I’m often asked what makes an effective ad in a magazine. How versed are you on the intersection of design and influence? Here’s a quick quiz with answers [and research sources] to help you get the most out of your advertising campaign in any medium.
1. Fact: Capital letters are harder to read in headlines and body text. But do all capital headlines have more impact or seem more important? Yes or no?
2. While most designers often use red as a dominant color, the public emphatically prefers blue. True or false?
3. Neither designers nor viewers are crazy about black as a choice for border color. True or false?
4. The best position for a headline is at the top of an ad. True or false?
5. Always offer an upbeat message. Don’t use warnings or fear tactics to lure readers. True or False?
6. A high-quality still photograph is preferable to a poorer quality image of the product in use. True or false?
7. Most buyers need a minimum of seven exposures before they will remember your name and/or consider purchasing your product or service. True or false?
8. Ad creativity is more important than placement location in a magazine; a great design at the back of a magazine gets more notice than a boring ad placed up front, on a right hand corner. True or False?
1. No. 10% of people tested said all caps had greater impact, but 15% said lower case letters had greater impact and 69% saw no difference. [Research by Colin Wheildon].
2. True. [Memphis State University researcher Douglas Covert]
3. False. Both like black as a border color if not too wide. [MSU/Covert]
4. False. In most cases, it should be below your illustration. And warning: an older, more conservative audience will pass over a headline if you run it upside down or chop it up and scatter it. Keep in mind, too, that a powerful headline can increase response and readership by as much as 2,100%! [Board Report for Graphic Artists]. Also, 65% of readers notice/read a headline regardless of how well the rest of the ad is designed [Chilton Research Services]
5. False. Be a little provocative and try issuing a warning: “Don’t get burned on contracts – know your supply costs cold!” Warning headlines catch attention. [United Communications Group]
6. False. Readers respond better to products depicted in use. Also, more readers are attracted to ads showing people in them (whether they use the product or not) than those that don’t feature people. [Daniel Starch Research]
7. True. Noticeable increases in sales usually occur between the fourth and sixth exposure, even when no other campaign is initiated. It’s better, on a budget, to place a smaller ad more times than to do a single splash. [Joint study: American Business Press & Advertising Research Foundation].
8. True. Readers open a magazine front, back, and middle. They don’t prejudge value based on location; the creative factor is more persuasive. [Readex, Inc.]
Now that you’re an advertising whiz, let’s get together again next week, when our topic will be how to write good web content – and why to leave your brand name out of it.