Create instant recognition for your advertisers

By Bob Berting

Sometimes the sequels to movies are nowhere near the creative attraction of the original movie. We see automobile styles that are almost look alikes. We see shopping malls that look alike. Too many retailer newspaper ads look alike. Maybe it’s a lack of creativity, or maybe it’s a lack of courage to be different and the fear of being too different.

The Optical Weight of The Ad

A good rule of creative advertising is to be “instantly recognizable” either by a distinctive layout style, use of typefaces, unique style of art, use of a particular color or some other element that is different from the competition. Another important factor is to understand the optical weight of the ad, which is the upper left quadrant of the ad. Creativity can start in that quadrant namely with a newly designed logo, the start of a provocative heading, a dominant eye-catching graphic and possibly spot color.

Focus Groups

What is really interesting is how focus groups look at high profile retailer advertisers and how they perceive one store versus another. A series of full-page ads might be presented with the logos covered. The members of the group would be asked to identify which ads belonged to which stores. Surprisingly few made the right identification as to store identity.

Encourage creative identification

As part of your consultative process, you must provide guidance on how to accomplish that process. Awaken their creativity. Challenge them to be different. Here are a few suggestions:

l Localize their business: use the name of the city or shopping community in the signature section of their ad or an illustration of an immediately recognizable nearby landmark.

l Use testimonials and pictures of actual customers praising their business merchandise, or service (You need a signed release to do this).

l Use the business salespeople in the ads—talking to customers or individually talking to the reader.

l Use humor, particularly a humorous slogan. Also a campaign can be developed using clever and provocative headlines. Readers will gravitate to that type of advertising because they are intrigued by this approach and want to see what will happen in the next ad.

Sometimes getting attention can be as simple as creating a large dominant headline with a lot of white space and little copy. Never underestimate the power of being unique and different. Your publication can stand out in the marketplace by constantly taking the creative initiative. © Bob Berting 2011

Bob Berting is a professional speaker, newspaper sales trainer, e-book author, and publishing marketing consultant. His sales record in the newspaper business is impressive. For 15 years, he averaged two cold contracts a week, sold 20 shopping centers on yearly contacts, which tripled the publication’s sales volume, and rarely sold a contract that was less than 52 weeks or 1,000 inches during a year. He has conducted more than 1,500 seminars for newspaper staffs, their customers, and state press associations. He conducts tele-seminars with topics that are customized for the newspaper industry. Ask for testimonials from happy tele-seminar customers. Bob’s website is He can be reached at 800-536-5408 or


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