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The Name Game

How can you spice up your ads without sensationalizing them? Simple. Just drop a name or two.

Entrepreneurs in professional practices--doctors, accountants, lawyers and the like--often prefer to err on the side of conservatism when it comes to promoting themselves. For them, it can be a bit unseemly to hawk their wares alongside flashy retail advertisers just to bring foot traffic into their offices. Unfortunately, the result can often be a pretty dry representation of themselves in advertising.

There are, of course, those Doberman-like accident attorneys who mash their noses into the TV camera and growl with promises that they'll fight for your rights if you let them represent you in court. But by and large, professionals worry about besmirching their reputations by appearing too salesy in their advertising.

My feeling? A professional doesn't have to perform advertising pratfalls--or anything close--to promote his or her knowledge and skills.

Advertising can be professional without being dry, and motivating without being tawdry. That's my message to Tim Burns, an attorney from New Orleans who wrote recently. Burns specializes in helping entrepreneurs lay the pipeline, legally and financially, to launch their businesses and help them grow. He knows his ad is a little tepid and wants to know if I can recommend anything to spice it up . . . without getting too sensational.

Jerry Fisher is an advertising copywriter, consultant and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising ($39.95), available by calling (800) 247-6553. If you'd like Jerry to consider your materials for a makeover in this column, send them to "Ad Workshop," Entrepreneur, 2392 Morse Ave., Irvine, CA 92614, or contact Jerry via America Online at

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This article was originally published in the June 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Name Game.

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