Tag Archives | advertising

RIP Hyundai ad.

Hyundai tried marketing a new car as ‘safe for suicide’. Such a bad idea. How did it ever get through?

Unsurprisingly, the ad was killed.

Top tip: Go to your local supermarket and buy a packet of Common Sense.

Find out more on the BBC website.


Great use of a QR code!

QR code stands for Quick Response code. They are the ugly little squares you’ve probably seen appearing all over the place. You scan it with your smartphone (you need to download a QR code reader app first – free) and it takes you direct to a web page without you having to type in the URL / web address.

You can get them free online, but most people use them in the most unimaginative way, such as printing the QR code on their business card and it links to their home page. I even know one person who reproduced a QR code on their website! Erm, why?

Here’s a great example of a creative way to use a QR code, in a recruitment ad for a tattoo artist. How clever is that!

The only time I’ve ever scanned one was in a restaurant. There was a card on the table printed with a QR code and asking for feedback on the meal in return for entry into a free draw. That works so much better than the till receipt in Boots or Tesco saying (something like): ‘How did we do? When you get home, go to our website and tell us’. Who can be bothered to do that? Not I, sir!

P.S. Another little-known fact: You can customise a percentage of the QR code with your own logo (or whatever).


Be specific. Yes, you.

On the train into London this week, an advert was staring me in the face. It was by Unicef, asking me to donate £3 to buy a blanket to keep a child warm this winter.

Are they a charity that specialises in blankets? No. They do lots of things.

But they didn’t say: “Give us some money and we’ll do some good with it”; they were specific about how much money, what it would be spent on and why.

When you take out an ad (or give a one-minute speech at a networking event), it’s tempting to try to include everything you do, for fear of missing something out. But it’s much more powerful to pick just one thing, and focus on that.

For example, I wrote a doordrop leaflet for a painter/decorator that increased responses from 1% to 4%, simply by using this technique. Instead of listing everything he did, I picked one main thing as the main headline, and included everything else as bullet points further down the page.

The Unicef ad also had a black-and-white picture of a teary-eyed child. Eye contact is extremely powerful imagery that humans are programmed not to ignore (it doesn’t have to be children, things like puppies or kittens work just as well).

The objective of an ad is (a) to get noticed (b) to get a response. Pick one stand-out element to make yours work for you – and let me know if you need any help.

I originally wrote this article for Fresh Business Thinking


Clever Colgate

What do you see when you look at these images?

If you focused on the gubbins in his teeth, you missed his missing ear, the random hand, and her extra finger. Have another look!

A great way to advertise dental floss.


Power to the people

I’ve been banging on about it for ages, that what your customers say is more convincing than anything you say yourself. Kia’s latest ad demonstrates this overtly.

Old-style advertising (“Buy me!”) is dead, so I predict more ads will tap into social proof like this (and so they should). Does yours?


Licensed to newsjack

This is the top half of an ad I saw in my local paper this week. Ha ha! He’s cleverly riding on the back of the current hype about the new Bond film, Skyfall.
The image doesn’t work so well on his website though, as I can’t be sure what he’s holding. Ooer, Miss Moneypenny.

If you’re in South East London and you want a plumber with a bit of creativity, see Economic Plumbing.