How Do You Know In Advance If Your Ad Is Worth Running?

7K0A0021I know half my advertising is wasted – I just don’t know which half.

Quote attributed to: John Wanamaker




I make a habit of reviewing reader interest in the blog posts I publish on my Strengthening Brand America website. Four of the most popular deal with the subject of what a good advertisement looks like.

The #1 most frequently read post describes a set of criteria I have used in my career to evaluate whether an advertising concept has a right to be successful if taken to a finished advertisement. In the post I describe 7 key characteristics of a great ad that you can use when evaluating concepts from your Agency. In my experience, rejecting concepts that do not meet these criteria will help ensure you don’t waste your money.

The #2 most frequently read post on this subject deals with ethics in advertising and promotion. I wrote this post because I was frustrated with state promotional campaigns that denigrate other states competing for capital investment. It is a piece that argues we need to be ethical in our approach and factual in making superiority claims. Given the upcoming Presidential election, it is a post I wish all candidates would read and take under strong advisement. I describe 14 things you should not do in advertising. If you are an Executive Director or on the Board of an EDO. this post is a must read to ensure your community’s advertising is ethical. Frankly, I am encouraged this post is read as frequently as it is.

The #3 most frequently read post deals with the question – “Is Advertising a Waste of Money?”. I wrote it in response to the real challenge of promotional budget cuts. The post provides 8 tips for helping to ensure the advertising you invest behind is not a waste of your limited funds.

The #4 most frequently read post on the subject shares 10 questions you can ask to determine if your advertisement has a prayer of being successful. I used to ask them of my Agency and require them to be answered in every concept pitch they made to me. At a minimum, it sharpened their game and reduced the number of truly terrible ad concepts I had to review.

If you are faced with evaluating your community’s current campaign or for developing a new one, the above blog posts may be helpful. The information shared is based on personal learnings from my 33-year career at Procter & Gamble. I freely share my expertise on the hope that better community branding will ultimately lead to a more competitive Brand America.

I totally appreciate this post is a curation and that you are directed to other posts I authored to get usable information.  But, if you make the effort to read any of the posts, I believe you will find it worth your time.

I also appreciate that many of my Agency friends will point out that some of the best ads are those that broke all the rules (e.g. the classic VW bug ad).  I acknowledge that it true.  I also acknowledge it is a low probability outcome like hitting the lottery and when you have a limited budget or are using other people’s money it is important to know you are gambling and the odds are stacked against you.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but you may find something valuable in my experience.

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