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Heads Up!

For some ads, it's no guts, no glory.

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This story appears in the June 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Garey Mann II of Slidell, Louisiana, submitted the ad shown to the right, asking, "How can I improve my advertising layout?" My answer? The layout, per se, is not the problem; it's the message in the layout that needs more oomph.

Mann is promoting Discovery Earthcare, his emporium of natural and recycled products, but his ad doesn't transmit that message in an arresting way. My idea is to find a truly unusual item on his shelves to hoist up to the headline and arouse immediate curiosity and interest. Hence, the unexpected offering you see in the "after" ad headline. It's explained by a subhead that then transitions the reader into the rest of the ad.

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