I have guest posted over at Web Marketing Today for a while now, but the Website itself has recently undergone a redesign as well as a slight editorial change with regards to my posts. While the focus on Web Marketing for small to medium-sized businesses remains the same, my posts are now focused on:
- Website Improvement for Service-Based Businesses
- Content Marketing for Service-Based Businesses
I’m excited about this because SMB Service Providers are a largely underserved market when it comes to Web Marketing. Most examples focus on either etailers or enterprise-sized B2B service providers.
Yet, a majority of what my Wizard Partners call “Main Street Businesses” are either service providers (think HVAC, carpeting, contractors, printers, advertisers, Web designers, accountants, consultants etc.) or are retailers who manage to stay profitable and, frankly, relevant to the customer based on their ability to provide services around the sale (most niche or specialty stores & boutiques). So this is an extremely important market to serve and speak to, and I feel uniquely privileged to be able to do so.
If you’re interested in this kind of content, you can find all my Web Marketing Today posts here. A recent one that I think many of you would like is this post on 5 Sales-Generating Photos for Service Websites.
At any rate, I hope you like what you find, and please let me know if there is anything that you’d like me to cover in future articles.
Did you know that there are 12 kinds of Ads?
Granted, this model is geared towards TV ads, but, yes, according to Donald Gunn, a former creative director at the legendary Leo Burnett agency, there are only 12 kinds of ads.
I’m not going to go into them here, since you can read all about Gunn’s categories over at LifeIsMarketing.com, but I am going to give you an alternate framework for thinking about ads.
So what’s the framework?
It’s the same Framework that’s been made famous — or, at least more famous — by its mention by the Heath Brothers in the opening chapters of their justly famous book, Made to Stick, wherein they mention an Israeli research paper, “The Fundamental Templates of Quality Ads.” According to the published research, 89% of award winning ads could be classified into 6 basic templates.
More importantly, providing amateurs with just 2 hours of training on the use of these templates boosted their abilities to produce ads that positively affected audience perception of the advertised products by 55%
And now I’m going to break those templates down for you
Just keep in mind that, again, these templates were discovered while researching award winning ads, not necessarily sales increasing and market-share winning ads. But for what it’s worth, here are the templates, complete with handy-dandy examples:
Template 1: Pictorial Analogy
In technical terms, this type of ad creates a dramatic situation and then makes a substitution between the product and another item with symbolic significance in order to illustrate the value or worth of the product. The idea is to create an unexpected or surprising explanation of the value of the product through visual metaphor.
If that’s hard to follow, just look at the nike example to the right.
In the ad you are introduced into a dramatic situation of having to jump from a burning building only to find that the firefighters’ safety net/trampoline — an item with huge symbolic value — has been swapped for a nike air shoe.
This pictorial analogy creatively illustrates the protective and cushioning function of Nike Air technology and is reinforced by the ad copy which calls the air technology, “Something soft between you and the pavement.”
Template 2: Extreme Situation
This may seem similar to the pictorial analogy, but it’s different because it requires no use of symbolism or analogy — it’s more straightforward in it’s extremity. The cleve outdoor ad for the superglue isn’t trying to make a visual pun, it’s just showing the glue used in an exaggerated extreme.
The same can be said for this ad for WMF knives:
Template 3: Extreme Consequences
This template shows the exaggerated results of either using the product or the exaggerated consequences of not using it. This listerine ad shows the extreme consequences of NOT using their mouthwash.
While this ad for Wonderbra indirectly shows an extreme consequence from using their product:
Template 4: Competition
As the name indicates, this template shows the product in direct comparison with either competing products or exaggerated alternatives. This Verizon ad is about as straightforward a competition ad as you can get:
While this Land Rover ad is a bit more indirect, both in its execution and in what it sees as the product’s real competition : )
Template 5: Interactive Experiment
Yes, boys and girls, non-internet ads can be interactive. And, no, that doesn’t require the use of QR codes and such. Just take a look at this great ad for DHL:
Template 6: Dimensionality Alteration
This is where you show some attribute of the product or service by altering the environment. A classic example is this old-school headline for a faster cruise ship:
“Starting next tuesday, the Atlantic ocean becomes only one-fifth as long”
But my favorite example of this isn’t an ad at all, but a quote from Billy Wilders immortal, Sunset Boulevard:
“You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures; you used to be big”
“I still am big — it’s the pictures that got small.”
Here’s what it looks like in a print ad that compresses time to show consequences:
And that’s a quick and dirty break-down of the ad templates. Hope you find ‘em useful.
P.S. if you’re interested, most of these 6 categories include sub-categories, that you can read about in the original research. But for those too lazy to do that, here’s a quick and dirty chart showing all the sub-categories:
“In fact, I’m going to apologize. This whole ‘dream myth’ has been propagated by news reporters like me. Because we love telling this story, we love the dream. Whenever you write a profile of some person who is a success or who is going to jail, you always start at the end and follow the line back so it looks like it all makes sense. You sit someone down and you ask, “When did you first dream of being an opera singer (or a Nobel–prize winning economist, or the worst inside trader of all time)?”
Then you ask, “What obstacles did you have to overcome? How did you triumph?” Reporters are no different from every storyteller through time. We want to tell and hear the hero’s journey. The epic myth.
You know what never makes it into the hero’s journey? All the dreams that didn’t work out. There’s just not time. You never hear the part of the legend where the hero just wanted to chill for the summer, hang out in Portland, and figure some stuff out. Get his head straight. That happens, but every storyteller edits that out.”
– NPR Reporter, Robert Smith, during his Reed College Commencement Address
It is perhaps fitting that Steven Pressfield has run a series of articles on “The Hero’s Journey” of late, because his latest book explores exactly those areas of the journey that Robert Smith accuses reporters of leaving or editing out of most subjects’ “success stories.” The part where the hero — deliberately or unconsciously — choses the wrong career path, sometimes repeatedly. Or where she sandbags it for a summer to “get her head straight” or work through some stuff.
In other words, most people leave out exactly the part that the rest of us desperately need to know — what happened to get you from the point where you weren’t making it to the point where you were! How’d you make the leap, man? Tell us!
And there’s a simple reason most people don’t tell us, even beyond the reporters desire to present us with slices of life with the boring parts cut out. Quite frankly, that shit is embarrassing. Who wants to talk about self-sabotage, mis-steps, and unsuccessful careers. Not me.
That’s what makes Steven Pressfield such an incredible treasure and stand-up guy: he’ll do it. And in Turning Pro, he does just that; he gives you exactly the nitty gritty on HOW to turn pro, what happened before he turned pro, and what you can expect in the journey.
So if that’s the kind of stuff you’d like to learn — if you’re tired of reading all those dream come true stories with the important shit cut out — then link on over to Black Irish Books and grab yourself a copy!
P.S. Black Irish Books is the new publishing company started by Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyne. It’s a great venture and worth supporting, so even if you’d rather get your copy from Amazon, please consider ordering direct from the author.