I'm always confounded by how many ads make the reader work to appreciate their sales messages. Without naming names, every morning, one of the nation's most prestigious business-oriented newspapers is filled with big, serious-minded, aesthetically pleasing ads from stellar companies whose messages are, to be charitable, oblique. You might call this "advertising haiku," using headline words and phrases that require contemplation and interpretation. My guess is they more often elicit indifference. These companies could take a lesson in communication from ads like the one shown here. It's one that makes its sales points so deftly that you, the typically apathetic passerby, don't have time to be indifferent. It snares you in a nanosecond.
Created for Home Diagnostics Inc., a maker of blood glucose monitors for diabetics, the ad gets an A+ for its compelling, quick-as-a-wink presentation of benefits. The company's ad agency, Mason Selkowitz Marketing Inc. in Fairport, New York, chose fingertip icons with two-word captions to convey the message at the speed of light. It's an ad you might say passes the billboard test: Like outdoor advertising that must make its point to a set of eyes traveling past at 60-plus mph, the ad for TrueTrack monitors registers in an instant.
The ad "headlines" with three fingertips, each making a key sales point in image and caption. The first, with a microdot of red, depicts "less blood"; the second smilingly depicts "less pain"; and the third, "less cost." To the diabetic, these are key issues when it comes to choosing a testing system for use two or three times daily. TrueTrack's niche in the monitor market is as a co-brander, making units for large retailers like Walgreens and CVS that sell diabetic supplies.
How might your company avail itself of this powerful and instantaneous form of salesmanship? The easiest way is to divide your product or service benefits into a set of three descriptors. For a convenience message, resist using the hackneyed term "easy as 1-2-3," although that should be the takeaway. For the three key reasons to purchase your database, buy your supplies, subscribe to your Web content or use your consulting services, conjure up three icons that will register quickly with prospects. Home Diagnostics is so high on its new little icons that the company duplicated this ad for its Web site home page, with the icons flashing on in sequence.
Jerry Fisher (www.jerry-fisher.com) is a freelance advertising copywriter and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising.