Make No Mistake

Common ad-campaign screw-ups
This story appears in the September 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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Want to really mess up your advertising campaign? Barry Cohen can tell you how. The 47-year-old co-owner of AdLab Media Communications LLC ( in Clifton, New Jersey, points out common bad ideas in his book, 10 Ways to Screw Up an Ad Campaign (Entrepreneur Press).

"After 21 years of working with businesses, I saw a desperate need for people to have a no-nonsense, simple guide to help them avoid common mistakes," Cohen says. Among his sage advice on what not to do in your ad campaign:

Hire your brother-in-law as marketing director. Relatives don't always make the grade. Instead, hire someone who is really qualified to handle your promotion.

Handle everything yourself. A better idea: Spend your time doing what you do best-and leave the advertising to someone who does that for a living.

Do what you've always done. Nothing's worse than getting stuck in a rut. Don't be afraid to try new ideas.

Above all, Cohen emphasizes that "You can out-advertise the competition, even if you can't outspend them. There is a formula to doing this right. Follow the formula and it will work."

Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates, a public relations and marketing communications agency in Ocean, New Jersey. She is the creator of, a marketing information Web site. E-mail her at

Edition: October 2016

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