Monday, April 26, 2004

I receive "Comanche Marketing", the e-zine put out by Matt Michael of the Service Roundtable, a marketing organization supporting Service Industry professionals. Their work is always very high quality.

In his newsletter, he offered two tips for Yellow Pages advertisers.

21. Pictures Trump Clip Art

Clip art has it’s place, but the proliferation of clip art has done almost as much harm to graphic design as the emergence of 10,000 font CD-ROMs. While clip art has it’s place, pictures trump clip art almost every time.

I used to test this by flipping open a yellow pages directory I had to the rental car section. There were two, nearly identical ads, side by side. One featured a line art drawing of a can. The other featured a gray scale image of a car. I asked people to pick the ad that caught their eye. Nine times out of ten, people picked the ad with the picture over the ad with the line art.

What holds for rental cars, holds even more for people. Use photographs and cut the image out of the background if necessary.

22. People Prefer Pictures of People

Contractors love trucks. There’s nothing more appealing to a contractor than a great big shiny new service or installation truck. If you want contractors to look at your ad, put a truck in it. If you want people to look at it, put a person in it.

People are warm, friendly, and expressive. Trucks are cold and metallic. The same thing is true about condensing units, water heaters, and so on.

Personally I agree with him, but I wanted to see if there was any research to support his theories. I contacted Dennis Fromholzer, President of CRM associates, a Yellow Pages research firm and Larry Small, Vice President of research for the Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association.

Dennis Fromholzer wrote . . .

I don't have direct comparisons of pictures vs clip art, but the logic described above is very consistent with my conclusions.

Ads have to make people feel comfortable with whoever they are calling - because they instill a sense of confidence & trust in the business for the potential customers. The user has to be able to "picture themselves" as a customer of the business, having the business solve their problem for them.

All vehicles that help this process along are the vehicles that work.

The whole purpose of the ad is to get the user to the point where they say to themselves, "I can see myself doing business with that person / business".

Larry Small agrees . . .

"I think 20 years ago when our production processes were not very good, clip art made a lot more sense than photographs, but today we are able to produce photographs that are equal to or better than newspapers."

So Matt, two of the men I respect the most say you're offering good advice.

Well done!


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