The Devil’s in the Detail


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The Devil’s in the Detail

  1. 1. The Devil’s in the Detail Looking for an advantage in your Creative October 14, 2013 Herschell Gordon Lewis Carol Worthington-Levy
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. Are you firing blanks? Words Are our Weapons.
  4. 4. Avoid these words in force- communication messages: • quality • service • value • needs (as noun) • “Remember,” • What’s more • Your partner in… • When it comes to… 4
  5. 5. Please, please: Never again write “blah” phrases such as… • Act now. • See your Toyota dealer today. • Southwest Airlines means business. 5
  6. 6. What is the difference between 3 and three ? 6
  7. 7. Word use: Replace… with… must have to among one of utilize use perhaps maybe buy acquire purchase own spend allocate receive get 7
  8. 8. Can you see how the phrase “you are among” damages the image of exclusivity ? 8
  9. 9. What is a more emotional word or phrase than: • commence • utilize • omit • receive • we would like to • large • you incur no risk • circular • donate • purchase • fortunate • requested • I write concerning • we shall • error • perhaps • however • humorous 9
  10. 10. What is the difference between: • autumn and fall • at last and finally • sexy and sensual • nude and naked • made and manufactured • manufactured by and built by • right now and at once • reply and respond • insincere and not sincere • eager and anxious • audience and viewers • died and passed away 10
  11. 11. Consider replacing •chance •availability •plan (as a noun) •prospect •possibility •likelihood with opportunity WHY? 11
  12. 12. Consider replacing Application Form with Acceptance Form WHY? 12
  13. 13. Suppose you prefer Acceptance Certificate instead of Acceptance Form… WHAT SHOULD YOU CONSIDER BEFORE MAKING A CHANGE? 13
  14. 14. Unsolicited email: Note the mismatch between DEALS and APPLY NOW. Click: 14
  15. 15. What is that word “Application” doing there? You contacted me. 15
  16. 16. A classic example of what not to do. Goodbye. 16
  17. 17. A simple and easy-to-implement rule for unsolicited email: Grab and shake the reader, fast and dynamically. 17
  18. 18. Does this email grab and shake the reader, fast and dynamically? 18
  19. 19. You don’t have to be a bourbon drinker to see problems with this copy. Suggestions? 19
  20. 20. Too little copy… and too much copy. Do you see examples of each? 20
  21. 21. If this marketer had asked you to create a competing email, what would you have suggested ? 21
  22. 22. What would you have said instead of “Learn More” as a click- through? 22
  23. 23. What would you have said instead of “Learn More” as a click- through? 23
  24. 24. Why should you avoid the word LEARN? Because it suggests your background or education is defective. Suggested replacement for marketing: Get inside information about… or See first-hand… or [YOUR SUGGESTION]?
  25. 25. Editorial decision: Illegal immigrant or undocumented alien ? 25
  26. 26. Your best prospects are the individuals or businesses most targeted with messages from your competitors. With that in mind… 26
  27. 27. Decide how much strength you want to project: Pass this up and you cost yourself some money. might may can
  28. 28. Decide when you can generate better impact by changing voice: Pass this up and I cost myself some money. might may can will
  29. 29. Consider the pros and cons of an absolute statement: Pass this up and I’ll cost myself some money 29
  30. 30. Add “If”… Have you made this stronger or weaker? If I pass this up, will I cost myself some money?
  31. 31. The difference one word can make: If I pass this up, will I cost myself some money? versus… If I pass this up, won’t I cost myself some money?
  32. 32. Two words that can make a conditional statement appear to be an absolute statement: What if…
  33. 33. Two response- suppressors here: Download, which many feel will affect their hard drive; and Take the Survey Now, which suggests using much time. 33
  34. 34. A single word can have the power to impel ongoing readership in any medium: Sunk Ouch Nuts Hmmm 34
  35. 35. Opinion, please: When is an exclamation point better and when worse than a period? Ouch. Ouch! Sunk. Sunk! 35
  36. 36. Which of these, as envelope copy or subject line, is more likely to generate ongoing readership? Important or Important! or Important? You decide.36
  37. 37. If you want an impulse- greed response, less copy can be more. 37
  38. 38. Can you think of a more salesworthy word than “Learn”? 38
  39. 39. Your opinion: Would Private offer: have had more verisimilitude than A special offer just for you.? 39
  40. 40. Your opinion of the exclamation point as opposed to a rubber stamp with no punctuation 40
  41. 41. Best Buy email – Can you think of a better subject line than “Guaranteed to get it”? 41
  42. 42. Headline is poor, could use the stronger selling copy in the text. 42
  43. 43. Misleading? Won’t some recipients interpret this subject line to mean an MRI or CT scan is free? (And there is that nasty word learn. 43
  44. 44. In the “contraindications” disclaimer for a pharmaceutical product, which word did the marketer wisely use instead of “may be dangerous”? “may be unsafe”
  45. 45. Tip, based on multiple test results: Others pay more brings more response than You pay less. 45
  46. 46. Tip, based on multiple test results: “You can apply for… is a deadly response killer. 46
  47. 47. Tip, based on multiple test results: Buy one, get one free brings more response than 50% off or Two for the price of one. 47
  48. 48. For direct mail – The Cardinal Rule of Envelope Copy: The carrier envelope has a singular purpose (other than keeping the contents from falling out onto the street): TO GET ITSELF OPENED. 48
  49. 49. Potent envelope copy. (Your opinion of the rubber stamp? 49
  50. 50. ONE MORE HOPE: We are communicators, supposedly literate. Do we know the difference between lie (intransitive) and lay (transitive) ? 50
  51. 51. 51
  52. 52. ????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????? ????????????????? Questions ????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????? ????????????????? 52
  53. 53. Design Details that bedevil response… 53
  54. 54. Sometimes designers forget, or don’t understand… • With mail or email, we’re invited guests into people’s homes… • …Or if we’re presenting a website, we’re promising them a good experience • If your mail’s not working, it probably is too hard to read, uninteresting or off-concept 54
  55. 55. The death of Common Sense Design • Why do we mail/email efforts that are impossible to read? • Why, if we’re directing designers, do we not question the fact that it’s illegible? • Why do we choose images that are so wrong or out of context, they don’t ‘get it’? • The customer is not stupid – we are to blame if they can’t understand our efforts to them! 55
  56. 56. The 4 Cs: design details that improve response • High Contrast + • Smart Color + • Thoughtful Concept = Comprehension • If you’re missing the details in any of these, you’re losing leads and sales — big time 56
  57. 57. Color and Contrast: a detail that makes a huge difference • You can capture response – or chase it away, by how you use color and contrast • This is true in print, online, in ads, emails… everything • This is all based on human physiology: how the rods and cones of the eyes function • Affects how messages are read and comprehended 57
  58. 58. Contrast • The human eye is 1500x more sensitive to value than it is to color • When you have something that is colorful, versus something that has higher contrast, people will look at the high contrast one first • It’s human physiology, the rods and cones of the eye at work, sending signals to the brain. 58
  59. 59. Low contrast = bad comprehension • Black reads well on the yellow • White type on lime green has low contrast • The hairline thin type for the headline makes it worse • The message in green is literally ignored by prospects 59
  60. 60. Contrast is a science, not just a creative choice • Color value: how dark or light something is • This black and white guide is just one tool designers (should) use to ensure the typography in their efforts is legible. • Setting type on a background that has less than 8 value steps between them will make the type less easy to read • Every color has value and even at level 10 is too light • Customers ignore messaging that is not easy to read 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 60
  61. 61. Contrast examples • The ‘arty’ choice is to set type in subtle color contrast • …but nobody reads it! • The practical and responsive way to set type and use images is high contrast • Even if it’s just a ‘brand’ piece, it’s a complete waste of effort if it’s too hard to read, or confusing to look at 61
  62. 62. Contrast in action • Here it is with typography in black and white… • Which one is the hardest to read? • Which is easiest to read? 62
  63. 63. Contrast in action • Here how contrast affects photography • Which one shows off this product the best? • The lower-contrast you make an image, the less likely someone will be engaged by it. 63
  64. 64. Contrast examples • The ‘arty’ choice can’t compete for your customer’s time or attention • White type against gray makes customers ignore a good deal 64
  65. 65. Color and response • Another guide your designer (should) have: the color wheel • Think about value for these colors • Yellow, at full strength, has a value of 2; purple (violet) has a value of 9. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  66. 66. Color and Contrast • Here it is with typography in color… • Which one is the hardest to read? • Easiest to read? 66
  67. 67. Contrast and color • Actual sample: Yellow type on white – or white type on yellow – is ignored by customers • I glanced at this an ignored it. Too bad for me, and for them! • Although sometimes they get mad that it’s so hard to read. • Do you really want to piss your customers off? 67
  68. 68. Does your design include white type? • Reversing type out of a color, black, or a photo will reduce readership by up to 90% (readership = response) • Proven in extensive studies • This is common sense: if there’s a picture, we work to try to make out what it is. We don’t read the type that’s interfering with it 68
  69. 69. Reversed type: who would want to read this, even if they requested it? • When this catalog, for The Highlander TV show and films, was launched, all body copy and headlines were white on dark backgrounds 69
  70. 70. Design for easy reading and reap the rewards of an awesome campaign • When catalog was redone with black type on light back- grounds, sales jumped 300%+ among prospects AND existing customers 70
  71. 71. Color in action • Note how complementary colors ‘jiggle’ or ‘shimmer’ against each other Customers avoid reading type like that • Notice how type in the same ‘color family’ (red on pink) is too hard to read • Can anyone read this? NOTE: this is a VERY common mistake! Complementary colors on color wheel – same value makes this too hard to read 71
  72. 72. Typesetting in colors • Typography in black provides the best comprehension • Typography in colors reduces contrast — does poorly when tested for comprehension and response • Even if strong value, the eye tires of reading color type faster than black Compare: • Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long understood how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. • • Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long understood how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. • • Do you feel anxious in a yellow room? Does the color blue make you feel calm and relaxed? Artists and interior designers have long understood how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions. 72
  73. 73. Fonts: another detail that affects response • The fonts you choose will draw in your customer… or send them packing! • Serif fonts are documented to provide highest readership, documented in legibility and comprehension studies • Sans serif fonts in typography will reduce readership and response by up to 60% - and more if it’s a condensed sans serif font • ALL CAPS TYPE REDUCES COMPREHENSION BECAUSE NOBODY WANTS TO READ IT. See why? 73
  74. 74. The font treatments can ALSO send them packing! • Initial Caps Distract The Reader and Reduce Comprehension • Set type flush left, rag right. Ideally, with indent at start of each paragraph to give the eye another way to scan • Justified type reduces comprehension, legibility and response • Hyphenated words reduce comprehension, too. • Research supports ALL of this: see Colin Whieldon’s book. Type & Layout (link at the end of this presentation) and many other studies • Also proven in exhaustive studies by Dr. Siegfried Vogele of the Direct Marketing Institute in Germany 74
  75. 75. Layout: reader gravity is real • Headline must be bigger and bolder than the body copy so the reader’s eyes gravitate to it • The eye finds the picture first — then reads the copy • Set copy to the RIGHT or BELOW the image, to allow for their natural progression • NOTE: setting in 3 columns increases readership and response because it’s EASY to read; type wider than 70 characters is ignored! David Ogilvy was right!75
  76. 76. Concept: the Devil’s here too! • When developing concepts for brand, advertising, mail and more… – Don’t forget that your CUSTOMER needs to be impressed by this – not your agency compatriots – Your efforts are wasted if it’s an inside joke, an ego project, or a chest-beating exercise (“People look to us because we’re great”; “It’s our anniversary”; “Our award winning blah blah is what you need, etc.”) – In fact, the more impressed your buddies are by your concept, the less it will probably work 76
  77. 77. Overworked concept/design • If it looks weird and gross, your customer will be turned off 77
  78. 78. Same product; Common sense concept/design • Answers customer concerns • Too bad it’s so hard to read! 78
  79. 79. Under-thought concept provides ham-handed ‘historical perspective’ • Xtime creates automated systems for customer service, used by Auto Dealerships. • They believe that body copy on an ad is too much – and ‘they just KNOW” that nobody reads it • Does this ad tell the reader anything meaningful? • Does the picture really tell the story? (How often this week have you seen this image?!) 79
  80. 80. Concept that answers the most- important question: ‘What problem will Xtime take care of for me?’ • Do your homework: This idea came from walking around auto dealerships • Myth vs reality — best creative is not produced if there’s no time to do it right • This brought in scores of highly qualified leads 80
  81. 81. Humor can work if it emphasizes a point clearly • Read your prospect’s mind… and answer their concerns • Media buyers laugh when they see this — but it tells them this is irresistible media, and they remember it and check it out! • Adweek award winner for highest retention 81
  82. 82. There’s lots of thoughtless design out there. Don’t let this happen to you. • Orange headline • Light gray body type • Light, sans serif fonts • Orange and gray logo • The ‘great deal’ is reversed out of orange banners • Concept??? Please • The cost of this creative and media buy was probably $60,000 — wasted 82
  83. 83. P.S.: Your designer’s not reading the copy! • Oops! a line of type covered up by the block of green • Final Advice: hire a proofreader! 83
  84. 84. Learn more: • Communicating-Making- Pretty/dp/1875750223/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&i e=UTF8&qid=1343175004&sr=1- 1&keywords=are+you+communicating+or+jus t+making+pretty+shapes • Direct-Mail- Communication/dp/0132087456/ref=wl_mb_ hu_c_1_dp 84
  85. 85. We’ll devil you into creating more effective work! Herschell Gordon Lewis Carol Worthington-Levy