Scientific Advertising: Picture This
On Men In Advertising
“... in clothing advertising, pictures have proved most convincing. Not only in picturing the collar or the clothes, but in picturing men whom others envy, in surroundings which others covet. The pictures subtly suggest that these articles of apparel will aid men to those desired positions.”
On Women in Advertising
“Picturing beautiful women, admired and attractive, is a supreme inducement. But there is a great advantage in including a fascinated man. Women desire beauty largely because of men. Then show them using their beauty, as women do use it, to gain maximum effect.”
However you use it — the beauty of pictures is not to be denied. The question is when to harness it.
Don’t Use a Cancerous Picture
Hopkins says, “... a picture which is eccentric or unique takes attention from your subject. You cannot afford to do that. Your main appeal lies in headline. Overshadow that and you kill it. Don't, to gain general and useless attention, sacrifice the attention that you want.“
His admonition is borne out in the modern experience of copywriter Dean Rieck. He tells a story about graphics gone wrong at a company’s marketing department:
“People like me who work on the front lines creating direct response advertising have to deal with clients who want to sell but who also demand adherence to branding guidelines, usually in the form of font, color, and graphic specifications.
“It can be a difficult juggling act. The guidelines may be simple, requiring only the use of a logo, or difficult, enforcing highly restrictive design rules that curtail selling techniques.
“When branding guidelines become too restrictive, it can hurt sales. Years ago, I began working with one of the top communications companies, helping them sell products and services such as DSL and long distance. I decided to break out of the overly restrictive branding guidelines and create mailers that I thought would sell better.
“This didn’t go over well with others in the company and I received many complaints about the ‘look’ of my mailers. However the response rates were high. In one effort, I created a self-mailer that met the annual call generation goal within 9 weeks. So I was allowed to continue.
Eventually, my ‘ugly’ mailers provoked the branding department so much, I was asked to test a ‘pretty’ and properly branded mailer. I did. The ugly mailer won hands down.”
His unartful triumph was purist Hopkins. Here’s another example from Hopkins himself ...