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11 Advertising Principles Every Marketer Should Know - The Halloween Edition

Take few minutes to improve your advertising intelligence this Halloween with these evidence-based principles.

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1. Use print media or websites for strong arguments


Still media (e.g., newspapers, magazines, websites) are more suitable when the ad consists of strong, convincing arguments. The audience will be able to take their time and reflect on your arguments.

2. Use motion media for emotional appeals


Motion media (sound and video) works best when reinforcing customer beliefs with emotional appeals (e.g., humor, sex, fear, etc.).

3. Consider using humor in relation to the product


Especially for high-involvement products, consider linking humor to the product. Advertising scholar Scott Armstrong suggest that to test whether humor is relevant to the product, remove the product from the ad: if the ad is still funny, it is probably not linked to the product.

4. Use sex appeals only when the product is related to sex


Sex doesn't always sell. When the product is not relevant to sex, sexual appeals often distract customers. And remember not to let sex overwhelm your ad.

5. Do not promote fear without a way to resolve it


Ads with fear appeals are most effective when the ad also shows how the risk can be reduced or the problem can be resolved.

6. Consider the match between celebrity, product, and the target market


Would Michael Jackson be a good endorsement for a Halloween related product? When selecting celebrities in ads, priority should be given to the celebrity-product and celebrity-target audience match. If you don't believe this, think about the "Donald Trump Steaks".

7. Include the brand name and product benefits in your slogans


Headlines or slogans with the brand name and product benefits will be remembered more easily by the customers.

8. Do not use prices when the focus is on high quality


Price information makes the customers price-sensitive. When advertising high-quality, do not interfere with prices. If quality is not a key-selling point, advertising price reductions will be more effective.

9. Provide a "reason why" to the audience


OK, but why should we try your product? Ads with relevant and logical reasons tend to be more persuasive and they are also remembered better.

10. Consider providing choices in your ad


Without choices, consumer will make a try/don't try or buy/don't buy decision. With choices, customers will switch to a "which item should I consider" mindset.

11. Finally, don't forget to communicate your USP whenever possible


What is special about your brand or product? Unique selling proposition (USP) is about a key benefit that your competitors do not have or do not advertise. Communicating your USP will give your ad an edge over your competitors.

Want more?

All these and many more valuable advertising principles are presented in the book "Persuasive Advertising" by Scott Armstrong.

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