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Against the Tide

To grab attention in a crowded marketplace, try breaking away from the pack with an understated ad.

By Jerry Fisher • May 5, 2006 Originally published Mar 3, 2004

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Flip through most big consumer magazines, and what do you see inbetween the editorial matter? A blur of colors, exclamations,toothy pitchpersons, toll-free numbers, a coupon here, a Web sitethere. Or maybe it's page after page of anorectic models,greased in almond oil and draped in designer gear. Or perhapsit's a sheaf of toddler images showing little Trevors, Trentsor Madisons goo-gooing over their strollers, burpy dolls, car seatsor lozenges for little sore throats.

If any of these represent the kind of environment in which youplan to advertise, maybe you need to be a contrarian and create anad that leaps out with clever understatement. That's what thead shown here does. Created by Chicago's famed Leo Burnett USAad agency for Eggo, a division of Kellogg, it is designed in anunexpected letter format (contrasting with most of the ads beforeand after it) and sports a fresh and whimsical, triteness-freeheadline. No, the heading doesn't directly promote a benefit,as we're taught in Headline Writing 101. But it gets anexemption for being relevantly offbeat. To quote one of my favoriteadvertising pooh-bahs, the late Victor Schwab, on the value ofdeveloping headlines like this: "Many a headline fails to stopreaders because its vocabulary is so hackneyed. No word or phrasein it has any attention-getting element of surprise. No words,expressions or ideas are used that are not commonly seen in theheadline of an ad." So "You're sticky and we'resorry" gets a thumbs up.

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