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In Your Eyes

Take it from American Express: The right visual cues draw readers into your ad.

By Jerry Fisher

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

One of the most venerable of American advertisers,"supported" by a few generations of professionalpickpockets, is American Express Travelers Cheques. The famedcredit card company continues to get its message out in captivatingways, and its advertising offers lessons you may be able to use inyour own campaign.

A great example is the ad shown below. It's abird's-eye view of how you can unknowingly be relieved of yourwallet by a passerby, who then toddles off with your vacation cash.The ad gets an A+ for ad composition, plopping the two-partheadline, "You" and then (drop your eyes) "YourWallet," where you least expect them. Each part is set in asmall, black balloon that points to where you should look in thepicture. This unexpected assemblage of elements is a fresh way todraw the reader's eye, because most ads have their headlinesnailed to the top of the page. Together with the visual of thebeach and the juxtaposition of the vacationers and the thief, youjust can't get much better at conveying an advertising messagein a veritable eye-blink.

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