WOLFBITES - Issue 45

Proof printing advertising is alive and well

Print advertising examples reviewed by the president and creative director of Words at Work, the best Toronto advertising agency in Canada with a copywriter for small business advertising, including web marketing, web advertising, video marketing, social media advertising and small business copywriting.

Remember the picture to the right the next time someone tells you that print advertising is dead. The truth is that print advertising is still a valid media option. What's changed is that it is no longer the "King of the Hill" as it was in the pre-internet days. Back then, there were four main options for a small business owner: Print, TV, radio and outdoor. TV and radio were out for just about everyone because of cost. Outdoor was a little less expensive, but still beyond the reach of most small business owners.

Print worked for just about everyone because the advertiser (or the advertising agency for the advertiser) could pick the ad format that fit the available budget – small format, small price, big format, big price.

More than one advertiser complained about the cost, the long lead times, the lack of tracking data and the inability to micro-target best prospects. So when somebody (Google) came along with a solution that answered all those problems, there was a tsunami-like shift from print advertising to online ads. That trend continues, even though some cracks have formed in the armor of Facebook, among the world's top sellers of online advertising.

Give "junk mail" the respect it deserves

But don't buy the myth that print advertising is a complete waste of money. If that was true, why do you get the same "junk mail" again and again? Is it because the companies paying for that print advertising are stupid and don't care whether it works or not? No, they keep sending it because "junk advertising" works when it follows the well-established basics of direct mail marketing, which I am about to reveal by dissecting the samples, good and bad, in the image that accompanies this article.

Click topics below to reveal content

Land Rover (The Shape Of Things To Come)

Apparently they did not get the memo about the death of print advertising. Their 12-page promotional brochure, complete with a X by X full-color fold out, is high-end in every respect: photography, page design, copywriting, paper stock. This is the product of advertising pros who know what they are doing. The budget was likely six figures – or about the price of two Range Rover Velars, the vehicle promoted in the sales brochure. According to more than one advertising expert, it should not exist. I say Bravo.

Pizza Pizza

Fast food companies like Pizza Pizza know that the people closest to their locations are the most likely to make purchases, so they pound those neighborhoods with direct mail that promotes new products and promotions.

Forestbrook Dental

While most dentists spend little or nothing on advertising, this dental practice is an aggressive advertiser that follows the same "dominate locally" game plan as the fast food companies.

Inside & Out

This magazine-format print piece is put together by an advertising aggregator that sells space to small business owners at a price far below what it would cost to do a custom print ad like the direct mail piece done by Forestbrook Dental. The trade-off for the advertiser is that there is no exclusivity and there is a good chance that one or more competitors are in the same publication.

This can still be an effective option, but only if the writing and design are professional enough to stand out and grab attention. It is also vital to include an offer. No offer, no response.

Renewal by Andersen

To maximize sales, a direct mail print ad must work "at a glance", which is a fancy way of saying the prospect must be able to immediately see what is being offered. This piece fails that test and as a result will produce – less results. The key failing is the nature of the product (windows and doors) is buried where most readers will not find it. Most important, the introductory headline does not mention doors or windows and there is no supporting image of either product. Unforced errors.

Graphic for Toronto copywriter Wolfgang Franke, a Toronto advertising agency executive who also does copywriting for small business owners needing video marketing, social media advertising, web marketing and web advertising.


Wolfgang Franke is President & Creative Director of Words at Work Advertising & Marketing, a full service communications company established in 1988. Our growing list of valued clients are found throughout our local market, Markham and the Greater Toronto area, across Canada in cities such as London, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, and an expanding list of international locations ranging from The Big Apple in New York to Kanturk, Ireland.




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