertising and collateral materials.

Printed advertisements have been around for thousands of years. Well before Gutenberg's press, posters and drawings were made by hand to influence the villagers. Granted, the earlier forms of display ads often were designed to either capture someone or convert them.

Consumers are bombarded with countless products and catch phrases, and it's safe to assume that 90% of them go in one eye and out the other. However, the well planned and designed ad will stick in their minds.

Unlike television and radio ads, a printed ad needs a visual hook and a certain something that makes people talk about it or absorb the message. One of the more important aspects of developing an ad campaign or a corporate image is consistency. Ads in a series are far more memorable than a scattershot of random concepts.

Brainstorm what makes your company or products/services unique or at least specifically memorable to the reader. Keep in mind that making false claims or inflating your company is a very bad idea - lawsuits and ruined reputations are real bummers. Ultimately, a successful campaign elicits a positive response and keeps your customers wondering what you will do next.

When you pick up a magazine, the best ads communicate directly to the audience they are targeting, and there is an underlying theme to each ad campaign. A key part in the process of developing an effective ad is researching the publication(s). It will give you a feel for what works, what the general tone is of the other ads and how your ad can fit in.

Equally important for fitting into your surroundings is an effective message and design for your ad. It is admirable to stand out and make a splash, but this also can work against you if the ad is offensive or tacky. Craft your image so that your company will make a great impression in a three- to five-second window of opportunity. If the reader doesn't stop and notice your ad, you've missed your chance.

Next: beginning the ad-design process.

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