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Where Are You Headed?

Sometimes it's not as much what your headline says as where you place it.

This story appears in the April 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

An advertising guru of considerable stripe once made thepronouncement, "Copy is king"-meaning the sales messagein an advertisement is more important to its success than thevisual component. But today, in an era filled with dancing bannerads and animated e-mail, words go down better when they'represented in an arresting visual setting-even in print ads.That's certainly the case for the ad highlighted here, wherethe provocative composition of the headline draws readers in for alook-see.

Produced for the Office of Economic Development inOakland, California-an organization whose purpose is to attractbusinesses to relocate to the city-this ad gets an A+ for the wayits unique, stacked headline blocks attract (or, one might say,distract) the eye. Because it's hard to lasso racing readers,especially with a long headline, it takes a mold-breakingcomposition like this one to pull the prospect in. You can'thelp but be drawn to follow this headline's stagger, withdifferent-sized stepping stones, from the top left corner of the adto the middle. Equally important is the way it's broken intofragments of phrases and individual words, each offered in adifferent type size. But make no mistake, this mosaic wasn'tjust thrown together. A lot of thought was put into making wordslike "heck" and "Oakland" leap out of thepack.

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