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Small Ads Work If They’re Good
This article by Teena Chandy was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 12, 1999. All rights reserved.
When budgets are very small and must be cautiously spent,"
Ken Eichenbaum writes in his new book "How to Create Small-Space
Advertising That Works," "small-space newspaper may become
the only advertising strategy. Yet because of the nature of the medium,
its pitfalls and prerequisites, it is a medium that must utilize every
available tool in graphics, copywriting, placement, and planning to
insure its optimum success."
"Luck is on our side," Eichenbaum continues. "The newspapers
are filled with small-space ads that wallow in abject mediocrity.
They are written and drawn by the uninspired. In this dull environment,
anything that’s good becomes great."
Eichenbaum is co-founder and past president and chairman of ADS Inc.,
a multi-million dollar agency. He is also a senior partner in UNICOM,
a firm that specializes in corporate identity and communication. The
154-page advertising guide for agencies, advertisers, and publishers
includes 95 pages of small-space ads from advertisers all over the
country. Cost: $34.50, plus $2.50 shipping and handling, from Litterati
Publishing, 9470 North Broadmoor Road, Milwaukee, WI 53217.
"In small space newspaper advertising, the odds are stacked heavily
against the advertiser," writes Eichenbaum. "Even if the space
rates for your paper are comparatively low, the opportunity for a
profitable outcome is risky unless you take special steps to improve
Space is a function of money, he continues. "The objective for
the advertiser, then, is to manipulate those universal elements that
contribute to the success of small space ads in such a way that they
combine to yield optimum value and, in the process, alter and improve
the sales formula in your favor."
Typically, the small-space ad appears in a sea of clutter, says Eichenbaum.
Other small space ads, larger ads, editorial copy and headlines, photographs,
and other material vie for the reader’s attention. "The challenge
is to create an easily discernible island of information amid this
sea of clutter," says Eichenbaum. "To write and design a small-space
ad that is different, stands out, and yet is thoroughly understandable,
provocative, and compelling."
Besides good graphics and good copy Eichenbaum points out some other
factors that can be used to tip the odds in the advertiser’s favor:
the greatest potential result on investment based on valid readership
size yielding a 12 percent readership rate to a quarter page might
generate as much as a 21 percent more readership.
a specific time limit or a quantitative limit (to the first 100 customers)
on it. The reader will then more closely examine the copy so as not
to lose out on an offer that has such obvious restrictions.
45 percent readership for one-color ads and 75 percent for full color
28 coupon ads were scored, in all categories and in all editorial
contexts, coupon ads fared better than the others.
well known in the community or a celebrity can improve readership
or at least heighten recognition. Though research has indicated that
most readers are sophisticated enough to know this sort of endorsement
is paid for, their association with your enterprise can be valuable
as a mnemonic aid in recognition.
ways to translate facts and figures into novel and spirited ideas,
writes Eichenbaum, for "ideas that transform lookers into readers,
and readers into customers. In the entire world of commerce, there
are few initiatives that can inspire more self satisfaction."
— Teena Chandy
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