Are these outdated advertising techniques killing your response?

Posted: July 7, 2016
Written by: Paul Entin
Category: Advertising

Material Handling & Logistics magazine recently posted this gallery of full-page ads from the 1960s. Three key differences from today’s advertising immediately jumped out. First, illustrators actually drew the illustrations by hand. Not that I don’t appreciate the artistic wizardry that I’ve seen performed using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop but an artist with a pencil simply creates a different style and texture than one at a keyboard. 

Secondly, several of the ads assume the reader knows some history and geography, using Roman centurions, Egyptian pyramids and the Leaning Tower of Pisa as central themes in the creative. As a number of studies document, many Americans today know so little about history and geography that they would likely fail to grasp advertising messages like these. From a quick review of a current material handling magazine on my desk, not one ad mentions anything about history or geography, just productivity and cost savings, and there's very little creativity.

Lastly, most of these ads from the 1960s pack their messages into square copy blocks with very small type. To today’s readers, blocks of copy seem like too much work to bother reading. They’re perceived as hard to look at and many readers would quickly turn the page as if the ad never existed. That's why imagery is more important for success than ever and why the impact of professional quality photography and/or illustrations cannot be dismissed.

When developing new advertising creative, it's critical to understand the target audience and present the message in a way that can be instantly grasped, digested and understood. Don't lament that we may be talking to a busier prospect who reads less and is under more pressure to produce than his/her predecessors, just accept it and come up with a brilliant message and powerful imagery that will make today's buyers respond.

Image via Material Handling & Logistics.

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