Bad Ads: What Happens When Copywriters and Designers Don’t Talk

bad adAm I really negative? It might come across that way, because I like to show and talk about examples of what not to do here in my blog. That’s because, in my opinion, the bad example is more educational than the good one. You see the good one and think, “Oh, I already do that,” and don’t think about how to make copywriting better. But if you see the bad example, you might think, “Egads, I do that! I’d better stop!”

So I’m not negative, not really. I’m actually a fairly positive person and usually smiling. (That’s why there are flowers all over this website!) But when it comes to efforts to improve the content and copywriters of the world, I like looking to the dark side to find the bad examples that teach lessons.

Like with this ad. Can you see at a glance what’s wrong with it? OK, there’s the typo: “is” should be capitalized to be consistent with the style of the rest of the headline, because it’s a verb. But as annoying as that is, that’s not what makes this freelance copywriter cringe. Nope. What makes me cringe is the disconnect between the image and the headline.

The image shows a secret being kept.

The headline says the secret has been let out.

Sooooo….which is it, dear MessageGears? Are we keeping the ESP flaw secret? Or are we letting it out?

I guess we have to download the free fact sheet to find out. But really, I’d rather the designer and copywriter had simply coordinated in the first place. Otherwise, we have a disconnect that makes for an ineffective ad.

If you were the freelance copywriter for this ad, would you have asked for a new image? Or would you have changed the headline to match the image the designer gave you?

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