Is this a direct response ad or
a weekly newspaper column?
One theme we’ve seen in the ads reviewed so far is:
Make your advertising look like news.
This newspaper advertisement for a wrinkle cream takes it to a whole other level as it disguises itself as a Question & Answer column you’d find in a typical newspaper or woman’s magazine.
Just like so many of the other advertorial style ads, this one is laid out to look like a typical article.
Notice, there’s nothing that tips you off that it’s selling anything. There’s not even a hint of a product being sold anywhere in the headline or opening paragraph.
So, let’s see this ad makes money for its advertiser…
It all starts off with the headline…
Wrinkles, Under-eye Dark Circles and Bags —
Does Any Cream Work?
See how disarming that headline is? It doesn’t make an unbelievable claim or host or brag about what a great product it is.
Instead, it asks the exact same question so many women who are concerned with wrinkles and dark circles and bags under their eyes would ask.
And of course, the reader has tried many of the creams available and is looking for something better. So by asking…
“Does any Cream work?” the headline instantly grabs the reader’s attention.
The reader says to herself, “Hey, that’s what I want to know. Maybe this article will answer it…” And away she eagerly reads every word of the ad.
But, she thinks she’s reading an unbiased article, so she pays more attention to it and is geared to believe it more than she word a self-serving ad. See, this is the difference between a headline that shouts, “New Wrinkle Cream Makes Wrinkles Disappear Overnight” Vs. the headline here, that asks a question.
Sure, the first headline may get lots of people to read the ad because they’re desperate to get rid of your wrinkles so they read everything you find about wrinkles.
However, just as many readers will say to themselves, “Yeah right. Here’s another one of those wrinkle creams that says they do something and actually do nothing.”
You see, ALL wrinkle creams claim they will make wrinkles vanish. But saying it, doesn’t make it true. It just groups the wrinkle cream into the same playing field as the competition. And this goes for EVERY product and service.
Here’s The BIG Message In Today’s Review…
If you’re selling cough medicine, don’t say “Stops Coughs fast.” If you’re selling pizza, don’t say “We’re the best.” If you’re a dentist, don’t say, “We’re gentle and care for our patients.”
EVERY cough medicine, pizza parlor and dentist say that. You need to present your product or service differently, to separate yourself from the crowded competition.
Listen if you’re a dentist, it’s expected you have great customer care and service. No dentist claims they’re average or don’t care for their patients.
One dentist I consulted with had an ad that stated, “We sterilize all our equipment.” I kid you not. You’re a friggin dentist, you HAVE to sterilize your equipment! ALL dentists do! It’s expected. It’s the law!!!
No dentist ever claims, “We cut corners to save you money, like not sterilizing our equipment.”
But yet, just take a look at the typical dentist ad, pizza parlor ad, plumber ad, realtor ad, and on and on, and all they do is state “We’re the best,” without offering any proof.
OK, I’ve vented enough, back to the ad…
Notice how the headline covers three very specific things the cream fixes… “Wrinkles,” “Under-eye Dark Circles” and “Bags” under the eyes. Remember, specifics sell.
Someone who has circles under her eyes is looking for a “dark circle” remover while someone with bags is looking for a “bag under the eyes” remover. This headline addresses both.
After the headline you see “Dear Doris” along with “Doris’ photo, just like you would see in a “Dear Abbey” type column. Or any other of hundreds legitimate Q&A columns in papers across the country.
This is something readers are familiar with. And since this “column” looks just like all the rest, they automatically figure, it’s another column, probably with good information in it.
And, just like any Q&A column, it starts off with a question form a “reader.” And the question is perfect. It describes who’s asking the question. No doubt a profile of the typical consumer of wrinkle creams, a 55 year old.
And then the question asker says she’s tried all the other wrinkle creams and they don’t work. This is the exact type question someone concerned with wrinkles will ask.
Also, notice that the question asker is from Boulder, CO. I live in Boulder and got this ad from one of the local papers. So, I’m sure, they change the city to the town the ad is running in.
This is one of those little details so many advertisers miss. So don’t get lazy with your advertising and pay attention to the little details. They add up to big profits in the long run.
Now to the answer part of the column…
In this case, Dorris quickly tells the reader the name of the product. Personally, I would have teased the answer a bit and not rushed into the name of the product.
Maybe start with something like…
“I know how tough it is to find a cream that works. I’m in my early fifties and have probably spent $5,000 on creams in the past. So I feel your pain…”
Or something like that.
After telling the name of the product, there’s still no sales pitch. Which is good. Instead, Dorris tells her this gel has serious scientific ingredients in it.
And then goes on to describe the key ingredients and what they do. And she does it in a way you would expect a Q&A columnist to do it… in very simple terms.
Throughout her answer, Dorris keeps on stressing the “eye area” is where these ingredients really help with wrinkles.
Remember, that’s what got the reader reading, wrinkles around the eyes, so this ad smartly stays on target.
Finally, the ad ends by telling readers where to purchase the gel. Not only that, Dorris mentions, almost as an afterthought, she was given a discount code she can pass to her readers.
And instead of pushing the reader to buy the product, she simply suggests they try it out. Again, keeping with the style of what a “reporter” might say, as opposed to an advertiser.
These types of ads, for various products from wrinkle creams to sexual aids, have been running in newspapers and magazines for as long as I can remember. They work. So see if there’s a way you can adapt your product or service to this style of ad.
OK, another money-making space ad reviewed. Hope you liked it.