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Agrimarketing : May 2008
May 2008 ¦ AgriMarketing 55 T he founding of Readex Research has its roots in the advertising agency business. Bob Pendergast , the President of a St. Paul, MN, agency, was asked by his client, back in the mid-1940s, the truly age-old question: “What’s our advertising doing for us?” He developed a system by mail for researching reader interest in the ads his agency designed and placed in agricultural magazines. Two years after perfecting his research method he launched Readex, in October 1947. You might be wondering what this short story has to do with an article about designing ads. Well, everything really, because over time Pendergast’s work gave the people in our firm the opportunity to study what seems to work best in print advertising. What we’re talking about is cre- ating effective advertising. And by “effective” we mean maximizing the chance for your ad to be seen, read, and strike readers with a message that stimulates their curiosity and interest. Over the years we have observed eight important characteristics of ads that we would consider effective. Empirically speaking, it’s difficult to know which of these eight is more, or most, important because all eight work in harmony. So, we’ll let you decide which one dimension, if any, might rise to the top. • “Present one central selling proposition.” The design of any ad should be supported by a clear statement of objectives. It’s diffi- cult to know the overall percentage of creative sessions that begin with this kind of discussion, however it’s clear that having objectives should lead to a focused central message. Keep your copy concise, and avoid extraneous ideas that do nothing but dilute your main thought. • Support the central proposition with all elements of the ad. A headline and illustration that rein- force each other help establish the central proposition and enable readers to determine quickly what is being advertised. Don’t make them work hard or go through gymnastics to figure out what you are trying to communicate. Imag- ine an ad for a product or service that is meaningful for you. Now imagine that the ad asks you to try to figure out central idea by weav- ing your way through a creative gimmick. Well, the majority of readers won’t give you that much time. Be focused and use all the ad’s elements to support that focus. • Illustrate the product in use. If you have a piece of machinery to advertise, showing your product in use may be relatively easy. If advertising a service, it might not be as easy, but try to figure out a way to show the service being delivered. The key here is to draw FOCUS ON: MARKET RESEARCH RESEARCH ON CREATING EFFECTIVE ADS by Jack Semler, Presiden/CEO, Readex Reseach 10 20 30 40 50 60 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 53% 51% 58% 51% 53% 54% 53% 13% 14% 18% 13% 17% 15% 13% Six ads were run in seven different issue of their respective publications. On average, the same percentage of readers remembered seeing (53%) and reading (13%) of the ads the seventh time they were run as they did with their first placement. These averages illustrate that readers can consistently engage with an ad as it is repeated. Successful as often remain successful, and ineffective ads aren’t likely to be become successful in subsequent placements. The data was taken from ads measured in Readex Research Red Sticker Studies in which readers were asked if they remembered seeing and reading an item. (more on page 56) SIX ADS APPEARING SEVEN TIMES Table 1 ¦ Ads viewed ¦ Ads read
May 2008 Supplement
Canadian Agribusiness Employer Guide 08