Spend a few minutes scrolling through your social media feed or checking your favorite websites. It won’t take long before you realize that advertising is constantly evolving. But rules are meant to be broken, right? After all, I started that last sentence with ‘but’ and I don’t see my middle school English teacher chasing me down. I have the conventions of modern usage to thank for that.
Companies (and agencies) are finding new ways to advertise products and services — and many of their current efforts violate some traditional rules about what constitutes ‘good’ advertising. That’s understandable. While I love to run across adventurous, playful, unexpected and interruptive campaigns, I’ve been very surprised recently by how many ads I see without a clear call to action.
What a waste. You work so hard to get your prospective customers’ collective attention. You catch their eye with a creative presentation or a clever placement, only to lose them in the end because you never told them where to go or how to take advantage of your offer.
While superbrands like Apple, Google and Nike can get away with only their logo on a white background, a “Think Different”-style tagline and a URL, the other 99.9% of advertisers should remember that the most boring element of their new campaign might just be the most important.
Don’t just namedrop your website. Tell them why they should visit — and what they should do when they get there. Tell them specifically how it will help them become more profitable, more efficient and less encumbered in pursuing their real priorities.
Just like the call to action comes at the end of the ad, the most important word comes at the end of the term itself.
Action. That’s what it’s all about.