10 Questions to Ask About Your Advertisement

Ed Burghard

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the problem is I don’t know which half.”

– Lord Leverhulme




  1. Is the advertisement focused on communicating your community’s promise?
  2. Does the advertisement make you want to learn more?
  3. Do you feel rewarded for having invested the time to read the advertisement?
  4. Is the advertisement distinctive so you’ll stop to read it?
  5. Does the idea focus on the benefit of your community’s promise?
  6. Is the advertising idea meaningful to your target audience?
  7. Does the advertisement make you think AND make you feel something?
  8. Is there drama in the advertisement that brings the benefit to life?
  9. Does the advertisement visualize the benefit?
  10. Does the advertisement include an authentic reason to believe the benefit will be experienced?

Here are some additional information resources on creating great advertising for your community:

Why do print advertisements fail?

Multiple posts on the topic of how to promote communities for capital investment.


Let’s take a look at some actual ads to determine the general quality of advertising in the economic development industry. I’ll present the headline, main claim and tagline statement for each. Whenever the location name is used, I will replace it with [Location X] in an attempt to protect the identity of the location. You evaluate the information from each case against the above criteria as best as you can (I recognize some of the 10 criteria will be impossible to evaluate without a visual). Then, you provide a comment on your overall assessment of the “quality of advertising” in economic development.


Headline – The horsepower in [Location X] is as strong as ever.

Main Claim – We off some of the nation’s lowest industrial electricity costs, a competitive tax structure, and an ideal location within 600 miles of two-thirds of America’s population.

Tagline – Unbridled Spirit


Headline – Life. Less Taxing.

Main Claim – Best taxes under the sun.

Tagline – Life. Less Taxing.


Headline – In [Location X], You’re One Tank of Gas From 1/3 of the US Population.

Main Claim – Complete transportation network with major highway, air, rail and waterway systems that offer access to 42% of the US population within a 550-mile radius.

Tagline – A Natural for Business


Headline – Momentum.

Main Claim – Despite the economic downturn, [Location X] has it all.

Tagline – Where Business Grows


Headline – The Strongest Bond in Biotechnology.

Main Claim – [Location X] continues to rank among the top [locations] for biotechnology.

Tagline – Wide Open For Business


Headline – When it Comes to Breakthroughs, We’re All Business.

Main Claim – World leader in biotech research with more than 400 companies and the highest concentration of PhDs.

Tagline – Land of Opportunity


Headline – We Have What You Need, [Location X] Everything …

Main Claim – Businesses across all industry sectors find what the need to grow and prosper in [Location X].

Tagline – None


Headline – His grandparents saw the first rocket. His parents saw the first space shuttle. What will he see first?

Main Claim – Pro-business government, central geographic location, world class workforce, nine of [Location X]’s largest communities ranked at the best place to do business.

Tagline – Life Changing

Your Opinion?

Which of the 8 cases does the best job of meeting the criteria of a good advertisement? Based on these 8 cases (recognizing that is not the sum total of advertisements run by economic development organizations), what is your overall assessment of the “quality of advertising”? What examples come to your mind when you think about great advertisements in economic development? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

What Is Your State’s Ranking?

The NEW 2013 American Dream State Ranking Report is available for downloading.  It’s a freebie 🙂

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