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Panpa Bulletin : May 2006
32 | PaNPa bULLETIN May 2006 PaNPa aD FORUM There is also increasing pres- sure to be more account- able, as new media is pro- viding higher levels of targeting, measurability and cost efficien- cies. These dynamics are creat- ing both challenges and oppor- tunities for the printed media. In many cases, getting back to fun- damentals may be the answer. Close to twenty years ago, the newspaper industry had a representative body called the Newspaper Advertising Bureau of Australia (a concept now be- ing revisited). The NABA, led by Reg Mowat, worked hard at edu- cating the industry - particularly advertising salespeople - about creating effective advertising. The NABA produced a summary of Colin Wheildon's book, Com- municating or Just Making Pretty Shapes and Jim Alexander's short piece All Good Selling is Serv- ing: How to Create and Evaluate Advertising That Sells. Both were excellent summaries of advertis- ing knowledge. Wheildon's book was based on four years' research in Sydney from 1983. The book includes a strong introduction by David Ogilvy and the content is supported by a number of very credible people. Alexander's sug- gestions had been tested and re- searched over 60 years or more and the principles are still highly relevant today. The drive for the industry to produce better advertising was to win more business. If the adver- tising worked, advertisers would spend more money. My own ex- perience selling advertising at the time proved this. There was more to it than just making the ads work though. Drawing on direct marketing results an average ad- vertisement could reach the 2 per cent of hot prospects in the mar- ket and of those, only 2 per cent would buy. But a really effective advertisement would also reach the 8 per cent of warm prospects, taking the total prospects reached to 10 per cent. Simple mathemat- ics shows that an effective ad- vertisement can achieve up to 5 times the results of a poor adver- tisement. This of course makes the ad much more valuable and improves the return an advertiser is getting for their investment. The creation of an advertise- ment goes through three stages in a newspaper. The first is the diagnosis or brief created when a representative talks with the advertiser. The second is the con- struction of the message, or the copy of the advertisement and the third is the design. If the ad falls down at any stage it will fail and the newspaper will often get the blame. At the first stage, our people should be trained in the crea- tion of effective advertising so they provide correct advice; in the second stage someone needs to write the copy. Few newspa- pers do this well, the salesperson quickly scribbles some notes and off it goes to the artist. Then the artist puts the advertisement to- gether. Many of our advertisements get to hot prospects because they manage to show an interest of the prospects either in the headline or in a picture. The headline 'ward- robes' for instance or the clas- sic before and after weight loss shots get over the line because a hot prospect will work hard to get the information they need. While these advertisements generate a minimum level of interest, it worth thinking about the fact that if they worked better (generated more business) the advertiser can justify a larger advertisement and reach even more people or run with more frequency. It's a fact though that most ad- vertisements have less than three seconds to get the advertisers at- tention, so when the advertise- ment fails to communicate in- stantly, it dramatically cuts down its effectiveness. If the image does not support the message or the product being sold or the head- line is off the mark, the ad will probably result in a donation to the publication concerned, not in profits for the advertiser. A larger issue is the chance of getting re- peat business from the adver- tiser diminishes substantially. A speaker at the PANPA advertising forum in April this year suggested to me that not all the ads in the paper are bad. That's reassuring but I'm not sure if I would be hap- pywithoneofthebadadsifIwas an advertiser. In March, I was asked to judge the newspaper industries adver- tising awards. I was able to com- pare the types of advertisements being made with the same field of entries as little as five years ago. There was a noticeable dif- ference in the layout of the adver- tisements. The advertisements had a heavy emphasis on design and design elements, often to the detriment of the messages they were trying to communi- cate. The changes are largely due to the movement away from the production flow that moved from advertising to typesetters. Ad- vertising provided simple layout instructions and the typesetters set them. Before that, the design boundaries were set by the la- bour intensive process of using wooden blocks to set type. Today we have designers em- ployed to set advertisements. The designers have an immense range of design tools to work with and have become the new production department. They have a huge desire to tweak ad- vertisements and demonstrate their design skills but at the same time they are locked in to the high volume production of adver- tisements. The results are often clever design that cuts down the comprehension of the advertise- ment considerably. There are many opinions about advertising but it would be wiser to revisit some of the proven advertising methods and apply them to today's advertising design. In particular, the results of Colin Wheildon's research on advertising design provides some outstanding clues for young de- signers to help them make sure their advertising is communicat- ing and not just making pretty shapes. rohan Gosstray is a regular judge of the PanPa advertising and Marketing awards, and an early starter in the integration of internet and newspaper publishing culture. email@example.com. Creating effective advertising – new challenges, old solutions . there have been substantial changes in the way our newspapers are producing advertising. Sometimes it’s wise to revisit proven methods, says Rohan Gosstray