I can think of a number of marketing innovators whose ideas I admire, but the genius who brought us "scratch `n' sniff " print ads is the only one whose water bucket I'd actually carry. Why? Because he or she was able to add a totally unexpected new sensory dimension to the most rudimentary forms of advertising communication. During its heyday as an advertising novelty (today it's used primarily for perfume-strip ads), no one could pass by a scratch `n' sniff ad without giving it the ol' nasal appraisal. Sure, it was gimmicky. But it worked.
Since scratch `n' sniff, nothing has emerged from the gurgling beakers and foaming test tubes of advertising experimentation to give print advertising an added sensory dimension. One day, perhaps we'll flip open our e-publications and watch ads with dancing six-packs, smell ads for chicken soup and hear the whir of blenders making iced mochas in coffee shop ads, all on a little hand-held screen--complete with the digitized sound of pages turning. But until we bid farewell to printing on pulverized wood pulp, we need to use language and one-dimensional images in a way that reaches readers.
Evaluate your advertising by asking: Am I using language that really evokes a decision to buy? Am I reaching people at their emotional core? What can I say or show that will inspire prospects to want my product or service? What can substitute for actually being there to help people experience the product or service first hand, as the scratch `n' sniff approach attempted to do? It's a tall order, but it's well worth the labor to create successful advertising.
That's my message to Dana Crawford of Caldwell, Texas, who wrote recently. Crawford is a Registered Massage Therapist who runs a facility called Water Therapy Centre that specializes in relaxation and rehabilitation therapies using water and massage. She plans to add facilities for the disabled, too, so she can offer a full-service therapy center in a region where such services are not readily available. The ad she's created doesn't point out the benefit of having such an enterprise nearby; it merely lists the types of services offered. So what can she do in a small-space ad to reach her prospects at a sensory level--short of having spa bubbles spontaneously rise up from the page?
This ad merely lists, it doesn't sell. I like its looks, but fabulous fonts won't sell on their own.
1. We know what kind of service it is, what it includes, what it's called and how to get more information-but where's the benefit?
This ad implies the benefit right from the start and the undulating graphic supports the relaxation theme.
1. The headline grabs attention with an unexpected exhalation.
2. The wavy graphic works with the headline to transmit one clear message: relaxation.
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 e-mail him at Jerry228@aol.com.