Jack Ewing
"Yeah, I can write that."


Jack of all trades and master of the write one.

I’m a generalist, somebody who knows a little about a lot of things and has an insatiable curiosity about the rest. I’m a good listener, a quick study with excellent recall. I usually do well in trivia contests.

Those traits have come in handy the last 35+ years, as I’ve poured out a steady stream of nonfiction projects across a variety of media.

I’ve done a fair amount of editorial work: more than 400 newspaper articles and magazine features, particularly in art and architecture, business and financial, and health and medicine, with many side trips to travel, heavy industry, manufacturing, and processing.

Most of my nonfiction, however, has been in advertising, marketing and public relations.

That covers a lot of territory. I’ve written 50,000 radio spots, and thousands of television commercials, film and video scripts, brochures and pocket folders, press kits and new product releases, packaging, instruction manuals, newspaper and magazine ads, annual reports, billboards and bus cards, direct mail, point-of-purchase and aisle displays, Web content, posters, hang tags and other collateral.

Projects have encompassed high-tech, low-tech and no-tech, for consumers and business-to-business in local, regional, national and international markets.

Raw facts don’t tell the whole story

Here are just a few of the many interesting projects that advertising has led me to:

• Wrote assembly and operating instructions for a new Hewlett-Packard printer, translated into 20 European and Asian languages

• Devised the Pizza Hut “Smelling Bee,” a contest for kids, with giveaway rubber animal noses, that attracted tens of thousands of customers in six Northwest states

• Coined the trademarked CrystalSwitch for a vacuum deposition sensor, and posed as a hand model for the product in print materials for Inficon Leybold-Heraeus, a German manufacturer of high-tech devices for monitoring various processes in the production of computer chips

• Introduced Syracuse Cablesystems to millions of customers in upstate New York

• Ghost-wrote Sleep: A How-to Manual for a psychologist

• Researched and wrote books on the history of chinaware and silverware, and tips on selling for door-to-door salesmen of Oneida Silversmiths

• Created a successful anti-drug campaign that ran for several years: “Don’t let Idaho go to pot.”

• Greatly expanded the sales territory of Helluva Good Cheese from two states to fifteen states and three Canadian provinces with television, newspaper, radio, billboards, and in-store displays

• Wrote 90,000-word illustrated biography, Spacey’s Brother: Out of the Closet, commissioned by Randy Fowler, a victim of child sexual abuse and the older brother of Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey

• Wrote film and video scripts for agribusiness giant Simplot, on growing, processing, freezing and handling potatoes and other food products, translated into English and Spanish, and premiered the Simplot Games to high school athletes across the West

• Came up with a billboard warning about undercover policewomen posing as hookers who had entrapped innocent people: “Is she a cop, sucker?” A literal traffic stopper, the headline had to be changed to: “Don’t try to lay down the law in this town.”

• Wrote roast-style one-liners, humorous speeches and multimedia presentation scripts for the Ore-Ida national conference in Hawaii

• Introduced the US West Foundation, a large charitable organization headquartered in Denver, to the world

• Wrote speeches, position papers, and conceived complete campaigns for mayors, governors, US Congressmen and Senators

• Wrote script on proper procedures for handling plasma, used at all American Red Cross branches west of the Mississippi

• Wrote brochures and signage for the historic gold mining town of Idaho City, once the largest town in the state, and for a while, Idaho’s territorial capital

• Researched and wrote the book, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Albertson’s Supermarkets

• Invented the “International Snow Plowing Contest” held annually in northern New York, near the headquarters of Frink, snowplow inventor and world’s largest manufacturer of snowplows

• Wrote some 350 biographies for Literary Reference Center, a new, encyclopedic resource covering 20th Century authors, published by Salem Press

• Created sweepstakes contest aimed at satellite dish dealers for Satellite ORBIT magazine

• Wrote script for “Signature” video presentation of the Nature Conservancy of Alaska

Now I’d like to give you a good, swift kick in the ads

                Is it any wonder that advertising consistently excites me as a writer?

Each new project is unique, a chance to learn something I didn’t know before. It’s the opportunity to pass that information on in a way that will interest and stimulate an intended audience toward a desired action. With constant practice, I’ve become quite efficient in absorbing facts and translating them effectively into consumer benefits.

What I’ve done so well for others, I can do for you, as well.

If you have an advertising, marketing or public relations project you’d like to discuss, check my client list and portfolio, then send me an e-mail outlining the job. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Link to:                 Client list

Link to: Clients by type of product/service

Link to:                 Salem Press

Link to:                 Spacey’s Brother web site

Link to:                 Advertising FAQ

                                                Advertising in general

                                                The advertising profession

                                                Breaking into advertising

                                                Advertising problems

                                                Creative solutions

                                                Broadcasting to the masses

                                                One ad person to another

                                                Advertising terminology

                                                Student projects

                                                Advertising history

                                                All about billboards

                                                The agency business

                                                Ad quirks: tell me why?

                                                Unanswered questions

                                                The media

                                                Print ads


                                                Trade secrets

                                                Miscellaneous answers to various advertising questions

                                                Consumer psychology


Link to:                
Advertising portfolio

                                                Print—magazine & newspaper ads

                                                Radio spots

                                                TV commercials


                                                Direct Mail


                                                Web content






WRITING PROJECTS, 1970-present

• = Award winner



Aamco Transmission [NY] (radio)

Acme Manufacturing [ID, metal replacement parts] (Mission statement)

Advance Cyclery [NY, bicycle retailer] (radio)

Agri Beef Company [ID, regional agribusiness] (brochures, division profiles, print ads) •

AJ's Health Clubs [ID] (newspaper, brochures, direct mail, ID package) •

Albertson's Supermarkets [National] (50th anniversary folio, video scripts, A/V shows) •

Albertson Foundation [National] (brochure, annual report) •

Allstate Swimming Pools [NY] (radio)

American Red Cross [Regional] (instructional video for Western Region)

Anderson Orchards [ID, real estate] (brochure)

Angell's Bar & Grill [ID] (print, radio)

Apollo Group [ID, advertising/marketing agency] (print series)

Applied Management Associates Ltd. [ID, company reorganizations] (brochure)

Arctic Circle [National] (radio, TV) •

Area Agency on Aging [ID] (pro bono brochure, poster)

Art Attack Gallery [ID] (brochure)

Arthritis Foundation [ID] (pro bono poster)

Arturo’s Pizza [NY] (radio)

Audiology Associates [ID, hearing aid sales] (TV)

Aurora Capital Group [CO, investment management] (brochure)

Auto Finishers [NY, auto supplies] (radio)


B & D Foods [CA] (brochures)

Sarah Baker for City Council [ID] (flyers, brochure)

Ball Hog [ID, device for carrying basketball on bicycle] (packaging, brochure)

Bank of America [Regional]  (newspaper, radio, brochures, billboards) •

Barrel of Fun [NY, nightclub] (radio) •

Baskin-Robbins [NY, ice cream parlors] (radio) •

Batt for Governor {ID] (complete 1994 campaign, including slogan, brochures, radio, TV, newspaper ads, flyers, billboards, speeches, statement papers, PR, collateral)

Bazaar [ID, clothing stores] (radio, newspaper, direct mail, outdoor, collateral) •

Behrman Homes [ID, custom home builders] (folder)

The Benchmark [ID, outdoor clothing and gear] (television)

Bennett-Ireland [NY; maker of fireplace furnishings and accessories] (brochures, displays, videos, P-O-P, PR, collateral, packaging, instructions for assembly)•

Benson Ranches [OR; quarter horse breeders] (newspaper & magazine)

Arthur Berry & Co. [NW Regional, business brokers] (brochure, print) •

Big Bad John’s Tape World [NY, audio equipment & supplies] (radio)

Big Brothers and Big Sisters [NW Regional]  (pro bono brochures, flyers, collateral)

Big O [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Billings Racquetball Club [MT] (newspaper, radio, brochures)

Norm Bishop Volkswagen [ID, car dealership] (radio, print, PR) •

Blier-Connelly [NY, skating rink construction] (radio)

Bliss Valley Growers [ID, commercial mushroom operation] (A/V)

Boarding House [ID, restaurant] (radio)

Boise Basin Chamber of Commerce [ID] (brochure, signage for Idaho City visitors'            center) •

Boise Cascade Corporation [National] (brochure, posters, video scripts) •

Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau [ID] (direct mail campaign)

Boise Dental Center [ID] (brochure)

Boise Heating & Air Conditioning [ID]  (newspaper, TV, radio)

Boise Jazz Project [ID] (grant proposal, PR, print ad, collateral)

Boise Magazine (feature article, spring 1998)

Boise Physical Therapy [ID] (brochure)

Braden Stauts, D.D.S. [ID] (brochure)

Brass Lamp Pizza [ID] (radio)

Bresee Chevytown [NY, car dealer] (radio)

Bristol Heights [ID, real estate development] (brochure)

James Brown Enterprises [NY, entertainment] (radio)

BSU Safety & Health Consultation Program [ID] (brochure)

Buffalo Festival [NY, concert promoter] (radio) •

Builder/Architect Magazine [NW Regional] (feature articles)

Buddy's Italian Restaurants [ID] (menu) •

Wally Byam Caravan Club [NW Regional] (brochure for international rally)


Cactus Petes [NV, casino & resort] (newspaper, print ads) •

Café Garzone [NY] (radio)

Cafè Ole [ID] (radio)

Calendar Clipper [National, bar/cafe marketing program] (series intro/how to use)

Calliope Talent Agency [NY] (radio)

Camille Beckman [Nationally distributed skin-care products] (newsletter) •

Canyon Vocational Center [ID] (newspaper)

Capital Matrix  [NW regional, Certified development corporation for SBA 504 loans] (brochures,     newspaper, newsletter, PR, direct mail, ID package) •

CareerCo [NY, employment agency] (radio)

Carl's, Jr., Restaurants [National] (brochure)

Carrier Air Conditioning [NY] (brochures, retailer promotion kits, collateral) •

Carroll’s Cinemas [NY] (radio)

Carroll's Restaurants [NY, now Burger King;] (TV, radio, PR)

Cary’s Truck Driving School [NY] (radio)

The Castaways [NY, restaurant] (radio)

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception [Syracuse, NY, historic building] (brochure, poster) •

CCF Frame & Collision Service [NY] (radio)

Cedars Restaurant [ID]  (PR, posters, newspaper)

CellNet of Idaho [Cellular phone service] (print ads)

Centro [Upstate NY bus line] (radio) •

Chappell’s Junior Directions & Outer Limits [NY, women’s clothing] (radio) •

Charney’s [NY, clothing stores] (radio) •

Chef America [CA, food products] (brochure, theme lines)

Clark Music [NY, stereo component & musical instrument retailer] (radio) •

Classic Signs Express [ID] (print ads)

Coldwell Banker-Aspen Realty [ID] (direct mail)

Coles for Mayor [ID] (complete campaign, including brochures, flyers, radio, TV, PR, newspaper)

Columbia School of Broadcasting [NY, education] (radio)

Commercial Brokerage Co. [ID]  (Public relations)

Commercial Tire [ID] (radio)

CommTek Publishing, Satellite ORBIT magazine [ID & DC] (articles, direct mail, Christmas cards, video and A/V scripts, magazine ads newsletters, contests, collateral) •

Community Motors [NY, snowmobiles & supplies] (radio)

Competition Porsche/Audi [NY, car dealer] (radio)

Cooper Decorating [NY] (radio)

Coral Reef Aquarium [NY, exotic fish] (radio) •

Costume Shop [ID] (newspaper ad series) •

Country Tavern [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Court House [ID & MT, fitness centers] (newspaper, radio, TV) •

E. Cramer & Son [NY, clothing stores] (radio)

Creno & Kelly [NY, Bowlers’ pro shop] (radio)

Crouse-Hinds [NY; maker of lighting systems, most of the world's stoplights] (brochures, print) •

Cutlery Shoppe (National, direct mail, catalog)


Dairymen's Creamery Association [ID]  (brochures)

Davies-Reed  [ID, importer] (print ads, direct mail)

Day-Lee Foods [California] (product names)

Decision Point, Inc. [ID, computer software for business] (brochures, fact sheets, direct mail, PR) •

DeJulio’s Army-Navy Store [NY] (radio)

Diet Center (complete national campaigns, including annual theme, newspaper,   radio, TV, Yellow Pages ads, newsletter, press releases, franchise materials) •

Discount Records [NY chain] (radio) •

D’Jima’s [NY, fur coat retailer] (radio) •

Doctor’s Pet Centers [NY] (radio) •

Doremus for Governor [ID] (brochure, collateral)

Down Under [NY, custom leather goods] (radio) •

Dr. Joan Gail [ID, Psychologist] (video packaging)

Dutch Pantry [NW regional, restaurants] (radio)


Earhart for Governor [ID] (complete campaign)

Eastern Talent Association [NY, concert promoters] (radio)

Economy Bookstore [NY] (radio)

Elmwood Laundromat [NY] (radio)

Emerald Park [ID, real estate development] (radio, TV, print)

Entech Corp. [Manufacturers of internationally distributed anti-friction metal conditioner, related products] (pocket folder, direct mail, brochures, PR, catalog) •


Fabco Fireplaces [ID] (TV, radio, newspaper, brochure)

Fairmount Miniature Golf [NY] (radio)

Falso Heating [NY, heating and air conditioning] (radio)

Farmers National Bank [ID] (radio, TV, newspaper, brochures, collateral) •

Fay’s Drugs [NY chain] (radio) •

Finnegan’s {NY, car dealership] (radio)

First Eagle Corporation [ID,, mining exploration] (brochure, prospectus)

First Federal Savings [ID] (newspaper, radio, TV, brochures, PR)

First Interstate Bank [NW regional, now Wells Fargo] (newspaper & magazine) •

ForBio America/Plant Biotics [Australia-headquartered; operations in England, CA & ID; plant genetics] (brochure)

Forest Hotel [NY] (radio)

Sam Francis [CA, fine artist] (brochure, PR) •

Frank’s Pizza [NY] (radio)

Fred’s Men’s Shop [NY] (radio)

Fred’s Sport Motors [NY, motorcycle dealership] (radio)

Friends of Capital City [ID, beautification project] (newspaper, direct mail, brochure) •

Frink Sno-Plows [International; inventor and world's largest manufacturer of snowplows] (brochures, spec sheets, PR, trade ads, contests, direct mail, collateral) •


G & S Distributing [NW regional, purveyors of PREVENT disposable breath alcohol detectors] (flyer, direct mail) •

Gargoyles Sunglasses [WA] (PR)

Gary’s Clothing Store {NY] (radio) •

Gay 90s [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Gem State Gymnastics [ID] (brochures, flyers, TV, radio, direct mail)

Global Travel [NW regional] (radio, direct mail, newsletters) •

GME, Inc. [NW regional, investments] (brochure)

Golbon [National, foodservice distribution network] (trade ads, brochures, video) •

"Great Days Afield" [National syndicated fishing show] (scripts)

Greater Syracuse Youth For Christ [NY, non-profit organization] (radio)

Green House [ID, graphic designers] (Christmas card, promo brochures) •

Greenhurst at Longbranch [ID, nursery/garden center] (radio, newspaper)

Greenwood's Ski Haus [ID] (newspaper, radio) •

Grizzly Bear Pizza [NW regional] (print, radio, PR) •

Group One [NW regional, real estate brokers] (newspaper, flyers, brochures)

Guitar Studio [NY] (radio)

Gym Outfitters  [ID] (print ads)


Hair Den [NY, barbershop] (radio)

Hair Shoppe [NY, hair stylist] (radio) •

Hall & McChesney [NY, microfilm and microfiche] (brochures, PR) •

                Hamilton Racing [ID, corporate sponsorship for Indy-style racers] (brochure, insert) •

Happy Dog [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Hardlife Boutique [NY, water beds] (radio)

Hawley Troxell [ID, attorneys] (brochure)

Headquarters Boutique [NY, clothing & novelty shops] (radio) •

Healthwise [ID, wellness promoter] (newspaper, magazine, manual copy)

Healthwords [ID, wellness promoter] (brochure, print series)

Healthworks [ID, psychologist] (print)

Helluva Good Cheese [International]  (brochures, folders, trade ads, P-O-P, PR, TV, radio, billboards, packaging, collateral) •

Hennessey's at the Top [ID, restaurant] (newspaper, collateral)

Heritage Park [NY, residential development] (radio)

Hewlett-Packard (print, instructional brochure, international marketing matrix for new printer, packaging translated into 20 languages)

Homco [ID, residential builder] (capabilities brochure)

Home Dairies [ID] (TV, radio, newspaper, direct mail, video) •

Home Run [ID, real estate] (brochure, print ads) •

Home-Style Industries [National, bedding manufacturers]  (Complete Style-Rest campaign, including promo sheets, audio tapes, print, A/V, collateral) •

Hosford Larson Rudeen [ID, architects] (brochure, proposal to satisfy RFP)

House of Tape [NY, recordings and stereo equipment] (radio)

H.J. Howe [NY jewelers] (radio) •

Hungry Charlie’s [NY restaurant chain] (radio) •

                Hydro-Press USA [ID, industrial trash compaction] (booklets, brochures, direct mail, manual, PR)*

Hypnosis & Personal Development Center [ID] (brochure)


Idaho Apple Commission (posters, brochures, PR, trade show booth, collateral) •

Idaho CEO Magazine (feature articles, print, PR, radio)*

Idaho Citizens for Freedom & Jobs [Political advocacy] (tabloids, newspaper ads, brochures)

Idaho City Chamber of Commerce (brochures, signage) •

Idaho Commission on the Arts (brochure)

Idaho Department of Law (complete campaign for "Don't Let Idaho Go to Pot," including radio, TV, poster, PR, collateral) •

Idaho Education Association (poster) •

Idaho First National Bank [Later West One]  (newspaper, radio, newsletters,        articles, flyers) •

Idaho Foot & Ankle [Physicians] (brochure)

Idaho Governor's Cup [National golf event to benefit education] (brochures, PR, direct mail) •

Idaho Humanities Council (poster, brochure)

Idaho Hunger Action Council (pro bono brochure) •

Idaho Lottery (campaign proposal)

Idaho Primary Care Association (web site content)

Idaho Shakespeare Festival (poster) •

Idaho Special Olympics (direct mail, brochure)

Idaho Sports Medicine Institute (brochure) •

                Idaho Transportation Department (Anti-littering TV campaign with actor

                Wilford Brimley; Adopt-a-Highway program TV, radio, newspaper) •

Idaho Wildlife Federation (“Save the Salmon” insert)

Image National [ID, sign company] (magazine ads)

Inficon Leybold-Heraeus [Germany & NY; makers of surface analysis equipment, residual gas analyzers, vacuum deposition monitors] (brochures, print, A/V, PR, folders, booklets, collateral) •

Intermountain Environcare [ID] (brochure)

International House of Pancakes [NW regional] (FSIs, coupons)

Internet Outlet [ID, internet software, hardware & service] (TV)

Interstate Food Processing Corporation [ID] (trade ads)

InterWest Management Associates [ID] (brochure)

Ionics, Inc. [CN; maker of programmable chemical analyzers] (brochures, PR) •

ITC Companies [UT; telecommunications] (flyers, magazine ads)


Jacksons Food Stores [ID & NV] (radio, newspaper, PR, poster, direct mail) •

The Jailhouse [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Jam Factory [NY, nightclub] (radio)

J & B Bookstore [NY] (radio)

Joker’s Place [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Whit Jones [ID, psychologist, author] (print, ghostwritten how-to-sleep book]

Joslyn & Morris Lithoprinters [ID] (created children’s game/fun kit, company    capabilities brochure) •

Edward Joy Lighting Center [NY] (radio) •

Jreck Subs [NY chain] (radio) •


Kastle Chocolate [ID] (specialties catalog) •

KBOI Radio  [ID](billboard, transit, radio, TV) •

Kendall Employment Plus [ID] (orientation video, TV, radio)

Keypunch Academy [NY, computer instruction] (radio)

Kimberly Furniture [NY] (radio)

KIVI-TV  [ID] (newspaper series)

KJ’s [NY, supermarket hardware stores] (radio)

Laurence Knighton [ID, designer, illustrator, Walt Disney cartoonist] (brochure, direct mail) •

Kovo's Salsas [NW regional] (on-package brochure) •

Kuyahoora Outdoor Sales [NY, snowmobiles] (radio)


Lakeland Garage [NY, snowmobiles & clothing] (radio)

La Pizzeria [National] (print)

Alan Lance for Idaho House (handout cards, radio)

Learned-Mahn [National, medical software] (brochures, flyers)

LeClair's [National, barbecue and sweet & sour sauce] (packaging) •

                Lempesis for Lt. Governor [ID] (complete campaign, including radio, TV, newspaper, billboards, collateral) •

Leroy for Lt. Governor & Leroy for Governor [ID] (complete campaigns)

Lexington Hills [ID, real estate development] (newspaper, magazine ads, radio,    billboards, PR, brochures) •

Lincoln National Bank [NY]  (newspaper, brochures, flyers, posters, radio, PR, collateral) •

Lippert’s Florists [NY] (radio)

Lissons [NY, jewelers] (radio)

Liverpool Golf & County Club [NY] (radio)

Lloyd’s [NY, television sales & service] (radio)

Loew’s Theaters [NY] (radio)

                Loon Outdoors [National, environmentally-friendly fly fishing products] (catalogs, packaging) •

Lott-Karran Company [ID, kitchen sinks] (brochure)

Louie's [ID, Italian Restaurant] (TV)

Lyndon Lawns [NY, outdoor furniture] (radio)


Mac's Hobby & Craft Superstores [ID, OR & UT] (TV campaign, print) •

Mad Hatter [NY, nightclub] (radio) •

Madison's Furniture [ID] (TV) •

Magic Bus [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Mark III Music [NY, concert promoters] (radio)

Jim Marshall Prosperity Seminars [National] (newspaper, flyers)

Martin’s Furniture [NY] (radio)

McMurray for US Congress [ID] (complete campaign: radio, TV, print, PR, collateral)

Medical Software of Idaho (trade ads, direct mail, PR, flyers)

MedXpress  [ID, emergency clinics] (newspaper campaign) •

Meltzer’s Auto Supply [NY] (radio)

Mercy Medical Center [ID] (print)

Metal Building Components [MT] (video)

Metropolitan Bank [NY] (radio)

Meyers & Pluckebaum [ID, advertising agency & publisher] (print, PR, radio)

Michael’s Men’s Shop [NY] (radio) •

Micron [International, computer/computer chip manufacturers] (direct mail, magazine ads, brochures) •

Middle Fork River Tours [ID] (brochure, inserts) •

Mid-River Marketing  [ID, outdoor gear] (flyer, collateral)

MIICOR [ID, computer sales & service] (brochure)

                Miller & Miller River Trips (ID, brochure, poster, direct mail, fact sheets, collateral) •

Millwright Construction [ID] (flyer) •

Modular Storage Concepts [CA] (print ads)

Molenaar Jewelers [ID & OR] (radio, direct mail)

Montana Boots (catalog, flyers) •

Moonchild Boutique [NY, clothing & accessories] (radio) •

Moore Financial Group [UT] (print, brochure) •

                Morrison Knudsen [International construction] (brochures, print, videos, flyers, fact sheets for Railroad and Helicopter Divisions, and for Land Communications Group)

Mountain Bell [Later US West, then Qwest] (multi-page newspaper inserts announcing     divestiture and new fiber optic technology, print, poster) •

Mr. Burke’s [NY, clothing] (radio)

Mr. Joseph’s Beauty Salon [NY] (radio)

Mr. Panel [NY, unfinished furniture] (radio)

Mr. Salvatore’s Coiffures [NY]  (radio)

My Brother’s Place [NY, nightclub] (radio 


National Bank of Geneva [NY]  (newspaper, flyers, direct mail, PR, collateral) •

                The Nature Conservancy of Alaska ("Signature" video, 30-minute video pilot project)

Nedrow Nursery [NY] (radio)

Will Nelson [ID, fine artist specializing in wildlife] (brochure, direct mail, print ads)

Niles Auto Supply [NY] (radio)

Northland Division [NY; manufacturer of small custom engines] (brochures, PR) •

Northpoint Mall [Spokane< WA] (TV, outdoor, print, collateral) •

Northwest Arts  [ID, fine artists group] (print, brochures, direct mail)

Northwest Mushroom Company [ID] (direct mail, brochure, fact sheets)

Northwest Printing [ID] (brochures, direct mail, video) •

The Nude Shop [NY, unfinished furniture] (radio)


Oakport International [ID, pocketknives] (direct mail)

Oak Ridge [NY, residential development] (radio)

Odell's Clarified Butter [National] (trade ads)

Ole Mug [NY, nightclub] (radio) •

Omni Studio [ID, graphic design firm] (demo reel script)

                Oneida Silversmiths [National]  (instruction manual, sales kits for door-to-door silverware and china salesmen, PR) •

Onondaga Aquatic Club [NY] (radio)

Oppenheimer Company [ID, food distributor] (print, trade ads, brochures, video) •

Ore-Ida Foods [National[ (newspaper, FSIs, P-O-P, letters, direct mail, flyers, video, film & A/V scripts, product names, brochures, sales kits, posters, radio, packaging, PR, coupons, collateral; Weight Watchers campaign for Texas) •

                Otter for Lt. Governor [ID]  (complete 1994 campaign, including direct mail, TV, radio,        newspaper, collateral)

Owyhee Plaza [ID, hotel and restaurant] (brochure)


                Pacific Northwest Broadcasting [ID]  [KBOI, KLCI, KSEI, KMGI radio stations]  (billboards, TV, direct mail, newspaper, PR, contests, collateral) •

Pacific Steel Fabricators [ID] (brochure) •

Pacific Western Beverage [Regional] (radio, print, in-store displays, contest) •

Page Data [ID, paging sales & service] (radio)

Paragon Commercial Group [ID, real estate] (pocket folder, display ad)

Park Pointe Realty {ID] (brochure)

Park View Apartments [ID]  (print) •

Patrician’s Pizza House [NY] (radio)

Pay Less Drugs [NW regional, now Rite Aid] (posters, flyers, employee communications, sales presentations, direct mail) •

Pearl Shoes [NY] (radio)

Pet Paraphernalia [NY, pet & pet supplies shops] (radio) •

Peter’s Men’s Shop [NY] (radio)

Pierce Muffler Shop [NY] (radio)

Piper Pub [ID] (collateral) •

                Pizza Hut [120 restaurants in ID, WA, OR, NV & CA, 60 restaurants in NC, MD, VA] (TV, radio, video, coupons, PR, flyers, newspaper, PSAs, contests, table tents, place mats, in-store displays, collateral) •

The Place [NY, nightclub] (radio) •

Plan B [ID, computer troubleshooters] (direct mail) •

Plus Office Services [NY] (radio)

Poco Lounge [NY] (radio)

Pojo’s Family Fun Center [ID] (radio)

Poorhouse [NY restaurant chain] (radio) •

Positive Action [ID, primary teaching program] (brochure, children's stories)

Precision Craft Log Structures [ID] (trade ad series) •

Premier Foods [OR & UT] (spec sheets, direct mail, brochure) •

Prep Department [ID, illustration and graphic design] (brochure, postcards) •

Primary Health [Emergency clinics] (direct mail, newspaper, flyers, PR, investor brochure) •

Prism Productions [ID, video production] (direct mail)

Pro Golf of Idaho (television)

Project Help [ID, employment for the elderly] (pro bono brochure, poster)

Pro-Team [NW regional, industrial strength vacuum cleaners and attachments] (print, public relations)

Provident Federal Savings [ID] (print, direct mail, brochures, poster, TV, radio,     collateral) •

P.S. Ltd. [ID, Professional psychologists] (print)

Psychological Associates [ID] (print ads)

Pulver Laboratories [International, product regulations seminars & workshops] (print ads)

Pumice Products, Inc. [ID] (trade ads)


Quail Ridge  [ID, upscale real estate development] (brochure, radio, TV, outdoor, print, PR, newsletter) •

Quick 'N Easy [CA, food products] (package copy)


Radio Shack [NY] (radio)

Ralph’s Sport Center [NY, motorcycle sales] (radio)

Rawlings Construction [MT] (video)

Raymour’s [NY furniture stores] (radio) •

RC Cola [NW regional] (P-O-P, TV, radio, contest)

Reachout [ID, pro bono mental health hotline] (radio, posters) •

James Read [ID, psychologist] (print) •

Record Exchange/The Edge [ID, music and gift store] (brochures, print, radio, collateral) •

Red Coach [NY, nightclub] (radio)

                Referendum #1 [ID, Right-to-Work] (complete 1986 campaign, including radio, TV with actor Charleton Heston, newspaper, brochures, flyers) •

Re/Max of Boise  [Real estate development] (print ads)

Jose Reynoso [ID, fine artist] (PR)

Rice Road [CA, food products] (sales sheets)

Rincover Associates [ID, financial planners] (print) •

Ringert for Senate [ID] (brochure, handouts, radio, TV)

RMH Company [ID, property management & charter air service] (print, brochure) •

The Roasterè [NW regional, coffee manufacturer] (packaging) •

Robert-Martin Company [ID, real estate brokers] (brochure, slogan)

Rocktile [ID, natural rock building & landscaping products] (brochure) •

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation [ID, naturalist organization] (direct mail, collateral)

Rodeway Inn (ID, outdoor, airport posters)

Rogers Brothers Seed Company [International] (brochure, sales sheets)

Roger’s Slack Shack [NY] (radio)

Rooster West [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Round the Corner [National restaurant chain] (radio, direct mail, posters, table tents, collateral) •

Run of Stone [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Russell Corporation [NW regional, construction company] (brochures) •

A.F. Ryan & Sons Dodge [NY] (radio)


Salem Press [CA, publisher of references] (literary biographies)

Salon Rodeo Drive [ID, hair styling] (TV)

Sassy Office Systems [ID, equipment rental] (radio, newspaper, direct mail)

Satellite ORBIT Magazine [National, satellite dish publication] (video and A/V presentations, contests, print ads, direct mail) •

Sawyer's [ID, exterminators] (radio, brochure, direct mail) •

The Scene [NY, nightclub] (radio) •

SCP Global Technologies [International manufacturer of automated computer wafer washers & dryers] (capabilities brochure)

Security Title Company of Idaho (newspaper)

Selkirk Metalbestos [NC-based manufacturer of industrial piping]

                (videos, trade ads, A/V)

Sexty's [ID, Gift and jewelry stores] (radio, newspaper, direct mail, collateral) •

The Shack [NY, restaurant] (radio)

Shangri-La East [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Willis Shaw Express [ID, trucking company] (print ads)

Shifty’s [New York nightclub] (radio)

Shoestring, Inc. [Sun Valley, ID, "Willy's Easy Laces" stretch shoelaces] (brochures, flyers, packaging, video, P-O-P, collateral) •

Simmonds Precision [NY, makers of custom resistance temperature detectors, thermocouples, rare-earth alternators] (brochures, PR)•

J.R. Simplot Company [International agribusiness]] (brochures, feature articles, PR, print, radio, TV, video & film scripts, in-store demo materials, military broker ads; materials for regional Simplot Games) •

Stan Sinclair [ID, photographer] (poster, direct mail, brochure, web site) •

Roland Smith for Idaho Senate  [ID] (handouts, direct mail)

Smyser for US Congress  [ID] (complete campaign)

Snake River Alliance [ID, anti-nuclear organization] (flyer, slogan)

Dave Snodgrass [CA, drum lessons] (print ads)

South Warren News [NY, newsstand] (radio)

The Space Game [National] (instruction booklet, board for nationally distributed game)

Spacey’s Brother (ID, 90,000-word biography, web site content for book promotion: spaceysbrother.com)

Spease’s Ltd. [NY, clothing stores] (radio)

Special Days [ID, gift store] (brochure) •

Sportman Center [NY, snowmobiles & accessories] (radio)

Startime [NY, concert promoters] (radio) •

Stereo World [NY] (radio) •

Stinker Stations  [Regional gas station/convenience store chain] (radio campaigns, PR) •

St. Luke's Regional Medical Center [ID]  (children’s brochure, collateral) •

Stockbridge Valley Flying Club [NY, flying instruction] (radio)

The Storm House [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Streamside [ID, upscale residential development] (brochure, manual introduction)

Stylemates [ID, hair care products] (print)

Summer Lawns [ID, lawn care] (direct mail) •

Summit Mountaineering [ID, climbing and hiking gear] (radio)

Sunburst Boutique [NY, clothing] (radio)

Sunlighting Lamp and Shade Center [NY] (radio) •

Sunquest Solar Systems  [ID, passive & active solar energy products] (brochure)

Sunset Interiors [ID, flooring & wallpaper] (newspaper, radio, TV, collateral) •

Sun Valley Health Institute [ID] (newspaper, video, A/V) •

Superior Electric [NY, lighting] (radio)

Superior Sound Stereo Center [NY] (radio)

Surga Sharp Systems [CA, surgical instrument repair & service] (brochure)

Swanson & Setzke [ID, attorneys] (TV)

Symms for U.S. Senate (complete 1986 re-election campaign, including TV, radio, brochures, flyers, billboards, posters, PR, collateral)

                Syracuse Cablesystems (NY, complete introductory campaign, including television, radio, outdoor, brochures, direct mail, PR, collateral) •

Syracuse Manpower [NY, employment agency] (radio)

Syracuse New Times [NY, publication] (radio)

Syracuse Savings Bank [NY]  (radio, newspaper, PR, collateral) •

Syracuse Symphony Orchestra [ [NY] (brochures, posters, direct mail, PR, collateral) •

Syracuse University (posters, direct mail) •

Syroco [NY; household furnishings] (catalogs, magazine ads, PR, collateral) •


Jerry Tarter [ID, licensed public accountant] (brochure)

TCBY [NW regional, frozen yogurt chain] (radio, newspaper) •

Archie B. Teater [ID, fund for handicapped] (pro bono brochure)

Terra Distributing [ID, wholesale electronics] (direct mail)

Thomas Development [ID]  (company profile)

Thriftway [ID, building materials chain] (newspaper) •

Today's Physician Magazine (feature articles)

Toggenburg Ski Center [NY, recreation area] (radio)

Tom’s Clam Cove [NY, restaurant] (radio)

Tomlinson & Associates [ID, property & investment management] (brochure) •

Tops & Bottoms [NY, clothing] (radio)

Townsend Shoes  [NY] (radio)

Tracy’s Karate [NY, martial arts instruction] (radio)

Treasure Valley Bank [NY] (folder, brochure)

Treasure Valley Litho  [NY] (flyer)

Trus Joist Corporation [International, manufacturer of laminated building products] (brochure, print ads) •

Tub o’ Suds [NY, nightclub] (radio)

Tuesday's Child [ID, art gallery] (print)

Twin Falls Bank & Trust  [ID] (newspaper, radio, TV, brochures, PR, collateral) •


Consuelo Udave [WA; fine artist] (direct mail)

Uhl's Stamps  [ID] (radio)

Uncle Sam’s [NY, nightclub] (radio) •

Uncommon Graffiti [OR, restroom advertising] (brochure, direct mail, PR) •

United Cable Television [NW regional, changed to TCI, then AT&T Cable Services, then Cable One] (TV series)

United First Federal Savings [ID] (newspaper, brochures, PR, radio, TV, direct mail) •

University of Idaho (video scripts about education of deaf & blind child)

US West [Regional, changed to Qwest] (newspaper, magazine, PR, inserts) •

US West Foundation  [Regional] (print, annual reports) •


Val’s Motors [NY, auto dealership] (radio)

Valley Bank [ID]  (PR, print, radio)

Valli Information Systems  [ID] (print)

V-Gay [NY, fabrics] (radio)

Video Motion Images [ID, video production studio] (demo reel script, feature articles)

Videon [ID, videotape & video equipment rentals & sales] (newspaper, direct mail, booklets, collateral) •


Washington Group International [international construction company] (newsletter)

Wayne’s Bike Shop [NY]  (radio)

West Genesee Car Wash [NY] (radio) •

What’s Your Beef? [NY, restaurant] (radio) •

Whiteman Industries [National, manufacturer of Power Trowel] (instructional videos)

Wicker & Wood [NY, furniture store] (radio)

Wilkinson for Senator [ID] (handouts)

Pete Wilson Design Works [ID, graphic designer] (PR, web site)

Wilson’s Jewelers [NY] (radio) •

Winters of Syracuse [NY, men’s clothing] (radio)

Lynn Wisehart [National, travel lecturer] (brochure)

Woolworth’s [NY] (radio)

World Book Encyclopedia  {NE regional] (radio)

World Envelope Manufacturing, Inc. [GA] (trade ads) •


Yellow Balloon [NY, nightclub] (radio) •


Ziebart’s [NY, automobile rust-proofing] (radio)

Zot Software [ID]  (flyers, instruction booklet, packaging) •



(Note: some clients fit more than one category)


Ad agencies, graphic designers, illustrators & photographers

                Apollo Group

                Calendar Clipper

                Green House

                Laurence Knighton

                Meyers & Pluckebaum

                Will Nelson

                Omni Studio

                Prep Department

                Prism Productions

                Stan Sinclair

                Consuelo Udave

                Uncommon Graffiti [restroom advertising]

                Video Motion Images [video production studio]

                Pete Wilson Design Works



                ForBio America/Plant Biotics

                J.R. Simplot Company

Art & artists

                Art Attack Gallery

                Sam Francis

            Idaho Commission on the Arts

                Laurence Knighton

                Will Nelson

            Northwest Arts

                Jose Reynoso

                Tuesday's Child

                Consuelo Udave

Audio & video equipment & recordings

                Big Bad John’s Tape World

                Clark Music

                Discount Records

                House of Tape

                Lloyd’s TV Sales & Service

            Radio Shack

                Record Exchange/The Edge

                Stereo World

            Superior Sound Stereo Center


Automotive aftermarket


                Auto Finishers

                CCF Frame & Collision

                Commercial Tire

                Entech Corp

            Meltzer’s Auto Supply

                Niles Auto Supply

                Pierce Muffler Shop

                Ziebart’s [rust-proofing]

Automotive sales

                Norm Bishop Volkswagen

                Bresee Chevytown

                Competition Porsche/Audi


                A.F. Ryan & Sons Dodge

                Val’s Motors

Bicycles, motorcycles & snowmobiles

                Advance Cyclery

                Community Motors

                Fred’s Sport Motors

                Kuyahoora Outdoor Sales

                Lakeland Garage

                Ralph’s Sport Center

                Sportman Center

                Wayne’s Bike Shop

Book, magazine & newspaper retailing

                Economy Bookstore

                J & B Bookstore

                South Warren News


                "Great Days Afield" [syndicated television show]

                KBOI Radio


                Pacific Northwest Broadcasting  [KBOI, KLCI, KSEI, KMGI radio stations]

                Syracuse Cablesystems

            United Cable Television

Business management, investments & financial planning

                Applied Management Associates

                Aurora Capital Group

                Capital Matrix

                Commercial Brokerage Co

                GME, Inc

                InterWest Management Associates

                Rincover Associates

                Tomlinson & Associates

Casinos, resorts & gaming

                Cactus Petes

                Idaho Lottery

                Toggenburg Ski Center

Cellular phones, telecommunication & service

                CellNet of Idaho

                ITC Companies

                Mountain Bell

            US West


                Albertson Foundation

                Arthritis Foundation

                Big Brothers and Big Sisters

                Idaho Governor's Cup

Idaho Hunger Action Council

            Idaho Special Olympics

                Project Help


                Archie B. Teater [fund for handicapped]

                US West Foundation


Chemical analysis & analyzers

                Inficon Leybold-Heraeus

                Ionics, Inc


Clothing, footwear & apparel


                The Benchmark

                Chappell’s Junior Directions & Outer Limits


                Costume Shop

                E. Cramer & Son

                DeJulio’s Army-Navy Store

                D’Jima’s Furriers

                Fred’s Men’s Shop

                Gary’s Clothing Store

                Headquarters Boutique

                Michael’s Men’s Shop

            Mid-River Marketing

                Montana Boots

Moonchild Boutique

Mr. Burke’s

Pearl Shoes

Peter’s Men’s Shop

Roger’s Slack Shack

            Spease’s Ltd.

                Sunburst Boutique

                Tops & Bottoms

Townsend Shoes

Winters of Syracuse


Computer hardware & software retail sales & service

                Decision Point, Inc.


                Internet Outlet


                Medical Software of Idaho



                Plan B

                Valli Information Systems

                Zot Software


Computer hardware & software manufacture


                Inficon Leybold-Heraeus


                Medical Software of Idaho


                SCP Global Technologies [automated computer wafer washers & dryers]



                Behrman Homes



                Metal Building Components

                Millwright Construction

                Morrison Knudsen

            Precision Craft Log Structures

                Rawlings Construction

                Russell Corporation

            Washington Group International


Convenience stories

                Jacksons Food Stores

                Stinker Stations



                Canyon Vocational Center

                Cary’s Truck Driving School

                Columbia School of Broadcasting

                Idaho Education Association

                Keypunch Academy

                Jim Marshall Prosperity Seminars

                Positive Action [primary teaching program]

                Pulver Laboratories [product regulations seminars & workshops]

                Stockbridge Valley Flying Club [flying instruction]

                Syracuse University

                Tracy’s Karate

                University of Idaho

                Lynn Wisehart [travel lecturer]




                Kendall Employment Plus

Keypunch Academy

Syracuse Manpower


Entertainment, culture & promotion

                James Brown Enterprises

                Boise Jazz Project

                Buffalo Festival

                Calliope Talent Agency

                Eastern Talent Association

                Fairmount Miniature Golf

                Hamilton Racing

            Idaho Shakespeare Festival

                Mark III Music

                Middle Fork River Tours

                Miller & Miller River Trips

            Pojo’s Family Fun Center


            Syracuse Symphony Orchestra

                Toggenburg Ski Center


Entrepreneurial projects

                Ball Hog

                First Eagle Corporation

                The Space Game


Farming & ranching

                Anderson Orchards

                Benson Ranches

                Bliss Valley Growers

                Northwest Mushroom Company

                J.R. Simplot Company


Fast food

                Arctic Circle


                Carl’s, Jr.

                Carroll’s Restaurants (now Burger King)

                TCBY [frozen yogurt chain]



                Bank of America

                Farmers National Bank

                First Federal Savings

                First Interstate Bank

                Idaho First National Bank

                Lincoln National Bank

                Metropolitan Bank

                Moore Financial Group

                National Bank of Geneva

                Provident Federal Savings

                Syracuse Savings Bank

                Treasure Valley Bank

                Twin Falls Bank & Trust

                United First Federal Savings

            Valley Bank


Fireplace furnishings & accessories


                Fabco Fireplaces


Food and variety retailers

                Albertson’s Supermarkets

                Fay’s Drugs

                KJ’s [hardware]

                Ore-Ida Foods

            Pay Less Drugs [now Rite Aid]

                Thriftway [hardware & building materials chain]



Food & drink manufacturing & processing

                B&D Foods

                Chef America

                Day-Lee Foods

                Helluva Good Cheese

            Home Dairies

                Interstate Food Processing Corporation

                Kastle Chocolate

                Kovo's Salsas

                La Pizzeria

                LeClair's Sauces

                Odell's Clarified Butter

                Ore-Ida Foods

                Pacific Western Beverage

                Premier Foods

                Quick 'N Easy

                RC Cola

                Rice Road

                The Roasterè [coffee manufacturer]

                J.R. Simplot Company


Foodservice distribution


            Oppenheimer Company

J.R. Simplot Company


Furniture & household furnishing retailers

                Hardlife Boutique

                Kimberly Furniture

                Lott-Karran Company [kitchen sinks]

                Lyndon Lawns [outdoor furniture]

                Madison's Furniture

                Martin’s Furniture

                Modular Storage Concepts

                Mr. Panel

                The Nude Shop [unfinished furniture]


            Office equipment

                Sassy Office Systems [furniture & equipment]


            Wicker & Wood


Gardening, florists, nurseries & landscaping

                Greenhurst at Longbranch

                Intermountain Environcare

                Lippert’s Florists

                Nedrow Nursery

                Summer Lawns


Health, fitness & exercise facilities


                Billings Racquetball Club

                Court House

                Diet Center

                Gem State Gymnastics

                Onondaga Aquatic Club


Health & beauty products & services

                Audiology Associates

                Camille Beckman

                Hair Den

Hair Shoppe

Mr. Joseph’s Beauty Salon

Mr. Salvatore’s Coiffures

Salon Rodeo Drive



Heating & Air Conditioning

                Boise Heating & Air Conditioning

                Carrier Air Conditioning

                Falso Heating


Heavy equipment

                Frink Sno-Plows

                Hydro-Press USA [industrial trash compactors]

                Whiteman Industries [power trowels]



                ForBio America/Plant Biotics

                Inficon Leybold-Heraeus

                Ionics, Inc


                SCP Global Technologies [automated computer wafer washers & dryers]

Simmonds Precision [custom resistance temperature detectors, thermocouples, rare-earth alternators]


Hobbies & crafts

                Mac's Hobby & Craft Superstores

                Radio Shack        

Uhl's Stamps


Hotels & motels

                Owyhee Plaza

                Rodeway Inn


Interior decorating

                Cooper Decorating

                Sunset Interiors


Jewelry & gift retailing


                H.J. Howe


            Molenaar Jewelers


                Special Days

                Wilson’s Jewelers


Lighting manufacture & retail


            Edward Joy Lighting Center

                Sunlighting Lamp and Shade Center

                Superior Electric


Metals manufacturing & fabrication

                Acme Manufacturing

                Metal Building Components

                Pacific Steel Fabricators

                Selkirk Metalbestos [industrial piping]


Miscellaneous manufacturing

                Boise Cascade Corporation [wood & forest products]

                Home-Style Industries [furniture]

                Northland Division [small custom engines]

                Pro-Team [industrial strength vacuum cleaners and attachments]

                Pumice Products, Inc.

                Rocktile [natural rock building & landscaping products]

                Rogers Brothers Seed Company

                SCP Global Technologies [automated computer wafer washers & dryers]

Simmonds Precision [custom resistance temperature detectors, thermocouples, rare-earth alternators]

Sunquest Solar Systems

                Trus Joist Corporation [laminated building products]

World Envelope Manufacturing, Inc.


Miscellaneous products, retailers & wholesalers

                Down Under [custom leather goods]

                G & S Distributing [disposable breath alcohol detectors]

Gargoyles Sunglasses

                Northpoint Mall

                Shoestring, Inc. [Willy's Easy Laces" stretch shoelaces]

                Spacey’s Brother (90,000-word biography)   

                Terra Distributing [wholesale electronics]

                V-Gay [fabrics]


Music, musicians & musical instruments

                Guitar Studio

                Dave Snodgrass [drum lessons]

                Syracuse Symphony Orchestra


Nightclubs, bars & taverns

                Barrel of Fun

                Big O

            Country Tavern

                Forest Hotel

                Gay 90s

                Happy Dog

                The Jailhouse

Jam Factory

Joker’s Place

Mad Hatter

Magic Bus

My Brother’s Place

Ole Mug

Piper Pub

            The Place

                Poco Lounge

                Red Coach

                Rooster West

                Run of Stone

                The Scene

                Shangri-La East


                The Storm House

                Tub o’ Suds

                Uncle Sam’s

                Yellow Balloon


Organizations & agencies

                American Red Cross

                Area Agency on Aging

                Boise Basin Chamber of Commerce

                Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau

                Wally Byam Caravan Club

                The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception [historic preservation]

                Dairymen's Creamery Association

                Friends of Capital City

                Greater Syracuse Youth For Christ

                Idaho Apple Commission

            Idaho City Chamber of Commerce

Idaho Commission on the Arts

Idaho Department of Law

Idaho Education Association

            Idaho Humanities Council

Idaho Hunger Action Council

                Idaho Special Olympics

                Idaho Transportation Department

                Idaho Wildlife Federation

                The Nature Conservancy of Alaska

            Project Help

                Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

                Snake River Alliance [anti-nuclear organization]


Outdoor advertising & signage

                Classic Signs Express

                Image National


Periodicals & publishers

                Boise Magazine

                Builder/Architect Magazine

                CommTek Publishing

                Idaho CEO Magazine

                Salem Press [publisher of references]

                Satellite ORBIT Magazine

                Syracuse New Times

                Today's Physician Magazine

                World Book Encyclopedia



                Coral Reef Aquarium

                Doctor’s Pet Centers

                Pet Paraphernalia


Physical & mental health providers

                Boise Dental Center

                Boise Physical Therapy

                Braden Stauts, DDS

                BSU Health & Safety Consultation Program

                Dr. Joan Gail

            Healthwise [wellness promoter]

Healthwords [wellness promoter]

                Healthworks [psychologist]

                Hypnosis & Personal Development Center

                Idaho Foot & Ankle

                Idaho Primary Care Association

                Idaho Sports Medicine Institute

                Whit Jones [psychologist]


                Mercy Medical Center

                Primary Health

            P.S. Ltd. [professional psychologists]

                Psychological Associates

                James Read [psychologist]

                St. Luke's Regional Medical Center

                Sun Valley Health Institute


Politics & political issues

                Sara Baker for City Council

                Batt for Governor

            Coles for Mayor

                Doremus for Governor

                Earhart for Governor

                Idaho Citizens for Freedom & Jobs

            Alan Lance for Idaho House

                Lempesis for Lt. Governor

Leroy for Lt. Governor & Leroy for Governor

            McMurray for US Congress

                Otter for Lt. Governor

            Referendum #1 [Right-to-Work]

                Ringert for Senate

                Roland Smith for Idaho Senate 

Smyser for US Congress

Snake River Alliance [anti-nuclear organization]

Symms for U.S. Senate

            Wilkinson for Senator



                Joslyn & Morris Lithoprinters

                Northwest Printing

                Treasure Valley Litho


Real estate sales, rental & development

                Arthur Berry & Co.

                Bristol Heights

                Coldwell Banker-Aspen Realty

                Emerald Park

                Group One

                Heritage Park

                Home Run

                Lexington Hills

                Oak Ridge

                Paragon Commercial Group

                Park Pointe Realty

Park View Apartments

Quail Ridge

Re/Max of Boise

RMH Company [property management & charter air service]

Robert-Martin Company

Security Title Company of Idaho


Thomas Development




                Arturo’s Pizza

                Boarding House

                Brass Lamp Pizza

                Buddy’s Italian Restaurants

                Café Garzone

                Café Ole

                The Castaways

                Cedars Restaurant

                Dutch Pantry

                Frank’s Pizza

            Grizzly Bear Pizza

                Hennessey's at the Top

                Hungry Charlie’s

                International House of Pancakes

                Jreck Subs


                Owyhee Plaza

                Patrician’s Pizza House

                Pizza Hut


                Round the Corner

            The Shack

                Tom’s Clam Cove

                What’s Your Beef?



                Elmwood Laundromat

                Hall & McChesney [microfilm & microfiche]

                Hawley Troxell [attorneys]

                Hosford Larson Rudeen [architects]

                Page Data [paging sales & service]

                Sawyer's [exterminators]

                Surga Sharp Systems [surgical instrument repair & service]

                Swanson & Setzke [attorneys]

                Jerry Tarter [licensed public accountant]

                West Genesee Car Wash


Sporting events, facilities & providers

                Idaho Governor's Cup

                Liverpool Golf & County Club

            Middle Fork River Tours

                Miller & Miller River Trips

            Stockbridge Valley Flying Club [flying instruction]

                Toggenburg Ski Center

                Tracy’s Karate


Sporting products

                Allstate Swimming Pools

                Creno & Kelly

                Cutlery Shoppe

                Greenwood's Ski Haus

                Gym Outfitters

                Loon Outdoors [environmentally-friendly fly fishing products]

                Mid-River Marketing

                Oakport International [pocketknives]

                Pro Golf of Idaho

                Shoestring, Inc. [Willy's Easy Laces" stretch shoelaces]           

                Summit Mountaineering



                Carroll’s Cinemas

                Loew’s Theaters


Travel, transportation & delivery

                Centro [bus line]

                Global Travel

                Willis Shaw Express [trucking company]


Advertising FAQ


For several years early in the 21st century, I answered hundreds of questions on a variety of topics on the now-dead web site AskMe.com. I was top-rated among other “experts” who responded to communal questions in about 20 different categories, including Latin, Greek, French and Russian languages, English composition and grammar, stamps, coins, and other specialized subjects. The following are some of the many answers I gave to questions I fielded in the “Advertising” category.

Advertising in general


Q.        What are the types of advertising? How does each of them affect the buying habit of the people? Please explain these by giving concrete details

A.        Advertising can be broken down into three basic categories:

1. Print

2. Broadcast

3. Everything else


This category includes magazine and newspaper ads, brochures, booklets, pocket folders, company histories, press releases, direct mail and postcards and business letters, flyers, handouts, and similar printed pieces of marketing communications. In general, printed pieces are aimed at an older, more affluent segment of the buying public (i.e., those who don't mind reading, who can afford to subscribe to publications where the ads will seen, or who have a stable address where sales pitches can be mailed). Most combine words and pictures to present an effective, persuasive message. Print ads must usually be targeted to a specific audience; each publication offers a profile of its readers.

ADVANTAGES: Print allows potential customers to study, and reread if necessary, the details of an offer for a product or service, and to make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase. Direct mail, in particular, allows advertisers to target very specific audiences (for example, doctors, who might be in the market for a new medical product), by use of mailing lists. Brochures and booklets can give potential buyers a wealth of information, thereby anticipating and overcoming sales objections.

DISADVANTAGES: Print ads, in all but the most rudimentary forms, are costly, both to produce and to place in various publications. They must be produced well ahead of time, so print is not a flexible medium. It takes a savvy media buyer to place ads in the proper print vehicles to attract desired audiences.



Broadcast includes radio and TV commercials, infomercials, sales or information videos, and web advertising. Because of their short duration (usually 30 or 60 seconds) and dynamic form (offering sound and/or movement and immediacy) TV & radio ads appeal to impulse buyers. In addition, thanks to demographic studies, ads can be targeted precisely to a specific audience of radio listeners (premium rates, and heavy listener-ships apply during "drive times," that is, the hours when radio listeners are most apt to be in their cars, driving to or from work), TV watchers, and web browsers. For example, skateboards and youth-oriented clothing would be good products to advertise during extreme sports shows, while brokerage houses and investment firms would be ideal for programs like "Wall Street Week."

Web banner ads and pop-ups, the up-and-coming medium, seem to fill the gap between print and broadcast, employing elements of both. This form of advertising is still in its infancy, and it is too early to know whether effectiveness outweighs annoyance when computer users are confronted with a constant stream of sales messages.

ADVANTAGES: Broadcast allows considerable flexibility; if a commercial isn't working in one program, it can be easily moved to a new time slot. Again, demographics can make placing ads in programs fairly precise--each quarter, rating books come out for both TV and radio, showing which networks or stations are leading in their markets in numbers of viewers/listeners, according to age group, sex, education, and other parameters. When done right, TV and radio spots can inform, educate and entertain. Better still, they can convince buyers to take immediate action: "Don't wait, call now!" (Apple's memorable "1984" Super Bowl ad, for example, convinced thousands of viewers to invest in personal computers, and literally jump-started today's technological revolution.) In addition, radio commercials are usually quite inexpensive to produce, since they rely only on voices, sound effects, music, and the listener's own imagination. They can also be produced rapidly, allowing fresh information--for example, a politician rebutting his opponent-- to go out over the airwaves in a timely fashion.

DISADVANTAGES: Television commercials, videos and infomercials can be very expensive to produce. While a local ad, using all type, for example, can be done fairly cheaply, it might not prove very effective. At the other extreme, if you use a celebrity spokesperson, backed by a thousand dancing elephants, and employing elaborate special effects, the cost of production could be astronomical. Placement of TV ads in top-rated shows can also be fairly pricey: a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. If your commercial is scheduled for the second half of the game, and it's a runaway by halftime, 75 percent of the viewers may have changed the channel before they have the chance to view your million-dollar ad.



This category includes outdoor (billboards, bus cards, bench cards, posters, signage) which is often intended to attract attention or leave a favorable impression of something, rather than spur an immediate sale. (This may be changing, however, with the prevalence of cell phones, which permit consumers to call a number listed on a billboard and instantly gratify their desire for the featured product.) Also included is collateral, the advertising industry's name for anything that doesn't fall readily into the two main categories above. Such items might include product packaging, hang tags (tags that hang from products), table tents (often found on tables in restaurants), shelf talkers (the rectangular labels inserted into the front of shelves in supermarkets), coupons, point-of-purchase (displays at the check-out counter), aisle displays, wobblers, danglers, and other such brief, colorful messages, generally found in windows or inside shops and stores, which often serve to reinforce an impulse buying decision when the consumer is near the product in question, or actually has it in hand.

ADVANTAGES: Billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising, by their size and prominence, are hard to miss. Packaging can often make the difference in a product's success or failure. The other collateral items can be considered auxiliary sales tools--the main sales pitch has been made elsewhere, and they act as last minute, on-the-spot reminders to consumers.

DISADVANTAGES: Billboards, in particular, are relatively expensive to produce and sites for them, depending upon local ordinances, may be quite limited in number and configuration. All the other collateral items, while not usually costly to produce in quantity, suffer from the same negatives as advertising in general: overexposure and sensory overload. The average American, while driving, watching TV, shopping, or reading magazines and newspapers is exposed to more than 2,000 advertising impressions, good and bad, each day. It takes an extraordinary effort on the advertiser's part, no matter what medium is chosen, to cut through the clutter, crystallizing the message in an appropriate form that attracts the consumer's attention and ultimately results in a desired response: a sale.


Q.        How would you describe effective advertising?

A.        Effective advertising is that which successfully performs the function for which it was intended, namely, to persuade a consumer to buy a product or service.

Q.        Briefly explain any 10 reasons why letters are used extensively in business communications? 

A.        Letters:

1. Are easy and quick to write

2. Are cheap to send

3. Can be personalized to the recipient

4. Can emphasize important points typographically

5. Can say a lot in a few words

6. When written on company stationery, can help remind the recipient of your business

7. Are private.

8. Are more personal than many other forms of inter-business communication.

9. Allow for the inclusion of photos, samples, tickets, currency or other lightweight, flat items

10. Are capable of allowing the thoughtful, considered expression of ideas that someone might be too tongue-tied or scatterbrained to say in person


Q.        What is advertising? Give advantages, tips and techniques, and types of advertising. What is the best way to advertise and understand target audience?

A.        Advertising, in simplest terms, is disseminating information about a product or service in a persuasive manner calculated to make recipients of the message buy.

Types of advertising include:

* Broadcast--radio and TV

* Print--magazines, newspapers, brochures

* Outdoor--billboards, marquees, posters

* Point-of-purchase/point-of-sale--counter toppers, aisle displays, literature racks

* Packaging

* Direct mail--letters, dimension (specialty) marketing, flyers

* Web site

* Collateral--shelf talkers, wobblers, danglers, bumper stickers, T-shirts

Each of these types of advertising has advantages and disadvantages; components of an advertising campaign should be selected according to efficiency in reaching the target audience, budgetary constraints, traffic flows or viewing/reading habits. Each should be selected or rejected according to a marketing plan that gives strategies and tactics for achieving the advertiser's specific objectives.

The primary advantage of advertising is its ability to spread the sales message among large groups of people--particularly via TV, radio, outdoor, print, and the World Wide Web--for a relatively low cost per impression (an impression is one person being exposed to the ad one time).

The most important basic premise of advertising is to "Stop the consumer with a believable promise;" in other words, give the customer a benefit that makes him/her want to find out more about the product or service being advertised, and ultimately, to buy it.

Effective advertising, especially in broadcast and print, usually consists of a four-step approach to getting the message across.

1. Get the customer's ATTENTION

2. Create INTEREST in the product/service

3. Generate DESIRE in the customer to own the product/service

4. Tell how or where to get the product/service, and impart urgency to ACT

The first letters of each of the highlighted words give AIDA, which serves as a simple mnemonic device for remembering the four steps.

Target audiences for particular audiences vary tremendously. The best way to understand a specific target market is to undertake research to determine demographics (age, education, income, etc.) of typical consumers and to find out what's most important to them in selecting the type of product or service under consideration.


Q.        What are the dos and don'ts of good advertising?

A.        Advertising dos:

Before you can sell something, you must first get the customer's attention.

You must appeal to a customer's self-interest.

You must turn features into benefits.

You must create interest in and generate desire for the product or service.

You must tell the customer what to do or where to go to buy the product.


Advertising don’ts:

Don't lie.

Don't assume the customer already knows anything about your product or service.

Don't use long words, long sentences, or long paragraphs.

Don't use jargon.

Don't forget to put a benefit in the headline.


Q.        What is the difference between advertising and marketing?

A.        Marketing is the catch-all term for the various issues and activities behind a product or service: planning, positioning, target audiences, packaging, strategy, promotion and public relations, pricing, demographics and other research, etc. Advertising consists of the actual sales messages--based on conclusions developed through a marketing plan--seen by the public.

Q.        I would like to know the advantages and disadvantages of advertisement, and the different appeals of ads, like moral, emotional etc. Please explain each 


A.        Advantages of advertising: 

1. The best way to let people know you have something to sell, to announce the existence of a product or service, to disseminate information about your company.

2. When well done, advertising can transcend commercial appeal and become art.

3. There are many different ways to advertise--by radio, TV, print, outdoor, direct mail, computer banners, or skywriting--and attract potential customers' attention.

4. Advertising is well accepted by the public as a necessary means to an end, and has been proven to be effective in achieving business objectives.

The main disadvantages of advertising:

1. It costs money, and not everyone who'd like to can afford to advertise where and when they should to achieve desired results.

2. When poorly done, advertising annoys people.

Some of the major appeals of ads:

1. The desire to be well liked

2. The desire for romance

3. The desire to be thought of as smart

4. The desire for wealth

5. The desire for fame

6. The desire to be better looking

7. The desire for safety and security

8. The desire to be happy

9. The desire for comfort

10. The desire to be part of a group


There are many other, more subtle appeals, as well.


Q.        Tell me about the origin, the advantages, and the medias of advertising and why it is essential to business today.

A.        Advertising has been around for thousands of years--advertisements and graffiti, for example, have been found in the ruins of Pompeii, buried by a volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, and there is evidence the ancient Egyptians also practiced it. However, until the invention of moveable type by Gutenberg, and the spread of literacy beginning in the 15th century, advertising consisted of vendors shouting out the quality and prices of their wares—a practice that continues to this day in locales where the populace is illiterate.

Businesses of all types realized quite early that advertising's primary benefits--information and persuasion to buy--were essential in both disseminating information about products and services, and in making sales of such items. Advertising was common in European newspapers in the 1600's, and came to the American colonies in the same century, beginning an unbroken chain of advertising that has continued to this day.

Today, there are dozens of outlets for advertisements, from TV ads to radio commercials, from Internet web sites to magazine and newspaper ads, from billboards to direct mail, from packaging to in-store displays, and from T-shirts to skywriting. Most modern businesses acknowledge the necessity of advertising; word-of-mouth worked fine, if slowly, two hundred years ago, but in a fast-moving, competitive world, if you fail to advertise in some form, your business will never get off the ground.

Most businesses, often through advertising agencies, choose the media which are determined will work best for their particular product or services--visually-oriented products, for example, almost demand visual ads; sound-oriented products are best promoted through a medium that incorporates sound, such as radio. Complex products often require long, written copy, so prospective buyers can read about a product's features and benefits at leisure before coming to a buying decision.

Q.        What are three major reasons why it is essential that advertising objectives be established prior to making decisions regarding message selection and media determination.

A.        While there are many good reasons for establishing objectives before determining message and medium, here are three major ones:

1. What is the unique selling proposition (USP) for the product or service?

It is essential to differentiate what is being sold from competitive offerings, as this will determine the strategy of how and where to advertise.

2. What are the primary, secondary, and tertiary markets for this product or service?

It is vital to determine who is most likely to buy what is being advertised; demographics can help pinpoint the target audience's age group, sex, ethnicity, income, location, buying habits, and other motivating factors.

3. What results will be expected from the advertising?

Advertising is not done in a vacuum. Goals need to be set to see if the objectives are met, thereby determining the effectiveness of the marketing plan.

Q.        I would like to know about advertising ethics—the meaning, the types, and the laws covering it, the causes, the effects and the ways in which it could be avoided. 

A.        Here's the beginning of the chapter headed "Ethics and Truth in Advertising" from Sandage and Fryburger's ADVERTISING THEORY AND PRACTICE:

"Advertising is a powerful economic and social force. Consumers look to it for information in respect to products and services that might help to meet their material needs and wants. Consumer actions are influenced by the character of advertisements that are distributed by our mass media.

“Because of the power and influence of advertising, it is vital to the welfare of out society that high ethical standards guide the action of advertising practitioners.

“High ethical standards are also vital to the long-run economic health of advertising itself. If advertising does not have the confidence of most consumers, it will lose its influence and surely die. If people grow to disbelieve a substantial percentage of the advertising messages that come to them, they will soon tend to reject most or all advertising."

Some of the types of advertising that are considered unethical are:

* Untruthful--The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and other governmental agencies monitor advertising and can impose severe penalties on a case-by-case basis (including stiff fines and the possibility of having to cease and desist their lying ways) if an advertiser makes "definite suggestions of fact which cannot be literally proven." The Wheeler-Lea Amendment to the Federal Trade Commission Act states:

"The term 'false advertisement' means an advertisement... which is misleading in a material respect..."

* False testimonials—celebrity endorsers are supposed to actually use the product they tout; if it cannot be proven that they do, a disclaimer—"paid endorsement"—is supposed to be included.

* Misleading names and labels—the practice of using names on products and in advertising that tend to give a wrong impression as to quality or origin. For example, many products using the word "natural" have chemical additives —that's one reason packagers are now required to list ingredients and nutritive value. If you use, say, "Greek" in your product name, there has to be some connection with Greece, or it is considered deceptive. Likewise, you cannot intentionally mimic an established product, in name or package design, as this may cause confusion among consumers. If, for example, you make a chocolate sandwich-type cookie with a vanilla filling, you would probably be prohibited from calling it MOREO, because this would be too close to OREO.

* Exaggeration and misrepresentation—Advertising has always been plagued by overstatement, or "puffery" in an attempt to outdo the competition for a product or service. Ads with "best," "most," "first," "only," and other such superlatives should be viewed with suspicion, and often come under the scrutiny of the FTC and the FCC; advertisers who use such high-toned claims for superiority may be asked to prove their claims.

Similarly, misrepresentation is verboten. In a famous case from some years ago, a company offered three yards of pure silk for a low price. Consumers sent in the money, thinking they would get a bolt of cloth, receiving instead a spool of silk thread. In another case, an advertisement offered a picture of George Washington made from a steel engraving--the suckers who sent in their money received a one-cent postage stamp.

* In poor taste--This is becoming more of a gray area. It used to be that the blatant use of sex or sexual symbols, references to the most personal body functions, vulgar language, and other tricks of the trade were once considered in bad taste. The standards of what people will accept change constantly and what plays today may not play tomorrow.

* Disparaging of competitors—This is another gray area. It used to be considered shady practice to tear down a competitor to build up your own product. However, it is common nowadays to see Coke vs. Pepsi, Burger King vs. Macdonald's, and other comparison ads. Such ads seem to run in cycles, and often confuse the viewer as to which of the products being compared is actually the one being advertised.

* Inconsiderate of the reader, listener or viewer—This includes such things as bumping up the volume of commercials to attract the listener's or viewer's attention, excessive repetition (like the same TV spot repeated forty times a day on a single channel), or "road-blocking"— playing the same commercial at the same time on all TV channels, so that no matter to which channel you turn, you can't escape the advertiser's message. These techniques are in common usage today, and consumers, unfortunately, have come to accept them.

The best way to stamp out such practices is through strong self-regulation by national and state advertising associations, backed up by governmental agencies empowered to come down hard on those who violate ethical standards.

Q.      I would like to know the different stages in making an ad?

A.        I've written thousands of ads, and the basic process usually goes something like this:

1. Information gathering: I learn everything possible about the product or service to be advertised by reading previous ads, brochures, and research, by talking to various people at the advertiser's company, and sometimes by trying the product or service (Where’s that Rolls-Royce account I’ve been looking for?)

2. Data absorption: I mull over what I've learned, organize facts in logical order, and try to attribute consumer benefits to product features.

3. Copy writing: most projects begin with a script, which is my responsibility. I start with a dynamic headline, which ideally contains a unique selling proposition and will stop the consumer with a believable promise. After getting the consumer's attention, I work to generate interest, to create a desire for the product, and to tell the user where and how to acquire the product. Usually, after the copy is written and polished, the advertiser sees and approves it at this stage.

4. Brainstorming: working in league with an art director or graphic designer, we suggest potential visuals to complement my words. (Sometimes this step comes before #3 above.) At this point, the art person takes over the completion of the ad--selecting type, laying it out, making arrangements for photographs or artwork.

5. Completion: once the copy and pictures are laid out, the finished product is approved by the client, after which it goes to a media buyer who purchases space in a publication or broadcast time.


Q       I'm just curious if there are any laws in advertising, like if you can or can't, must or must not do something.

A.        There aren't too many formal rules/laws in advertising. The most important rule is to tell the truth, or you could be in trouble with the FCC or the FTC for fraud.

A couple rules of thumb are:

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)--this means to write ads in a conversational manner, as though you're talking to a friend, using short words, short sentences, short paragraphs, and easy to understand concepts.

AIDA (this stands for the logical progression of a typical ad; each letter stands for a step in the process: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. First, get the customer's attention, then make him interested in what you're selling, next create a desire in the customer to own what you're selling, and finally, tell him how and where to get the product).

Fast, cheap, or good--pick any two. Advertising clients always want a champagne idea on a beer budget, and they want it today. Good creative that achieves desired results, however, often takes time to develop. Clients that want ads fast and cheap can't expect them to be good; if they want the ideas fast and good, they won't be cheap; and if they want them good and cheap, they won't be fast.

USP--this stands for Unique Selling Proposition; every product or service should have something about it that makes it different than competitive products.


Q.        What tendencies in human nature does advertising play upon?

A.        There are five basics to which advertising appeals:

Physiological--food, shelter and clothing

Safety--security, protection from physical harm and avoidance of the unexpected

Social--the desire to be accepted by members of the family and other individuals and groups

Esteem--the need to feel a sense of accomplishment, achievement, and respect from others; the competitive need to excel, to stand out from the crowd in some way

Self-actualization--fulfillment, realizing one's own potential, using one's talents and capabilities totally.

Q.        Why do we as a population seem to deny the influence of advertising in our lives?

A.        I don't believe we as a population deny the influence of advertising. I think rather that we've come to accept it as a part of our lives--otherwise, we'd refuse to buy advertised brand names. But we don't; consumers embrace trendy brands--Nike, Calvin Klein, Hard Rock Cafe, Sharper Image--that give us a cachet of being part of the "in" crowd, part of those in the know. Advertised products are becoming more prevalent in movies and books; advertisements consume an increasing amount of time on television and radio, and more space in periodicals and on the Internet. There would be more public outcry if consumers objected to the commercial increase, but there hasn't been so far.

Q.        Hello, I'm looking for some statistics on advertising. If you can provide websites or books I could use to try and find some information, I'd be very grateful. What I'd like to know is: what percentage of people who see a paid ad respond? How many times do you have to run an ad before people start to respond? What is the most effective type of advertising (paid or ...) and by what percentages? Is there any form of advertising that's especially good? (i.e. press releases, newsletters, brochures, etc.)

A.        The best place to find up-to-date advertising statistics is through the two major organs of the industry, ADVERTISING AGE and AD WEEK


Advertising Age (follow links)


Ad Week


As far as your questions go, they can all be answered by two words: It depends. There are no sure things, no guarantees in advertising.

Response rates vary tremendously, depending upon the quality of the ad, the frequency that the ad runs, and the reach of the ad (that is, how many people will see the ad). In direct mail, for example, where an advertising message is sent to a select group of potential customers, a 2-3% response rate is considered average; a 5-7% response rate is considered excellent. I've done direct mail campaigns where the response rate was 90%, but the offer was so good, it's probably a fluke.

The same thing applies to the number of ads run (frequency) before people respond. If the offer is exciting, you may only have to run an ad once before people beat a path to your door to buy what you're offering (Macintosh, for example, revolutionized the computer industry by running its "1984" ad once during the 1984 Super Bowl, and sold millions of Apple computers from that single commercial.) On the other hand, if your message is dull, or the offer not persuasive, you can run ads until you're blue in the face, and nobody's going to buy.

Effectiveness also depends upon the offer and the creativity employed to disseminate the offer and the prospective audience for the product or service being advertised. All media--TV, radio, print, billboards and outdoor, direct mail, Internet--have the same potential to achieve results, and you can get heated arguments from representatives of each media that theirs is the best.

Generally speaking, if you have a product/service with lots of details, requiring a good deal of reading from customers, the print form--such as newspaper, magazines or brochures--gives readers everything they need to know to make an informed decision. If, however, your product's advantages can be shown quickly, or you want to leave a fast impression about the company, TV, radio, or outdoor may be the best bets.

All forms of advertising can be especially good, again depending upon circumstances. Free advertising, such as that gained through press releases, is always a good thing, as long as the information contained therein is newsworthy. Most companies also go to the trouble to make up handout/ takeaway brochures giving an overview of their product or service--the quality of these varies from amateurish to professional, and from completely worthless to invaluable as part of the company's overall image. Likewise, in most cases, newsletters can be of significant assistance in giving further details about a company and its products, and thereby keeping its name prominent in the hearts and minds of its customers, present and future.

Personally, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for direct mail. You can precisely target a particular audience, and hit them where they live, often with an offer they can't resist accompanied with a specialty item (such as a logo-imprinted pen or calendar) that keeps the company name in front of the customer. They may throw away the mailer, but they'll keep the specialty item.

I also like radio: it's cheap, it can also be targeted to specific audiences, it works with the listener's imagination, and it can be changed cost-effectively to respond to changing market needs.

Follow-up: Wow, thank you so much for offering such a comprehensive, and quick, response!


Q.        If you had the choice of devising an ad campaign for a product of your choice, would you use a new product or promote an existing product to a different audience?

A.        Personally, I'd rather introduce a new product. But practically speaking, it's easier to promote an existing product to a new audience, because generally you don't have to devote as much of your ad budget to establishing name recognition or touting benefits, since you're bound to get some carryover by word-of-mouth from present consumers.

Q.        I was wondering could someone tell me some pros and cons of sex in advertising.

A.        PRO:

Sex sells: a good-looking, scantily clad model can help dress up a dull product.

Some products--swimming pools, lingerie, and condoms--lend themselves naturally to advertising with a sexual connotation.

Subliminal message--a sexually oriented ad sends a powerful message to the viewer: if you use this product, this could be YOU in the picture.



Some products (such as life insurance or funeral homes) do not lend themselves readily or tastefully to an association with sex.

Many people in our seemingly open society are actually sexually repressed, and may be extremely offended by sexual connotation, and by extension, antagonistic towards the advertised product.

The biggest argument against using sex to sell is that potential customers may be so distracted by the sexual appeal they may miss the point of the ad or forget the product being advertised.

The Advertising Profession


Q.        I realize that what follows is a rather gutsy question to ask the experts in the Advertising category, but there are probably more copywriters here than in any other section. So here goes:

Whenever I ask around about copywriting, I usually hear about opportunities at advertising agencies. Unfortunately, I'm reluctant to work in a traditional corporate environment (although "creatives" do get cut slack when it comes to projecting the corporate image).

Might you know of any other way to get a start in copywriting without going through the ad agency route? I understand that I may be limiting myself severely by doing this, but I thought I'd get some initial impressions from those with experience.

Also, is age a big factor in copywriting, at least when starting out? I've been told that this is the case at ad agencies.

A.        I've been copy writing since 1970; during more than half that time I've freelanced. I started out writing commercials at a radio station, later went on to become copywriter, copy chief or creative director at four different ad agencies (only one of which broke the "corporate" mold), and freelanced in between the office gigs. (Since 1995, I've gone back to fulltime freelancing and will probably never work in any office but my own from now on).

I'd suggest trying the freelance route, selling your services to agencies and businesses. To do this, you need to first build your reputation by putting together a portfolio of your work. The best way to start doing this is to begin by writing advertising materials for friends and acquaintances that own small businesses—for free or for minimal cost—and work your way up. Even in slack times, you have to continue practicing by writing at every opportunity, to keep your skills sharp.

Realize, however, that freelancing is not for the faint of heart; there will be times of feast, and times of famine. There's not a lot of security (regular paychecks), there's no paid vacations, no healthcare plan, no pension. On the other hand, there is a lot of freedom in picking your own hours to work, and selecting projects you want to work on. The object of a freelancer is to establish a base of loyal repeat customers who will stick with you for years to come, and to find a corps of compatible people (illustrators, graphic designers, artists, photographers) with whom you can work to produce outstanding examples of the art of advertising.

Age isn't so much a factor in the copy writing game—if you're talented, you'll get work—though if you're extremely young, it is hard for people to take you seriously, and it's difficult to get your foot in the door.

Q.        I am an art director in as ad agency and I've got 6 years experience; how much should I be making?

A         Salaries for art directors, creative directors, copywriters, media buyers and other agency positions depend strictly upon the size of your ad agency, the budgets of its clientele, and the community in which you work. Experience does count for more, of course, in any situation, but how much more depends upon the above factors, and how your experience relates to the others in your department (for example, if all the other art directors in your agency have 10 years or more of experience, you're the bottom person on the totem pole).

Here's a very rough guide:

In a small agency (less than 10 people) in a small town (less than 50,000 population), you would probably be lucky to make $20,000-30,000.

In a mid-sized agency (less than 50 people) in a medium-sized city (250,000-500,000 population), you should probably be earning double what you would in a small community.

In a large agency (more than 100 people) in a large city (more than 1,000,000 population) you should probably be earning triple what you would in a small town.

Q.        I am 19 yrs old and am currently in my final year. I have a great attraction towards advertising and am quite keen to take up a career in this field. What do I need to do, what are the professional courses available and what kind of a future does this field have? I would like to know about specific courses and institutes into advertising.

A.        To take up a career in advertising, you really don't need a degree, but it can't hurt. A broad curriculum is fine, since advertising covers a wide field of interests.

Courses I would recommend would include marketing and advertising (to get a feel for the whole process) and, depending upon your particular interest within the field, writing courses (if you're interested in copywriting), art and computer science (if you're interested in graphic design, illustration or art direction), business administration and sales (if you're interested in advertising management), finance (if you're interested in bookkeeping or accounting) and mass communication (if you're interested in media buying or any of the other positions listed above).

I think the future of advertising, like its past hundred years, is extremely bright. Countries where advertising is particularly strong, such as the United States, Japan, and those in Western Europe will continue to be strong, and other countries will eventually catch up in quality and quantity of advertising.

As far as particular institutions that specialize in advertising or have strong programs, I cannot help you, since I have been out of academia for more than 30 years. I would suggest doing a web search, using keywords "advertising, university programs" or similar.

Q.        I'm very interested in pursuing some sort of advertising career. I'm fascinated in all aspects of it - the art, the writing, the branding, and the selling. I'm an accomplished web designer and graphic artist who is also a savvy writer, so I think I would be a good fit in an advertising career.

Here's my question: I would like to pursue a professional education in the field (I currently possess a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field), and am wondering where to focus my studies. An MBA in Marketing seems ideal, but I'm not exactly sure *what* marketing is. Is it geared more towards the creative, or the business side? Is it a little bit of both? What's the difference between marketing and advertising? What does a "marketer" really do for a living?

By the way, if someone can recommend a good, and not too expensive school that features a Distance Learning MBA program, I'd be much obliged.

A.        As somebody who's been on the creative side in the marketing/advertising field for the past 35+ years, I see marketing as incorporating both creative and business aspects.

Marketing deals mostly with the strategy of how to present a product or service to the public. It considers product strengths and weaknesses, competitive products and proper product positioning, product features and benefits, product research and development, demographics--who potential buyers are, where they live, their ages and salaries, their likes and dislikes--what media are most appropriate for getting out the message about the product, and all the other details of a proposed campaign.

Advertising is more the result of that marketing--the actual message presented in a creative, persuasive manner to the public, based on the information gathered in the marketing plan.

If you're more interested in the business side of things, then an MBA with a marketing emphasis makes sense. If, however, you enjoy the creative side, you might want to reconsider your higher degree, and opt instead for an MA, with an emphasis in advertising. For distance learning programs in either discipline, search the web, using "distance learning" and either "advertising" or "marketing" as keywords.

Good luck. And welcome to my world. 

Q.        I have two questions. I want to work in an advertising firm in the creative department (where they think of the concepts for commercials, print ads). What degree do I have to have? And do companies generally have their own advertising departments or do they mostly go to advertising firms?

A.        While it's not absolutely essential to have a degree of any kind to originate creative concepts for advertisements, most advertising agencies these days, particularly the larger and better-known firms, require at least a Bachelor's degree. Many copywriters, like me, majored in English and/or creative writing in college and/or grad school. Others majored in marketing or business; agency art directors usually major in design or illustration.  

It's difficult to land a creative position at an agency fresh out of college, unless you're really talented. Most agencies prefer you have some business experience under your belt. Many of the larger agencies offer intern programs where, at a low salary, you can get your feet wet while learning about various aspects of the business.

Whether or not a company has its own in-house advertising/marketing department generally depends upon the size of the business. Large companies, like Ford or Hewlett-Packard, often maintain fairly complete advertising departments that are capable of producing much of the advertising for those companies. However, even large companies usually hire advertising agencies to coordinate national campaigns, to provide an unbiased perspective, to handle promotional efforts, and to take advantage of an agency's specialized media-buying expertise, which can help a company not only save a considerable amount of advertising revenue, but can as well make sure the company's messages reach specific target markets. 

Q.        I am a junior in college majoring in advertising. I don't want a typical college job, restaurant, etc. I want to work for a ad agency (which no one seems to be hiring) or I want to start my own agency, but just something simple where I can make about $20/day or 200 a week. That should be simple right? What should I do?

A.        You could check with the ad agencies where you live--many offer internships, which are usually low-paying positions in which you assist in various departments of the agency.

Setting up your own agency is more complex, because you need to spend money to make businesses aware of your existence, and you're competing with established agencies. It might be better to just offer your services as a freelancer to the community in your creative specialty, such as graphic design or copy writing or media buying.

Q.        I am giving a presentation on advertising for a class and I have a few questions concerning your job in advertising.

What is a typical day like for you?

What responsibilities do you have?

What is the work environment like?

What are the positive and negative aspects of you job?

A.        As a freelancer, I don't really have a typical day; every day is different. However, when I worked as copywriter or creative director at advertising agencies, my typical day consisted of:

--Reading/thinking/brainstorming/ writing about a project (50%);

--Meetings with clients, account executives, graphic designers/art directors (25%);

--Everything else--phone calls made to and received from suppliers, media people, potential employees; composing business letters or marketing plans; filing; travel; photocopying; arranging or directing photo shoots, etc.

As both a freelancer or an agency copywriter/creative director, my main responsibilities would be the same: to gather all possible information about a product or service, distill and organize that information in a logical sequence and, turning features into benefits, conceive and write persuasive advertising materials to convince a designated target audience to buy that product or service.

As a freelancer, my work environment is very relaxed and pleasant, since I work my own home office, and can do pretty much as I like. The agency environment, however, is usually much more tense, with the crackle of creative energy in the air. In most agencies, there are many projects in the works at once, so there may be clients coming and going, various employees rushing around to get things done for particular deadlines, meetings being conducted, and phones ringing.

The positive aspects of freelancing are:

--I'm my own boss and set my own hours of work;

--I work in my own home, so all my references are right at hand;

--I can accept or refuse projects as I wish, and I earn a healthy hourly amount;

--I can dress or not dress as I please, eat, drink, or smoke as I'm working;

--There are also certain tax advantages.


The negative aspects of freelancing are:

--The work is not always steady--sometimes it's feast or famine;

--Working alone, you don't have access to other creative brains;

--You have to arrange for your own health insurance and pay for your own vacations.


The positive aspects of agency life are:

--There is a synergistic effect--the whole is greater than the sum of the parts;

--There's usually camaraderie among agency staff;

--There's a regular salary, yearly vacation, paid health insurance, retirement plan, profit sharing, and other benefits;

--It can be a very exciting and rewarding career.


The negative aspects of agency life are:

--It can be a very stressful environment;

--Not all clients are good clients, and not all employees pull their own weight;

--At some agencies, there is a high turnover rate, so you frequently have to get used to working alongside new people who may not have the same skills as a former employee;

--A bad agency boss can make for a bad climate;

--Sometimes, particularly during political campaigns, the eight-hour days turn into 16-hour days.

Q.        My girlfriend is a student of journalism in her final year. However, after her last apprenticeship at a TV station, she told me that she seems not fit well in the world of media. In her words, there are so many hidden norms required that she isn't capable of. She said she wants, upon graduation, to find a job in the field of public relations or advertising (copy writer). She even said that, since her long-time passion is drawing, she may think of applying for a place at a school of industrial art.

I'm confused of what advice I could give my girlfriend. Is it normal for a girl to realize all these things in HER FINAL YEAR at university? Does it have something to do with my girl's maturity?

Professionally speaking, is it easy to turn to PR or advertising if you are a student of journalism?

A.        Thoughtful people keep searching for their particular niches until they find them so, yes, I believe your girl is relatively normal in that regard; I can't comment on her maturity, because I don't know her.

Can she go from journalism to PR or advertising? If she can write well in one venue, she should be able to write well in another, with a little practice —I was an English major in college and grad school, with nary a class in advertising or marketing, and I fell into copy writing fairly easily.

Becoming a graphic designer or an art director might take a bit longer, because ad agencies usually expect a fair degree of expertise. If your girl is serious about studying art, be sure to tell her that, in addition to being able to draw fairly well (in order to sketch rough layouts and thumbnails), she should also become proficient at as many art-related computer software programs as possible (Pagemaker, Freehand, Quark, etc.) since that will greatly increase her chances of landing a job in a field that now relies heavily on computers for producing commercial artwork.

Q.        I'm a senior in high school, and I am currently in the process of applying to colleges, thinking about a major, and so on. I have really considered mass communications as a major, but I'm still not sure if it's the thing for me. I was planning on specializing in advertising, and I was wondering if it was right for me. Will you please give me some general info on a career in advertising? Any help is greatly appreciated!

A.        I didn't plan to enter advertising as a career--it just worked out that way. As an English major in college, I always wanted to write the Great American Novel; after publishing five novels, I'm still trying.

I started in advertising as a copywriter at a Top 40 radio station in 1970. For more than 3 years, I often wrote as many as 40-50 commercials per day, which not only taught me to write fast, but also earned me a number of awards for my work. An advertising agency hired me away from the radio station; I earned more money, but it wasn't as fun, so I quit after a year, and freelanced for the next several years (taking a variety of part time jobs during slow periods). Then I was hired as creative director at a small agency, where I worked for three years--I loved it and won lots of awards. In 1980, I moved from New York to Idaho, and was creative director at my third agency: a bad experience, which only lasted 1 1/2 years. I freelanced fulltime until 1986, when I was hired as part time creative director/ consultant at a fourth agency, where I primarily worked on political campaigns. After the election, I went back to freelancing, until 1992, when the last agency hired me fulltime as CD, where I worked until 1995, and I've freelanced ever since.

Here are the pros and cons of advertising as I see them.



* If you like writing, you'll write a lot. You'll have the opportunity to work on a variety of different products and services. Copywriting (if that's your field) will improve your other writing considerably. If you're into the art side of the business, you'll also learn to produce quickly. There are also many opportunities in sales and media buying.

* If you're good at what you do, you'll earn a good salary, enjoy a prestigious job, and have some good benefits: paid vacation, health insurance, profit-sharing, retirement plans, and other perks, like industry awards (I've won more than 200 for my writing over the years.) If you're talented, you can work anywhere in the world.

* If you're on the creative end, you'll typically work with some talented people.

* If you don't mind working without a net, you can freelance.



* There are lots of jerks in advertising, particularly in agency administration--some of my bosses, who weren't creative people, insisted on putting their fingers all over the copy I wrote, which usually resulted in dull, unimaginative work that didn't achieve the desired results.

* Many clients are also jerks.

* It's a fast-paced environment. If you don't work well under pressure, or to tight deadlines, or if you're not good at juggling a dozen projects at once, it's not for you.

* If you're high-strung in personality, it's a career that will probably give you ulcers.


Q.        Finally a copywriter!

I am currently a Copywriter in CA who has been writing for promotional marketing agencies for several years. I have had the fortune of writing anything from: direct mail to sweepstakes to video package copy to infomercials to ads to pr materials to articles. I have also been the only writer for my agencies and have been published. I am looking for Senior Copywriter positions focusing on advertising (working in ad agency).

I seem to find resistance from Creative Directors in ad agencies; a certain feeling that someone who has focused more on promotions can't write ads (I have written some, but not many) or that I should start off at a junior level or make a lateral move since it's a new industry (even though they praise my portfolio--full of mainly promotional writing).

I am very confident in my writing abilities and have proven in present and past jobs that I can adapt to new writing skills with little or no direction. What do you suggest to give me a better chance to win over the hearts of advertising people? This is very serious to me. I want to permanently make the transition into advertising to meet new challenges. I was considering taking an advertising class (I have read countless books on how to write ads etc...). One Creative Director has even asked me to brainstorm for a current client and submit ideas (how appropriate is that?).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time. It's very valuable to me.

A.        Sounds to me, based on the description of the type of work you've completed, that you have experienced much of what a fulltime agency copywriter is likely to run into.

However, in my experience, most of the larger agencies require 7-10 years under your belt to consider someone for a Senior Copywriter position (there are always exceptions). Mid-size (20-50 people) and smaller (20 or fewer people) agencies often don't make the distinction between Sr. and Jr. levels; indeed, at some of them, Creative Directors frequently double up as copywriters and wear a variety of other hats.

Also, keep in mind that at some agencies, Creative Directors are more art-oriented than copy-oriented, and at those places they may pay more attention to visual than verbal fireworks. If you show pages of text with no illustrations to artists, their eyes tend to glaze over; they see copy blocks merely as gray space, an annoying design element that has to be dealt with, and generally could care less if the words are upside-down.

My advice, to win the hearts and minds of Creative Directors, would be to pick at least a half-dozen widely diverse products or services (choose those you use and like), and write ads for them to show what you can do. If they're print ads, include a sketch of what you see as an illustration (stick figures are okay), so they know you can think visually. If they're TV spots, do a rough storyboard. (If you can really draw, that's gravy.) Intersperse these ads throughout your portfolio or put them in a separate section; this will demonstrate your interest in advertising, give an inkling of your abilities, and show that you're serious about pursuing a career in copywriting.

As far as the CD suggesting you brainstorm and submit ideas, I'd say, "Sure, how much are you paying?" Your time, like everyone's, is worth something; try to negotiate a reasonable fee (say $25-$35 an hour) that will allow the agency to make a nice profit on any of your ideas that they use while they're testing out your skills. It could lead to more freelance work from the agency and--who knows?--maybe even a job offer.

In the meantime, it certainly would not hurt you to take a class in advertising to refine your skills. Keep reading and practicing your craft.

Good luck!


Breaking into Advertising


Q.        I thought of a really catchy headline for some current events and am wondering how I can market this and ensure that I get some money. How can I be sure that my idea isn't stolen? How much is a tabloid headline worth in NYC?

A.        Headlines, unfortunately, are a dime a dozen; tabloid writers, like advertising copywriters, churn them out by the bushel, and they have no real value at all unless they're attached to a well-written article, book, or ad.

If all you have is a catchy headline, the best you can do is to link up with a graphic designer or illustrator and put your words, along with an appropriate picture, on a T-shirt or poster or bumper sticker and hope to turn a quick profit from the sales of such items. But you'd better hurry, because interest in topical goods often wanes fast.

Follow-up: But y cant I sell the idea for the headline to the guy that writes the article?

A.        You can try, or you can try selling it to a comedian as a throwaway one liner (if it's really good), but most article/feature writers, or their editors, typically dream up their own headlines. Other than the uses I mentioned (t-shirts, posters, bumper stickers and the like), there's just not much market for a headline that isn't attached to anything else.

Q.        Recently I applied for the position of Public Information Coordinator at a local community college. While I believe I qualify for the job one of the requirements posted asks this: [produce written documents using proper news style English sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation]

Now, I am familiar with APA format etc. but I have no idea what they are asking here. Could someone enlighten me please!

A.        There are numerous style guides (e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style, the Associated Press Manual of Style, etc.), which set forth the rules of composition for writing for the publications of specific organizations. These cover grammar, sentence structure, verb and object agreement, nonsexist usages, punctuation, acceptable variations in spelling, capitalization, use of references, footnotes, bibliography, whether to spell out numerals, proper manuscript format (margins, fonts, leading between lines), and so forth.

Most of the style guides--I have about a dozen in my personal collection--show very little variance in their rules (some, for example, demand that you spell out numerals through "twenty," while others ask that you spell them out only through "ten"; some want you to put a comma before "and" in a series, and others eliminate the comma). So, chances are, if you are already familiar with a particular formal style, you are already well prepared for the position, and will not go far wrong by writing in the way you know best. If there's any question about it, ask the college if they have their own prepared style guide to deal with grammatical situations not covered in APA (bet you they don't).

Q.        I'm interested in copywriting, but I honestly don't know where (or how) to start. I've ticked the keyboard for money on a number of occasions, and several coworkers have mentioned that I'd make a good copywriter.

On a hunch, I scooted over to amazon.com, and I saw what appear to be several good books that provide an overview of the specialty. Might any of you know of a particular volume that is excellent for curious wordsmiths like me?

Tossing "copywriting" into google led me to many excellent sites promoting the work of individual copywriters, but I had a difficult time finding a good online *overview* of the field. Do you know of any good web sites out there?

Do any of you have any other suggestions in lieu of reading books and web hopping? Internships perhaps? Any lead or suggestion would be super.

A.        I've been a copywriter for more than 30 years, both at agencies and as a freelancer. I started writing copy at a radio station, and I would think that's still a good place to start looking. Internships at agencies are fine, if you happen to land at the right place; in my experience, they don't pay well, you do a lot of "gofer" work that's not related to your primary interest (though you can learn a lot about the operations of an agency and about advertising in general), and they seldom lead to a permanent job. Larger agencies may be willing to take on a promising rookie on a trial basis. Freelance is certainly an option--if you're good, you'll seldom be out of work.

You should be able to find any number of decent books on the subject, either at a bookstore or at your public library. Some of the best on the subject, from the practical, hands-on angle are:



Erica Levy Klein--WRITE GREAT ADS

Webster Kuxwa--SELL COPY

Good luck.


Q.        Hi, I am a European based account planner in the media industry (have previous experience from business development and research including focus group moderation) with 14 years experience considering moving to the States. Can anyone tell me the best place to look for job openings in the advertising industry? Thanks

A.        The best place to start looking for job openings is to consult the classified pages of the two top industry publications, ADVERTISING AGE and ADVERTISING WEEK.

Advertising Age is on the net at



AdWeek can be found online at


In addition, there are dozens of websites specifically for people in advertising. Two of the ones I use regularly to obtain freelance work are:

eLance (http://www.elance.com)


Bullhorn (http://www.bullhorn.com)

Other sites that regularly post jobs in advertising but are not necessarily advertising-specific include

Jobvertise (http://www.jobvertise.com)

Ants.com (http://www.ants.com)

Career.com (http://www.career.com)

Fatjob.com (http://www.fatjob.com)

Most of the above also have links to other job-related sites.

That should get you well started. Good luck in your search, and welcome to America!


Q.        My wife is trying to start her own business in promotions and advertising. Some companies have made offers, but we want to know what is the going rate advertising companies charge for their services. Also are there any avenues in which my wife and I can do research to find the do's and don't of this particular market. (books, clubs, magazines, etc.)

A.        In advertising and public relations, there are three primary forms of compensation for freelancers or advertising agencies: an hourly rate, a fee based on the scope of a particular project, or a monthly retainer. The numbers for each method of compensation vary widely, based upon the agency or the freelancer's experience and reputation, as well as the size of the community you operate in, the range of the advertising or promotional campaign (i.e., whether it's local, regional or national), and the budget of the company desiring the advertising. In any case, it boils down to what the market will bear: a balance between what you'd like to make and what the advertiser is willing to pay.

When I first started doing freelance copy writing more than 25 years ago, I charged $20 per hour in a community of over 250,000 people. A couple years later, I was charging $35 per hour. Today, with more than 30 years of advertising copy writing under my belt, and more than 200 awards for my work, I charge $60 per hour and up (in a community with a population of 150,000)--though these days, I usually give a quote for the complete project, based on my experience of how long the project will take. (I know, for example, that for a six-panel brochure made from an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper I will charge the client between $250-500, depending upon how much research I have to do). I also work on retainer: $1000 per month will buy 15-20 hours of my time, any way the client wants to use it. When I do freelance work for other advertising agencies, I generally charge my standard $60 hourly rate, which the agency bills out at $75-85 per hour to the client.

For more about rates, consult the latest WRITER'S MARKET from WRITER'S DIGEST, under the article entitled "How Much Should I Charge?"

For more about the business itself, there are many books that deal with the fine points of copywriting and public relations, including:

SELL COPY by Webster Kuswa

WRITE GREAT ADS by Erica Levy Klein


CAPLES ON COPY by John Caples

For a general overview of the advertising industry today and details on particular campaigns, take a look at the trades, ADVERTISING AGE and AD WEEK, usually available at your local library or online:



Good luck!

Q.        I'm starting my own ad agency. And I have zero experience in ad design, except for a few samples that I made. And I know I have the talent. Now my question to you is I want to have some of my work published before I start this company. Do you know of any start-up company that needs "discounted advertising"? And what I mean by that is I will work for free or close to it just to have a portfolio.

And since I'm fairly new to advertising, any info you can give me about the b2b market or advertising industry would be greatly appreciated.

A.        Your question raised several questions for me.

When you say you're starting your own ad agency, do you mean you're going to open an office, hire people, and incorporate? Or do you mean you're going to solicit business as an individual, say, as a freelance copywriter or art director?

The reason I'm answering your question with a question is that my answers would be different, according to which scenario fits your situation.

If you're surrounding yourself with other talented, experienced people, it's not as vital that your individual skills are refined yet, because there's strength in numbers and you can pick up a lot on the job from those around you.

However, if you open a one-person shop, then it would certainly behoove you to have some solid projects that were actually used by clients in your portfolio. (I think that's what you mean when you say you want to have your work "published"; that's not a term generally used in advertising. A brochure you worked on, for example, would be "printed," and in talking about that particular sample in your portfolio to a potential client, you would refer to the quantity of brochures printed, and how much they cost "per unit," that is, per brochure, to be printed.)

Your use of the words "ad design" leads me to believe that you are coming to advertising from the art side; perhaps the samples you mention were done in a college commercial illustration class. If this is indeed the case, it might benefit you to hook up with a good writer, since then you would have covered both primary skills desired by clients--a "words" person and a "pictures" person. If you're trying to do both words and pictures yourself, then you need to practice both aspects simultaneously.

I don't know where you live, so I wouldn't be aware of start-up companies in your area. If you want to learn of new start-ups, look through the financial and/or business section of your local newspaper. (Some cities also have separate publications that deal exclusively with new businesses.) Whether or not any of them, or established businesses, would be receptive to "discounted advertising" depends strictly on the individual company. I would think if you went to smaller businesses that you use--dry cleaners, restaurants, taverns--and offered to produce free ads for them, you might get some takers.

As an alternative idea, you might also consider hitting the smaller advertising agencies in your area, and offering to work as an intern for a trial period to gain experience in the business and to build a portfolio.

Regarding learning about the business-to- business market and the advertising industry in general, I would suggest reading all you can about the subjects, because the issues are too complex to deal with here. A good place to start is with the two major publications of the industry, ADVERTISING AGE and AD WEEK. You can usually find them in the periodical your local library, or you can look at them online at




I wish you good luck in your venture.


Q.        I have a management background (Restaurant 15 years) and I just received a BA in Communication & Journalism with a minor in Management. Additionally, I have a BA in Behavioral Psychology. I am trying to break into the C & J field and I am scheduled for an interview for a Public Information Coordinator position with a local community college. I have extensive academic experience in writing, editing and presentations but not actual field experience in same 

How do I play this during the interview and what are they most interested in?

A.        Public Information Coordinator (what's in a title?) sounds essentially like a public relations job, one that would deal primarily with press releases and news releases to the media concerning activities, events, awards, new employees, and other newsworthy matters associated with the community college. The position might also entail acting as liaison between the college and the community. As such, the position would probably require someone:

* Who is good at ferreting out information;

* Who is a good organizer;

* Who can write accurate grammatically correct prose that is smooth and readable, and can impart a positive spin for the benefit of the institution;

* Who can juggle a number of projects simultaneously;

* Who can conduct interviews and, in a pinch, make a public announcement

* Who isn't camera-shy

I would think that, given your background, you would make an ideal candidate for the position. Your extensive restaurant management experience should make you comfortable being in the public eye (and give you an edge in leadership, should you have to manage other people in the new job).  Your degree in behavioral psychology should aid you in interviewing, enabling you to ask penetrating questions. And your degree in communication and journalism, added to your previous writing experience, should give you the background necessary to quickly adapt your skills to the specific tasks at hand. Were I you, during the interview phase I would stress those factors, emphasizing the benefits to the college that accrue to them.

Q.        In May I will graduate with communication degree and an English minor. Additionally, I've taken several marketing courses, including marketing communications. I have a passion for writing and I'm interested in becoming a copywriter. I want to avoid wasting time and wandering down dead ends. What's the best way to get my foot in the door of the advertising industry?

A.        Unless you know someone in the industry who can put in a good word for you, there are three basic ways to break into the advertising industry: finding an employer who's willing to let your learn the craft on the job, through an internship, or through freelancing.

I got my start the former way, landing a job as a copywriter at a Top 40 radio station in upstate New York in 1970. I came to the position with BA and MA in Creative writing/ English, 3 published novels, and a couple hundred other published pieces--but that job really taught me to write. For more than 3 years, I wrote--and produced and often voiced--40-50 thirty- or sixty-second ads per day. I won a lot of awards, and got hired away by an ad agency, one of four where I worked; at the last three, I was Creative Director. Now with more than 30 continuous years in the profession, I'm on my third stint as a freelance consultant/copywriter.

You could take a similar route. Though I'm not up on availabilities at radio and TV stations and newspapers (I do see listings for such positions posted frequently on the internet), all of those media have use for copywriters. I'd think you could find a position by knocking on some doors, offering to demonstrate what you can do, and seeing what happens. If you land a job, you could use it as a stepping-stone to an agency slot.

Internships are definitely available--all the agencies I worked at, in both New York and Idaho, used interns, and several were hired full-time.

Freelancing offers the most freedom and the least security. But if you're good, the work will come to you, and you'll seldom be without projects. (Out of about 18 years as a freelancer, I've had dry spells totaling around six months; I typically earn in the high five figures, and I could easily push it well into six figures if I were more ambitious.)

Regardless of which way you opt to go, it's important to show your writing and thinking skills. So start practicing now, every chance you get, because if you get a job in advertising, you'll have to write a lot, and you'll have to write to deadline. Write some ads for real or imaginary products and services; write ads for print and radio and TV and direct mail and billboards, and begin building a portfolio. If you're diligent and smart and persistent, somebody somewhere will recognize your talents and give you a chance. After that, the sky's the limit.

Q.        I have a concept for TV ads for luxury cars. How can I sell it?

Would an ad agency with an existing auto company account accept an outside concept? How should I approach such an agency?

Do these sorts of things pay, or is the glory of seeing your concept produced the only reward anyone gets these days?

Are agents ever involved in this sort of thing, and if so how would I find one for this field?

A.        These questions crop up all the time: "I've got a great idea for an ad/tag line/slogan/ jingle for --"

The answer is always the same: advertising agencies don't buy individual ideas (though they might be willing to take your idea for free, if it's really good); they're paid big bucks to dream up their own concepts. You might be able to approach a small business or retail establishment with an idea (especially if the business doesn't already have an agency), and sell them on the concept. Otherwise, the only way to sell ideas to major clients is to go to work as a copywriter or creative director at the agency that handles the account. That way, you have an excellent chance of getting a good salary, reflected glory if your concept is successful in achieving the client's objectives, and personal kudos, in the form of industry awards for your work.

And no, agents (such as literary or talent agents) don't get involved in individual concepts, or short stories or articles, either. They want to represent people with lots of ideas or lots of potential mileage, since their income is made from a percentage of what the people they represent actually earn 

Q.        I have a knack for turning a phrase and writing snappy copy, and many people have told me I should be working as a copywriter. However, I really tend to wilt in an atmosphere that's anything that's even remotely corporate, and I can't stand the so-called "corporate culture."

I realize that I'm severely limiting myself (and I even hesitate to ask people with a background in advertising), but are there any opportunities in copywriting for "creatives" like me who can't/won't function in a conventional corporate environment? For whatever reason, my ability to write and produce good ideas and copy are just about nil unless the environment is less formal. Maybe a smaller firm is the answer? Any ideas? Suggestions?

A.        I've been writing copy since 1970, both in formal (radio station and four advertising agencies) and informal (more than 20 years as a freelancer) environments. Here's my take:

First, it's difficult to get established as a freelance copywriter--that is, to make a reputation for yourself and to build a client-impressing portfolio--without having some sort of experience with corporations, either from within or without. After all, as a copywriter, you often have to deal with a variety of companies, large and small, and they want to be sure you understand their structure, their operations, their objectives. You often have to steep yourself in their business before you can write persuasively about them to consumers or other businesses.

Second, well-turned phrases and snappy copy are only a part of the copy writing business. Not all clients recognize or appreciate cleverness. But all can grasp well-organized, logically presented, and convincingly written projects. Copy writing encompasses a wide range of materials--radio spots, TV commercials, billboards, packaging, brochures, magazine and newspaper ads, direct mail, press releases, hang tags, posters, wobblers, danglers, and a plethora of other pieces. The object in all of them is not to impress consumers with your ability with words, but to sell a product or service; sometimes cleverness is called for, but more often a straightforward presentation of the features of the product as benefits is most appropriate.

There are opportunities for non-corporate creatives. You can work in a small, boutique ad shop, where the atmosphere is more relaxed. You can supply copy to other agencies as a freelancer. You can work with a loose group of other like-minded creatives--photographers, illustrators, graphic designers--which is what I've done throughout my freelancing career. But first, you have to have a thorough understanding of what corporations are all about, and what they expect from you.

Follow-up: Thanks for your answer. It's good to be reminded that copywriting is so much more than turning a snappy phrase.

Q.        I am certainly of a "mature" age and have had careers in several areas. However, I am now partially disabled and seeking ways to rebuild.

All my life I've been told I have a beautiful speaking voice; a bank where I was working as a temp used me to record all the 'hold' prompts on the new phone system being installed; while raising my children, I often had positions in customer service and as a telephone operator in addition to my full-time career, and people often called to tell my employers how pleasant and professional, even soothing, my voice was. Hard to believe I know, yet I never really thought about it until recently, when I began to wonder if there is a way to begin a career doing ads, telephone recordings, etc. How does one go about getting started? I would greatly appreciate any direction.

A.        The basic approaches to obtaining voiceover work are to:

(1) Call, visit or write advertising agencies and solicit radio, TV or script work

(2) Call, visit or write radio and TV stations in your area.

(3) Call, visit or write local video or audio production companies in your area.

In all instances, it would be best if you had an audio reel (cassette or reel-to-reel tape or CD) with samples of your voice work to give or send to the various places for consideration. You can write some 30- or 60-second commercials of your own (for pretend or real products), or record and transcribe some actual radio commercials to practice on. It's best to have a variety of different examples--a calm, straightforward announcement, a more frenetic ad, and a funny or celebrity-type voice (if you are capable of reproducing such a voice), to give the recipients of your tape an idea of your range.

Q.        I have a natural flair for advertising and had written many captions and prepared many ads as a hobby. Now I realize that they make really good ads. I have a couple of questions in store for you and would be thankful if u can help me.

1- How can I go about making my ads productive?

2-  How can I protect my rights on those captions?

***3- How much does it cost me to take the copyrights?

***4- Can I take the rights on my name or do I have to join an ad agency?

5- Can I join as a freelancer?

6- I am an Indian citizen. Does that affect me in the process of taking copyrights?

***8- I even prepare greeting cards and posters. How can I own the rights and go about getting them printed?

***9- After getting the copyrights, how can I approach the companies to market my captions?

I look forward for your precious answers.

A.        The world can always use another good copywriter. I'll do the best I can in answering your questions.

1. There are many excellent books available that can show you how to make ads productive and effective. Several that come to mind are:



Erica Levy Klein, WRITE GREAT ADS

Webster Kuswa, SELL COPY


2. Most advertising, whether completed at an advertising agency or a freelancer, is done as "work-for-hire," which means that you are paid for it, either by salary as an employee, or by a fee as a freelancer. In both cases, you have sold all rights to the person who bought the copy; and he owns it, not you. The only way around this would be to have an agreement, in writing, which states that once the ad in question has completed its run, the rights revert to you. I would guess that most people who hire copywriters would be reluctant to do this; in 30 years as a copywriter, I have never asked this to be done, and I would not recommend it.

3, 4, and 5. You, or any individual, can formally copyright anything you've written; by the very process of putting words on a page, there is a 90 percent assumption of copyright. The rules, regulations and costs of formally copyrighting your work can be obtained by contacting the U.S. Copyright Office. (On the Internet, use keyword "copyright".)

Frankly, though, I cannot see the point of formally copyrighting the captions (I'm not sure what you mean by "captions" in this context--most captions are lines explaining what is happening in a photograph) you have written as a hobby. Unless they are generic (e.g., a general ad for Coca-Cola), I cannot imagine any company wanting to use such efforts, since their marketing needs constantly change. Furthermore, if the captions you have written are for fictitious products, no real company would be inclined to use them; if the captions are for real products, there could be a problem with trademark infringement if you attempt to copyright something that incorporates somebody else's copyrighted logo, image, trademark, etc.

6. I don't believe it matters where you are from; again, check with the copyright office.

8. (What happened to #7?) Greeting cards generally work the same way as ads do: the card company (such as Hallmark) buys the idea from you for a flat fee. Then they own the rights, and you don't. There may be exceptions to this, but I'm not aware of them. I suppose you could set up your own greeting card company as an alternative, and market your own work.

Posters are an entirely different matter. You can copyright the visual and textual material as original work (contact the copyright office). Once copyrighted you can take your posters to various companies to see who offers the best price for reproducing them. Or, as with greeting cards, you could sell all rights to your creative work to a company that makes posters.

9. Again, I don't understand the purpose of marketing the captions of which you speak. To me, the best use of them would be as a portfolio of the type of work you are capable of doing, which you could use to secure more copywriting work through ad agencies or private clients.

Hope this has been of some use to you.

Follow-up: First I would like to thank you for the answers u have given me with a great detail.  And another thanks, anticipating your reply for another long letter. I have somethings yet to be confirmed.

1--your words "3, 4, 5. You, or any individual, can formally copyright anything you've written; by the very process of putting words on a page, there is a 90 percent assumption of copyright."

I couldn’t follow the above lines. Can u explain me in detail.

2--explaining your words "Frankly, though, I cannot see the point of formally copyrighting the captions "

I want the rights over the captions until I market them. I'm worried just about their safety, because if I don’t have the rights, I can’t show them to anyone. And if I show them to anyone, there is always a chance that they'll simply copy them and claim that they are their own.

Can u suggest me a safer way to market my ads without spending on taking the rights.

3--explaining your words "I'm not sure what you mean by "captions" in this context--most captions are lines explaining what is happening in a photograph"

What I mean by a caption is just explaining the speciality and giving a signature line. It's just like preparing the full ad...for example "KFC--we make chicken right"

"singer-- home makers for the life time"

" 7/24/365 we'll be there. Chevrolet"

I write (have written) captions mostly for the products and not for a particular company. If a company that produces that product likes my captions, they can fit in my captions to advertise their product.

4--- and I have one question in mind.

If I had made a caption in which the name of the company appears in between the caption...for example "an MBA changes the way u look at the world, but an MBA from "( name of the university )" changes the way the world looks at u" how can I take the copyrights for such a caption where the name of the university cant be decided before i sell my caption. Please explain.

5--- Regarding the cost of taking copyrights, I visited the website of us copyright office but it was not very clear for me. Can u give me the approximate price for taking rights for a single ad and also the price if I take the rights for a whole lot of them

A.        1 & 2. What I meant was, that when you write something and put your name and the date on it, your work is automatically copyrighted, according to U.S law. The only reason to formally register and pay for a copyright is for protection in case of a future legal issue of authorship.

You can do this without formally copyrighting a work. Simply put the work into an envelope, seal it, and mail it to yourself. When the envelope arrives, DO NOT OPEN IT, but put it away for safekeeping. If a legal question of authorship later arises, you will have proof, in a sealed, dated envelope, that you wrote the work in question.

3 & 4. What you call "captions," the advertising industry calls tag lines or slogans.

Not to discourage you, but in 30 years of advertising, I have never heard of any company just purchasing a slogan or tag line. Usually, a company's advertising agency creates tag lines or slogans as part of a complete campaign.

5. While I am certainly no copyright expert, a glance at the U.S. Copyright Office web site at


under the section: "what cannot be copyrighted" seems to indicate that slogans are NOT copyrightable. If they were capable of being copyrighted, it would cost $30 to register either a single piece or a whole book.

In closing, if you want to pursue your interest in advertising, I think it would be beneficial to seek employment with an advertising agency, where you could put your skills to work across the whole spectrum of advertising work: headlines, text, and slogans. If you do, this would be, as I mentioned previously, work-for-hire; and your employer, not you, would own the rights to any work you created as an employee.

Hope this answers your questions.

Advertising problems


Q.        I am the CEO of a company that is holding a 160km cross- country Snowmobile race in Canada's arctic this April. We also run the uphill and sea ice drag races during the local festival. We are a new production company that will be filming the event. We want to get sponsors to help in getting the prize money together and any other expenses we need to cover such as insurance etc. What will I need to do besides a letter to the sponsor asking for support and a description of the event?

A.        The more information you can provide to potential sponsors, the more successful your event is likely to be.

The primary question sponsors will ask is: "What's in it for me?" You should answer this question in your literature before it's actually asked.

Typically, sponsors want good name identification at such events as yours: their logotypes prominently displayed on signs and banners, their products, if appropriate, in evidence at each venue. So your mailing should inform them exactly what to expect in those regards. I would think, in addition to the letter soliciting support, and details of the events, that maps and timetables of events would be useful. In addition, since you are a new production company, it would be worthwhile to describe the details of your own enterprise:

            * Background of the principal players

            * Experience in staging similar events

            * Equipment and personnel you will employ to document the events

      * And your ultimate purpose in filming the races: how, when, and where the footage will be used, and the benefits to the sponsors of this usage.

As a CEO, you know that it's necessary to spend money to make money. Towards this end, it can help your cause if your present the information you send to potential sponsors in the form of a "kit,” consisting of:

      * A pocket folder containing a personalized cover letter describing the events and the advantages to sponsors in participating

            * A brochure which gives details of the races, appropriately illustrated

      * Samples of press releases that will be issued to various media to publicize the events

      * Thumbnail-sized examples of banners and signs that will be displayed during the races

      * Still photos (if available) of other similar events your personnel may have covered in the past

      * Maps and timetables, and any other supportive information. The object is to overcome up-front any objections a possible sponsor might have to joining your effort, by providing every scrap of information that might be desired. 

Such a kit can be professionally prepared for you by a competent advertising agency.  Or you can hire an experienced, independent creative team (copywriter and graphic designer), which will probably cost considerably less than an agency while giving you a comparable finished product. However, an agency can offer additional advantages in media buying if you plan to promote the events on radio or television, or in newspapers and other print outlets.

Q.        How to make a company profile for an automotive factory?

A.        There are many different ways to do a company profile. Usually, regardless of what they manufacture, a profile consists of several standard elements.

1. Brief overview--a short passage that summarizes the complete picture: how long they have been in business, where they are located, what they make and in what quantity, what makes them different and better than the competition, and what they plan to do in the future. This is generally followed by more specific, detailed information, such as:

2. Company history--the usual starting point for most profiles, covering the founder(s) of the company, why they started, why they foresaw a need for the product, what makes them unique in the industry. Often, information is included to show growth--the number of products or the number of employees then vs. now, expansion of facilities or capabilities, product improvements over the years. A statement from the company president or CEO might be included here, along the lines of "we've come a long way, and we have great plans ahead."

3. Product descriptions--How they are built, quality of materials used, different models of products and their features and benefits. If they have new models coming out in the near future, they might be mentioned here.

4. Facility description--Square footage (if this is impressive or important to the industry), sophisticated equipment, workflow, other facts that might be of interest to potential customers or investors, such as employee amenities. If the company has branch offices, they might be briefly mentioned here.

5. Executives--Brief thumbnail sketches of top management, their bios and functions in the company, perhaps a quote from each.

6. Wrap-up--Usually a positive end statement that encapsulates everything: the long history, the conscientious staff, the superiority of the product, the fair method of doing business, etc., and finishing with a look ahead: "as good as yesterday has been for us, we know tomorrow will be even better."

Q.        My company is interested in marketing a device to the semiconductor manufacturing industry, but we don't know exactly how to drum up the interest in the right places. How can we find out which person is in charge of maintaining the microbial quality of semiconductor process water?

I'm not asking you to tell me about the industry (unless you happen to know the answer!), I'm asking for your marketing experience. We've found out that rank-and-file microbiologists are very excited about our technology, but they don't have much authority to make this kind of major purchase decision, and the people who *do* have the authority do not get excited enough about the technology to pursue it.

So we're looking for a way to root out the "head microbiologist" of a generic semiconductor manufacturing facility; how do we find out who this person is when we're not sure he even exists? How do you finesse a receptionist into giving out a name that would be useful?

A.        You have a tough row to hoe.

I've done advertising pieces for semiconductor-related companies like Inficon Leybold-Heraeus, Micron, Hewlett-Packard, SCP and others for the past 20+ years, selling everything from residual gas analyzers to vacuum deposition monitors to wafer washers and dryers. The problem has always been: how do you interest the techies (the people who actually use the product) without alienating management (the people who make the buying decisions), and vice versa?

My solution has always been to introduce the product in a way that anybody, even somebody who knows absolutely nothing about the industry, can understand. The introductory statement (in a brochure, for example) talks features and benefits, which is what the buyer wants to hear, and gives just enough technical details so that the boys in the clean room want to know more. The bulk of the brochure contains the facts, the specs, and the details that users can sink their teeth into and can employ in persuading the bean counters to buy. A general conclusion then persuasively summarizes what went before, and encourages a call for a demo of the product on-site.

I'm sure you know that semiconductor companies come in all shapes and sizes and stages of maturity, and that some of them may have microbiologists on staff, and others may contract them on an as-needed basis, and still others do without. If I were in your shoes, rather than calling and getting the easy brush-off from a receptionist (who may or may not know what a microbiologist is), I'd try mailing a letter to the CEO's of various semiconductor manufacturers (buy a good, detailed mailing list), outlining the features and benefits of your product as above, accompanied by a professionally printed spec sheet with a picture of the product, and a postpaid (bulk indicia) reply card to be sent for more information (make sure you ask the right questions). That way, you include something for people at both key levels in the company to peruse.

Behind the reply card, you have a snappy brochure waiting and/or a representative to go to the sites for a demo; you follow up every mailing with a phone call, especially the leads you gained from your reply card. This is a fairly inexpensive, efficient way to get your foot in the door and track down the names of both the scientists and the decision-makers you're after.

Q.        I'm in charge of our company's newsletter and have had a few articles given to me to be used in it. Is it
            ok to use articles as long as I reference the author and the publication they came from or are the
            copyright laws that go beyond that? How do I know whether or not it's ok to use an article from another

A.        The answer is: it depends.

If yours is a small company, and the newsletter is for internal use--to be circulated among employees only--then it probably won't make any difference, as far as copyright goes, what you print, as long as you attribute author and source.

Likewise, if your company is nonprofit, you have much more leeway, under the "fair use" provisions of the law, in using material from other sources than if your company is for-profit.

Also, if the articles you wish to reprint are from previous company publications, then there's little danger of violating copyright laws if you attribute them properly.

However, if your company is for-profit, and the newsletter will be sent out to customers, then you must follow the copyright laws, which means seeking permission from the original source if you intend to reproduce more than a few lines from a previous publication.

For complete information about copyright, go to the U.S. Copyright Office web site:


Q.        If I were to advertise my carpet cleaning business to approximately 20,000 homes using a weekly flyer delivered within a plastic bag with other different businesses, what percentage of new customers should I expect?

What is a percentage if I were to use prime time radio three days a week?

I would run this dual type of advertising for two months.

A.        A good response rate from direct mail, forgetting any other considerations (such as a special offer, discount, or coupon) is usually 2-3%; anything more than that is excellent. If your ads feature a special offer that can promise a distinct advantage over your competitors in the carpet cleaning business, your response rate should rise a couple percentage points.

The response rate, however, does not mean that you would necessarily gain 400-600 new customers--it includes all those who respond to your advertisement; some of them may just call for further information and decide not to buy. You should also be aware that your response rate will typically decline over time; if the same people receive your flyer eight times over a two-month period, it would be unreasonable to expect a 2-3% each week--less than one-half of 1% would be more likely.

Featuring your ad on radio, particularly if your offer is time-sensitive ("This offer expires soon") should produce a similar response rate, which would likewise decline over time. I would think that you would be best served by running your ads in "morning drive time," since this will give interested customers the opportunity to react to your message that same day.  If you have afternoon drive time, interested customers may not have the opportunity to act on your ad until the following day (because your business is closed, or because they have other things on their minds), by which time they may have forgotten about it.

In any case, to track the response rate, you should code your campaign. Your flyers should contain the message that the customer has to bring in the piece of paper to receive the deal (if you have different messages you can unobtrusively see which is more effective, by putting a different number on each, or by printing them on different colored paper). Your radio ad should say, "Mention that you heard this ad on station WXXX to receive the 10% discount" (or whatever your offer is).

Finally, make sure your employees know about the offer and conscientiously collect the flyers or report the verbal confirmation from your radio ad. This should give you a pretty good indication of the actual response rate you are achieving.

Q.        Hi, I work for a temp agency and we are making a new flyer. What advice can you give me to help me create a killer flyer?

A.        1. Have an attention-getting headline that promises a benefit to the reader.

2. Make the message in the body of your flyer clear, understandable and persuasive. Start with the most important benefit to the reader.

3. Don't use lots of different typefaces—pick one of a style and size that's easy to read and stick with it.

4. If you have appropriate illustrations to photographs that complement your message, use them, as long as they do not distract from what you're offering. Keep your design clean, easy to read, reader-friendly; use white space for eye appeal, and don't clutter up the page.

5. Summarize your most important points and highlight them through the use of bullets (•), boldface, italicizing or underlining.

6. Tell the reader what you want him or her to do--go somewhere, call someone, buy something. Put some urgency into it--"Call now!"

7. Be sure to include a phone number, address, web site or other clue to where the reader should go or whom to call to get what you're offering.

Q.        I am trying to find out which medium provides the best ROI for small consumer service businesses such as carpet cleaners, painters, lawn services, etc. I've looked at newspaper displays, inserts, television, radio, direct mail, billboards, and telemarketing. I'm starting with a limited budget of between $500-$1000, and I need to feel confident that I can generate at least 5 times my cost in return before I commit to any one method. If I can find a method that will return that consistently, I'd probably end up spending between $2,000-$4000 monthly and the thought of spending that much money without solid research on effectiveness sounds painful. Any assistance would be appreciated 

A.        As a freelance copywriter who often works with clients that have small advertising budgets, I have found that packages of coupons (in our area they are called ValPaks, short for Value Packages) work quite well. Each month, coupons from various advertisers are bundled into an envelope and mailed to the addresses of consumers within a specific radius of the various businesses being advertised (depending upon the size and density of your community, the radius could be anywhere from one to five miles.)

There are several advantages to this type of mailing.

First, production of your advertising piece does not have to be elaborate or expensive. Most pieces are one or two colors, and most contain special time-limited, coupon offers that encourage potential customers to benefit by coming in by a specific date.

Second, by using coupons through this medium, you can track the numbers of customers who respond to your offer and check the effectiveness of your advertising.

Third, the cost of the mailing, rather than being borne by a single advertiser using a single direct mail piece, is shared equally among all the advertisers.

Finally, most companies such as ValPak maintain up-to-date mailing lists (which can be expensive for individual businesses to buy) of customers in your immediate sales area--the very people who are most likely to become your customers.

Good luck!


Q.        What is the proper way to address a Fundraising business letter? Is it Male or Female first when creating a salutation? i.e., Dear Bob and Joan, or Dear Joan and Bob

A.        Traditionally, in the salutation of business and fundraising letters addressed to married couples, the husband's name comes first, just as such couples, when introduced at a function, are called "Mr. and Mrs. Soandso."

However, given the realities of the modern world, traditions may not always apply; some women in certain couples wear the pants in the family, and in some couples it is the woman who wields the power and controls the purse strings; some contemporary couples are also same-sex.

If you personally know the woman of the couple to whom you are addressing your appeal--but don't know the husband--if would not be improper in such situations to address the woman first; otherwise the "male first" rule applies 


Q.        Is it improper to sign a business letter with a typed signature only?

A.        The proper format of a business letter closing is to type your name and your title 3 or 4 spaces beneath "Sincerely" or "Very truly yours," or whatever sign-off you use, then sign your name in the space between your sign-off and typed name. If you've corresponded many times, or are good friends with the person to whom the letter is addressed, you can eliminate the typed name and title, and just sign your first name. But whether friend or stranger, you should always sign typed business correspondence. To fail to do so will be perceived as impersonal.

Q.        How do I write a letter saying why a company should go with our quote? (We are a janitorial service)


* Open by thanking the company for allowing you the opportunity to make your presentation

* Briefly recap the points you made in your presentation; remind the company what you will do for them, and why it's cost-effective to go with your firm

      * Close the letter by saying you look forward to working with the company and demonstrating your firm's abilities on-the-job. Thank the person once again for his/her consideration and sign off.

Q.        How to create a creative brochure for a flower shop?

What is to be included in the brochure?

A.        A brochure is a sales piece, first and foremost. While it may entertain and inform, its primary function is to persuade prospects to buy your products.

The elements of any advertisement are the same, regardless of the medium.

First, you have to get the customer's attention. This is done with a headline on the front cover of your brochure, which should relate to the type of product you are selling, and should stop the reader with a believable promise (e.g., "Pick our flowers and save 25%.") An appropriate graphic (illustration or photograph) can assist in getting your message across. 

Second, build interest. The first paragraph of the copy inside should set the tone and expand upon your headline. Here's where you tell readers who you are, what you sell, and why you do it better than the competition.

Third, create a desire in the reader's mind to buy or own your products. This is where you expand upon your competitive advantages, turning the features of your business into benefits for the customer (e.g., "we have 12 delivery trucks"--the feature--"so we can guarantee your flowers will arrive fresh and beautiful within a half hour after you place your order"--the benefit.)

Finally, summarize the most important points of your sales message and call the customers to action. Impart urgency into your message if possible (e.g., use words like "act now" or "call today" or, if appropriate, "limited offer" or "offer expires soon." Be sure to tell the customer what you want him to do: call, write, visit, see web site, send/bring in coupon, etc. Be sure to provide all the information necessary--address and/or directions and/or map, phone/fax numbers--so customers can respond in the way you wish.

A last consideration: in designing your brochure, think about how it will be used. Will it be strictly a handout piece in a rack on your counter? Will it also be mailed, in or out of an envelope? If it's a multiple-use piece, you may have to allow blank space on the back panel for a customer's address to be typed or written in, and a stamp or bulk mailing indicia to be applied. It could be beneficial to you to hire a graphic designer and/or a copywriter to help you put together an effective, sales-producing brochure.

Q.        Could you please give me some suggestions as to what I would contain in a report that is trying to persuade a company to sponsor a kayak/kayaker.

How would I attract a business to sponsor a kayak /kayaker?

A.        The main question you have to answer for a sponsor is: What's in it for him?  Why should he sponsor you? What advantages do you have to offer his business?

Your report should address this issue head-on.

Tell the potential sponsor how many people are likely to see his logo on your kayak or your clothing, both in person and/or through the media. Include a calendar of events in which you plan to participate.

Remind him that it's good public relations to sponsor worthwhile causes (for example, if you are kayaking for a cause, like the environment, or saving wild rivers), and that this is a unique opportunity to give his company name increased visibility in an unusual and interesting way.

You should also build up your qualifications, if any--if you have participated in major kayak events, won awards for kayaking, been profiled in sports magazines, designed and built your own kayak, have a long Eskimo heritage, etc., these should play a significant role in your presentation.

You are more likely to get sponsorship if you have a track record as a winner; sponsors then can better imagine the chance to bask in reflected glory each time you win an event, and to brag about you, and your association with them. If you're just starting out, realize you'll have a tougher sales job ahead of you than if you're a seasoned competitor, in which case you will have to emphasize your enthusiasm and your potential rather than your experience.

Spell out in detail what you are looking for from the sponsor--exactly how much money they will be expected to invest, over what period of time, what it will be used for, and what they will receive for their investment (publicity, exposure, etc.) If you expect to be sponsored by a number of different companies, make sure each sponsor knows that all sponsors will be from different industries, so they're not dealing with direct competitors.

Choose sponsors wisely—combine complimentary sponsors, say, kayak maker, outdoor clothing manufacturer, camera retailer, sports drink, healthy snack foods—and you could accomplish a real synergy among the advertisers. This could—and should—result in freebees from the sponsors (hats, t-shirts, key chains shaped like a kayak paddle, etc.) that can be used to attract further noncompetitive sponsors, as well as draw larger crowds to your events.

Finally, include snapshots: of the kayak, of yourself in the kayak, of yourself in the kayak paddling through whitewater and doing some tricky moves. That way, the potential sponsor can begin to identify with your sport and imagine his logo gracing your craft. A picture, in such a case, really is worth a thousand words.

Q.        I am planning a campaign to promote 'green' energy and water efficient washing machines. What media should I use? I can place adverts in some existing mailings but I also have $15000 to spend on a campaign and some free machines to give away. The campaign will be focused in one county

A.        I would think that, based on the information you have given, that print would be the best medium for your products, at least when starting out. The reason is, in addition to a product, you're also selling a concept--energy efficiency and water conservation--that may require some space to present convincingly. Print, in the form of a booklet or a brochure, a benefit-filled newspaper or magazine ad, gives you the room to include facts and figures that support your case for the need of non-wasteful products like yours. There should be, in your country, magazines that would be ideal for reaching the primary target audience you desire: people who are concerned about the environment.

Once your brand name is well established, your company is on the way to becoming a household word, and the money is rolling in, you can profitably explore other media--such as radio or television--that tout, in shorthand fashion to the uninitiated, the advantages of your products.

Q.        This is my first year sending greeting cards to my clients (website clients). i want to make a good impression on them. Where can I find a good card and at a good price? (Some are Christian some are Jewish) I’d like something memorable and "spunky" that they will keep, if not on their desk then on their mind :)

A.        It's probably too late to do it this year, but the most memorable business greeting cards are those that are custom-created (by an ad agency, or a freelance writer/graphic designer team) for you, with words and pictures that relate somehow to the types of products/ services you deal in and serve as a reminder of the relationship between you and your clients.

There are many greeting card companies around, and you can undoubtedly find their names and addresses by conducting a web search, using "greeting cards" or "holiday cards" or "Christmas cards" as keywords. Again, it's kind of a late date to get started, on this--usually such cards are planned several months before the event--but you may run across some company that can at least personalize the cards with your business name. A little comparison-shopping will reveal the best cost-versus-impression values.

A second option is to seek out an advertising specialty supplier in your area. They often have a variety of appropriate cards that can be imprinted with your business name. Hate to sound like a broken record, but such cards are usually ordered well in advance of the holidays, and you may have to settle for what's available at the local department store or Hallmark outlet, and hand-inscribe them. You may, however, get lucky with a specialty supplier, if your order is large enough to justify a special order; won't probably be cheap, though.

Next year, plan to do it right. Start thinking of the holidays in the middle of the year, and get your custom-designed card concept to the printer by September. Not only will you save considerable money and effort, you'll also have the cards on hand well before the snow flies.

Q.        I am CEO of a college athletic scouting and recruiting company. We provide information on high school athletes, in every sport, to all the nation's 15,000-plus college coaches. The information goes to them by e-mail, fax, mail, video, and through our Web site. We provide these to the colleges constantly and our various promotions number in the tens of thousands each month. Our Web site gets well over one million hits per month. I am mentioning all these things so that you can see how extensive our coverage is. In fact, we are the oldest, largest, and generally considered the very best in our industry. We have tremendous exposure to the college athletic departments and we know this "target" audience has great advertising potential.

Finally --- here's our problem: We want to sell national advertising on our Web site and all our other promotions but we don't know how to get started, how much to charge, and how to contact the national companies who may be interested in advertising with us. We really don't want to go through some advertising agency. We have our own capabilities for producing ads in every form. All suggestions would be appreciated.

A.        Given the advantages of your business--a precisely targeted market, a good record both in terms of longevity and popularity--I'd think it wouldn't take much effort to establish yourself as a viable advertising medium among companies featuring products and services (such as sporting equipment, sports medicine and insurance) that might be of interest to your clientele.

The trickiest part, as I'm sure you're aware, is the pricing--you have to give potential advertisers enough of a bargain to entice them to earmark part of their ad budget for your new service, yet you also want to make your service profitable. Here are some preliminary suggestions for startup:

1. Appoint/hire someone specifically to coordinate this new venture, and figure out the staff and resources you'll need to make it work efficiently--salespeople, copywriters, graphic designers, media specialists, etc. Will you have to invest in additional computers/software and phone lines to handle the additional volume of business?

2. Conduct extensive research to see how much the national advertisers you'll target typically spend for various advertising venues (print and broadcast ads, web banners, etc.), and price your service accordingly.

3. Based on your research, draw up a rate card and specifications for advertisers (for examples of what to include, solicit various publications or broadcasters for their rate cards); offer plans affordable for large and small advertisers alike. Draw up lists of primary, secondary, and tertiary markets to approach; poll them to make sure there is sufficient interest in what you're offering.

4. When everything is in place, plan a splashy sports-oriented, benefit-heavy direct mail campaign to inform and excite potential advertisers about your new service.

5. Track advertising results religiously, as these will determine whether you need to raise or lower your prices.

6. Finally, though you may have in-house production capabilities, realize that you might benefit, especially in the planning stages, from the expertise of a dynamic marketing/media/promotion firm. You can hire such a firm specifically--and for a limited time--to assist you in structuring your new endeavor, setting up a marketing plan, and performing other essential initial services to ensure the success of your enterprise. 

Q.        I am interested in raising funds (through an activist group) to run an advertisement in the newspaper opening the public's eyes to what many believe is a fraudulent activity going on in one of today's industries.

My question is, what criteria need to be met (other than having the $$$) in order to run an opinionated advertisement? I notice that many ads (particularly around election time) have a footnote at the bottom (i.e., "Paid for by Citizens for a Better such & such..."). Is that all it takes?

What do I need to do to use advertising to make our activist group's views known?

A.        Different publications have different standards of what they will accept as advertising. (For example, if you belong to an anti-abortion group, many newspapers will not run your ads if they show dead fetuses.) Some avoid controversial topics altogether--especially if the industry you're taking on happens to be a major advertiser in their pages. Generally, most publications require advertisers to identify themselves, so your group should have a formal name (a professionally designed logo representing your organization doesn't hurt either, as it gives you perceived legitimacy).

The only way to know what a particular publication will allow is to prepare a rough layout of your ad and take it to the newspaper in question to see if they'll run it. Or if you prefer to know the facts beforehand, you can request their current rate card, which, in addition to giving the prices for various sizes of ads, usually contains specific advertising guidelines.

Q.        Where can I get information on advertising on my car? -- Like companies pay me for putting their logos and ads on my car.

A.        Cars with advertising or company logos are known as traveling or mobile billboards, or formally as vehicle graphic wraps.

One such company that offers payment for allowing advertising on your car is Ads on Wheels (http://www.adsonwheels.com/MOBILEBOARDS_Main.


You can find other similar companies and more information by conducting a web search, using "traveling billboards" or "mobile billboards" as keywords.

Q.        How I can advertise my web on line for free and where?

A.        Join a lot of discussion lists, especially those pertaining to the topic of your site, and join into the conversation. Contribute interesting comments about your subject, when it comes up. Be sure to include your URL just below your signature, with a few words characterizing your site; and if anybody offers to exchange site links, take them up on the offer.

Q.        What is the most effective mode of advertising if your budget is under a million? The product is an alcoholic beverage.

I’m planning to use all media. However, each campaign only runs for a week. Which order should I put my press, radio, TV and outdoor in to create maximum awareness about my beverage?

A.        In planning a campaign such as you describe, there are several considerations to take into account:

--Production costs

--Media costs

--Effectiveness vs. cost (CPM--cost per thousand impressions)

Radio offers the most "bang for your buck" because production costs are relatively low, placement costs are low, and you can target your primary audience fairly precisely, especially in afternoon drive time, when people are most likely to stop off for a drink on their way home after work, and on weekends when they're relaxing.

TV is probably your second best bet--though production and placement costs are much higher, you do get the tradeoff of being able to show your product being enjoyed in friendly surroundings. With astute research and savvy media buying, you should be able to hit your prime market, particularly late night, late week and weekends.

Outdoor, like TV, offers high awareness in exchange for high production and placement costs. Like radio, it gives you the homeward-bound audience. So the most effective use of billboards advertising your product would be those on major thoroughfares facing away from centers of population, to catch after-work commuters, or those in downtown metropolitan areas located near outlets where your product is available, to attract the attention of lunchtime or after working hours imbibers.

Unless your print advertising is tied to a special offer--such as cents-off coupons or "buy one, get one free" FSIs--it is probably the least effective of the options for your product, since production and placement costs are fairly high. You'd have the most success with this medium on weekends, when your target audience is at leisure.

To create additional awareness of your product, you might consider devoting a portion of your budget to collateral materials, such as posters for the windows of establishments where your product can be obtained ("NAME OF PRODUCT is now here!").

You could also create a splash by hiring a corps of attractive young ladies (or gentlemen) all dressed in T-shirts saying something like--"I've had my (name of product). Have you?"--or wearing buttons saying "Ask me about (name of product)." Have them wander main streets in prime markets, handing out bumper stickers or buttons or other logo-imprinted specialty items; be sure to record your promotional efforts, and make certain the news media knows about it (press kits are excellent for beaucoup free advertising).

To generate awareness with a small budget --especially with a type of product whose major competitors spend considerably more than you are able to--you have to be creative: think outside the bottle (or can).


Q.        A customer has failed to remit the amount of $750.00 due to some 6 months ago. Despite 3 telephone reminders he failed to respond.  How to write a letter demanding the immediate payment - suggest that he may choose to settle the amount in 3 installments?

A.        Six months is an awfully long time to wait for payment--is there some dispute in the amount of the bill or in the work/service/product supplied?

Personally, since I deal on a net in 30 days basis, I'd never have let such a thing go on so long without resolution. My normal procedure is a reminder notice if 30 days have passed without remittance. Then, if I still haven't received payment, I send a second reminder, prominently noting that accounts that have not been paid in 30 days are subject to a monthly penalty of 10% of the amount owed. If this still gets no reaction, I send a third notice, with a new invoice showing the updated amount owed, with the 10% penalty added; at this time, I gently suggest if the payment is not sent by the time 60 days has passed from the date of the invoice, I shall seek legal redress. Usually, clients pay up before that happens, or at least call me to make excuses why they haven't paid and to give me a promise how or when they'll pay, and I usually let them have the extra time, particularly if they've been good clients for some time and have just had a business slump.

My advice would be to write your client, rather than call, so you'll have a written record of your dealings; send it by registered mail so he has to acknowledge receipt. In your letter, remind the client what you did to earn the $750, how he accepted your work/product when you delivered it, how he's been using your work/product for six months without paying for it (which is essentially stealing goods or services) how you have reminded him numerous times that he is in arrears and--if you agreed to it at the time--that he owes penalties for nonpayment on top of the original bill (even if you didn't agree to it at the time, the standard of the industry in the U.S. is to impose a finance charge of 1.5% per month for each month the payment is late, compounded monthly). DEFINITELY DEMAND IMMEDIATE PAYMENT--don't give him the option of paying in installments, since he is so long overdue, and the time for making such arrangements was before the end of the first 30 days. I'd also suggest adding that if he does not get in touch with you by a certain date, that you will start legal proceedings against him for the purpose of collecting what you are owed. (Make sure you have good records of all your transactions with the client, in case it goes to court.) At the very least, if you don't have a lawyer, you can take him to small claims court; it's not a tough thing to do--you usually have to pay a filing fee at your county courthouse, for which you'll be reimbursed if you win (though it may be a different procedure where you live) and fill out a complaint, after which they'll schedule a court date, at which time you should show up with your case figured out, and all the evidence pertaining to it, and present it all in a clear, simple, straightforward manner. I've gone to small claims court three times over cases just like yours, and have won all three cases.

Good luck to you. I hope you're successful, because I hate deadbeats like this customer of yours.


Creative solutions


Q.        Could anyone give me some pointers or head me in the right direction for if I want to advertise a motel and get good results please?

We own a motel in Australia called "The Mirrabooka Homestead" www.mirrabookahomestead.com

and we need to advertise it as we aren’t getting many people through the door.

A.        I love the name of your motel!

How you advertise the Mirrabooka Homestead most effectively depends upon a number of factors, such as your location, your clientele, and your budget.

First what is your location?

If the motel is situated on--or just off--a major highway, you might get good results advertising by billboard. (It's expensive, but for your type of business, it's a good bet.)

If your motel is visible from the highway, you might choose to feature the name prominently, include an arrow to point the way, and briefly list one or two outstanding features to attract potential customers, for example:

• Free TV in every room

• Kids under 12 stay free

• Continental breakfast included

(Don't put too much on the board, as speeding drivers will only have a few seconds to read it all.)

If your motel is not visible, most of the board might contain an evocative illustration or photo of your establishment, the name, the rate for a single or double room, and concise directions, for example: 12 km south, just past the Koolagarri Bridge (I made that up).

Another consideration is your clientele.

Have you been in business long? Do you have a lot of repeat customers?

If you're just opening up, you'll want to generate as much free publicity as possible (and no matter what your situation, take advantage of publicity whenever the opportunity arises). Invite a reporter from your local newspaper to stay a night in exchange for an article about your place.

If you're a new motel, and near a city, you'd probably want to advertise in the major newspaper, with some sort of Grand Opening offer. It would be good to supplement your newspaper ads with radio adds that would be broadcast during the times drivers were most likely to be on the road and in need of a place to sleep. (If radio in Oz is similar to radio in America, it should be fairly inexpensive, and you can target your ads to the type of audience you hope to attract, according to the demographics--the age, income, education, etc.--of the stations.) If you can afford it, and your motel is as colorful as its name, TV spots could give a quick, inviting tour.

On the other hand, if your motel has been around awhile, you might wish to play up its historical significance.

Have you recently remodeled? Is the motel under new--and better--management? If so, either fact is worth promoting in your ads.

Direct mail--a piece of advertising, like a brochure with a cover letter, mailed directly to potential customers--might be effective for you, depending upon your circumstances. If you're located near a recreational facility (hunting grounds, a good fishing spot, an entertainment center, or the like), you can target people, like sportsmen --through mailing lists--who would be likely to stay at your motel. If you already have a solid base of former customers, they should be at the top of your mailing list.

Finally, what is your budget?

Even if you do nothing else, you should maintain a Yellow Pages ad under "Motels" in the phone book. Buy at least a quarter-page if you can, so you'll have enough room to list the features of your place.

You should also, at the very least, have some good quality brochures made up that you can hand out every chance you get, and keep a supply by the checkout counter for satisfied customers to take along and give to their friends. (I'm sure I don't have to tell you that word of mouth is the most valuable form of advertising in the service industry.)

How much should you spend on advertising? A rule of thumb in this country is about 5-7 percent of annual gross revenues (the big motel chains often spend twice that). If your budget is large enough, you might consider hiring an advertising agency to help you decide how best to make use of your money and get, as we say here, "the most bang for your buck." Otherwise, it might pay you to pick up a book of advertising basics to learn more about what might work best for you; there are literally thousands of books that can give you good advice. Or do a web search, using the keywords "advertising" or "marketing."

I hope all this has been of some use, and hasn't unduly confused you. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.

Follow-up: Thank you for the advice, well worth it.

Q.        I am making a wonderfully mild and very moisturising soap that I am calling


Would you mind appraising the following slogans that I have come up with and telling me which one you think is the best, please?

1. Skin Loves Oooh!

(with a heart around the "loves" and an arrow through it).

2. Use Oooh! and water.

3. It's Good for Yoooh!

Any suggestions gratefully received should you think the three above not good enough!

Thank you very much. I plan to trademark the name, by the way.


A.        It's not so much a matter of whether a slogan is good or bad, it's whether the slogan is effective. The best slogans are catchy, easy to remember, and tell something about the product; they usually take some time to develop, and it's a good idea to test-market different slogans to see what appeals most to the buying public.

I like the name of your product, and I think you could do more with it than you have done so far with your test slogans. Of the three you have presented, I think the first one does the best job of telling the benefit of the product, but I think you can do better. The second slogan tells how to use the product, which is OK, but it doesn't give a benefit. The third choice would probably confuse consumers--Is the product Oooh! or Yoooh!?

Here's another option which I think works better, because (a) it gets the brand name in, (b) it also presents the real benefit of the product to the consumer, and (c) it gives you the advantage of sounding like something somebody would naturally say:

Oooh! ® That feels good!

I think it works for your soap, but you may want to play around with words some more (for example, you might want to explore such avenues as):

Oooh! La-la that's some soap.

Oooh! That's mild.

Oooh! Get wet and mild.

Oooh! Just add water and enjoy.

Oooh! Go soak yourself.

Oooh! The call of the mild.

Oooh! We're out to soft-soap you.


Follow up: Sheer brilliance on your part! Thank you so much for the suggestions and the advice!

Follow-up #2:  Bearing in mind what you said about a slogan being catchy, memorable and effective rather than good or bad...I wondered what you think of this one.

This is my final attempt and hope not to pester you again!

Oooh! It feels ooolicious!

I await your response, pregnant with anticipation!

A.        Congratulations on your pregnancy, Heather.

And you're not a pest--I and my ilk are here to answer reasonable questions such as yours.

I think your latest effort falls into the same category as "Oooh is good for yoooh"--it is likely to confuse the consumer, who may not recognize the play on "Oooh!" and "delicious," and might, because of confusion, fail to make a purchase.

I believe you'd be better off using the unusual name of your product with its triple O'x in a different way, such as:

Oooh! That feels goood.


Oooh! That feels smoooth.


Oooh! The new name/new word in smoooth.

Any of these or similar, normally double-o choices (smooth, good, look, etc.) keep intact the basic structure of word you're playing off, and give it a new, different look which emphasizes the name of your product in a promotionally beneficial way.

Follow-up #3:   Brilliant, yet again. Thank you very much for steering me on the straight and narrow. I shall opt for Oooh! That Feels Goood!

Q.        “R.A.K Ceramics is proud to present MC5—The most high tech it has ever built.

R.A.K Ceramics takes pride of its newest Plant, MC5: a highly computerized plant used exclusively for the production of Gres porcellanato.”

1.Could you please help me come up with an opening line. I want something that is related to the meaning "take pride" or "proud to present".

2.In the first one, is it ok to say, "the most high tech it has ever built"? Do I have to mention the name of the company again? Which sounds better: “the most high tech plant ever built by the company" or" or "the most high tech it has ever built"?

A.        If you want to use the "pride" motif, I think it would be best to say something like:

RAK Ceramics is proud to present MC5, its newest and most technologically advanced plant yet.


RAK Ceramics takes pride in presenting MC5, the company's new, computerized plant exclusively for the production of Gres porcellanato.

The phrase "most high tech" really doesn't sound good, since the superlative of "high" is "highest," which would properly make the phrase "its highest tech plant"--this doesn't sound good either, since you lose the colloquial strength of "high-tech."

I'd find a new way of saying this, such as "most technologically advanced” or "most sophisticated" or, to be straightforward, "computer-controlled."

Follow-up:       R.A.K Ceramics

Born to innovate


R.A.K Ceramics

Reaching New Dimensio 

(R.A.K Ceramics has always acquired the latest Machinery and highly skilled Manpower in order to produce top quality products and offer excellent service.)

Could you please help me with the slogan? Could you please replace "Born to innovate" with a better one? It should have something to do with the explanation inside the parenthesis. Could you please give me at least 3 options?


A.        It seems to me you are searching for something very generic, whereas the best slogans are those that relate closely to the specific company and their products. "Born to innovate" and "Reaching new dimensions" could be used by almost anyone, in any sort of industry. Likewise, virtually every company claims such concepts as "top quality products" and "excellent service."

I think your slogan should focus on what they make and/or how they do it better than their competitors. While skilled manpower is important, the latest machinery is less so--all customers really want is a good product that performs as it's supposed to, and are not greatly concerned with the process.

In previous questions, you mentioned that RAK makes tiles, slabs and sanitary ware, and uses kilns (which produce heat); these should serve as the bases for a possible slogan.

I think you should try again first; then come back and I'll help you refine your ideas.

Second follow-up:       Could you please summarize this:

R.A.K Ceramics incorporated in 1989 takes pride in being one of the world's leading producers of ceramic tiles, gres porcellanato and sanitaryware.

Since its inception, the company's daily production capacity has increased to 110,000 sq.mt of tiles and 5000 pieces of sanitaryware, which can solely be attributed to continuous acquisition of high-tech equipment.

At present the company has 18 production lines, 14 kilns, and 16 large presses engaged in the production of tiles. Another 2 presses and 3 kilns are used exclusively to produce special items like decors, listellos, and skirtings.

Please note the figures (Production capacity) and the no. of production lines, kilns ad presses should not be
omitted .They have to be mentioned in this case. Same thing with the date.

Could you please make it shorter. Because this paragraph takes up too much space.

A         Since 1989, R.A.K. Ceramics has been one of the world's leading producers of ceramic tiles, gres porcellanato, and sanitary ware.

Today, 18 high-tech production lines, 14 kilns, and 16 large presses are capable of producing 110,000 sq. mt. of tiles and 5000 pieces of sanitary ware. Two additional presses and three kilns are used to produce special items like decors, listellos and skirtings.

This saves you approximately 30 words.

By the way, if gres porcellanato is a proprietary product of RAK Ceramics, it should have a ® or ™ symbol at the end of the name at the first mention on each page of the brochure.

Third follow-up: About the advertising copy I asked you the other day, can you change the term "house".

The gres porcellanato slabs are not only applicable to a house but also to a shopping mall building, and airport.

In the slogan you suggested "Make your house look like a million without spending thousands”, Could you please change the term House? If not, can you make another slogan?

As for your opening line you suggested, "Now you can dress up your home with the look of granite and marble at a fraction of the cost for the real thing...", Could you please replace the term" home".

A.         I get the feeling now that your ad was aimed at construction companies, rather than individual homeowners. Maybe the way to go is to substitute "projects" for "home" or "house" in all instances. Other alternatives might be "construction projects" or "buildings."


Fourth follow-up: Simply Breathtaking!

* Below will be a big picture of the interior of a house. Then around it are slabs (Gres porcellanato produced by R.A.K Ceramics)

Under this picture will be: They look so real that you'll think they're granite or even a marble.....


R.A.K Ceramics brings you the Gres Porcellanato slabs, the revolutionary alternative to granite and marble. Whether you use them for floor, walls, and vanity tops, you will be amazed with their 100% performance.

On the other space, these will be mentioned:

*Abrasion resistant

*High breaking strength

*Made with high tech equipment (Kindly replace the term" made" with a better one)

* available in various designs.

*Ideal for commercial, residential and industrial purposes.

**Kindly improve this. Can you come up with a better copy? Can you also suggest some catch phrases?


A.        HEADLINE: Make your project look like a million.

(Without spending thousands.)


Now you can dress up any construction project, large or small, with the look of granite or marble--at a fraction of the cost for the real thing.

Introducing Gres Porcellanato from R.A.K. Ceramics, the economical alternative to costly granite and marble. Perfect for floors, walls, counter and vanity tops, Gres Porcellanato slabs are durable and abrasion resistant. Manufactured of space-age materials with high-tech equipment, Gres Porcellanato stands up to heavy use, so it's ideal for residential, commercial or industrial applications. Choose from a wide variety of colors, designs and finishes to enhance any decor.

Gres Porcellanato from R.A.K. Ceramics

TAG: The look of real stone, at a genuinely affordable price.


Q.        Hi Jack,

I'd like to know your opinion about an accommodation site I have since almost 4 years ago. This is a very small site and it's more a hobby than a business.

I am renewing it and giving it a new form. It's not yet in the search engines (the new one).

My question is mainly about the home page. Do you have any suggestions? Should I add or take something out?

I wrote it thinking of the problem of the keywords, however they are not well written yet in the metatags.

Thanks for your help.

Best regards.




A.        Hello, Fernando,

I visited your site as you requested, and the apartment you advertise looks quite warm and appealing. (I have never been to Lisbon, but my brother traveled there many years ago, and had only good things to say about the city and your country.)

Your web site's home page is nicely laid out, easy to navigate, and provides a great deal of information--I could not resist looking at the pictures and the information on the other pages.

A few things you might consider when updating the site:

--Reverse typography (light type against a dark background) is difficult to read, especially when the type is small; you might want to increase the font size on the keywords and in the testimonials

--Since the apartment looks very comfortable, you might want to move some of the photos from the other pages to the home page. Perhaps you could include an interior shot, ideally of visitors enjoying themselves in the flat, an exterior shot to show the attractive apartment building, and possibly even a shot of some sightseeing spot in the area to give visitors a small taste of what Portugal has to offer.

--The keywords seem appropriate, and I don't think it would be necessary to add any extra words, unless you included additional information for first-time travelers abroad, who might want to know more about local customs; however, there were two misspellings: "Area" and "Supplied."

--The main text in the middle of the home page is of appropriate length, and inviting. There were a few misspellings/grammatical errors here as well:

paragraph 2, line 1--"to be rented"

paragraph 5, line 1--"a vast assortment"

paragraph 6, lines 1-2--"can also suit those"

paragraph 7, line 4--"guests'"

In all, the site looks good, and from the comments of your guests, they are well treated. An excellent job!

Follow-up:       Thanks very much for your quick response and nice words.

Q.        I want to get some attention to my business in my local newspaper, should I go with a press release or try and get an editor to do a piece on me? (what is the exact diff. between the two and does each one comprise of?)

How should a press release look like?

A.        Press or news releases are always good for free publicity--assuming you actually have something newsworthy to talk about: new equipment, expansion, new hirings or promotions of personnel, etc. If you don't have something to impart of potential interest to the newspaper's readers, your release may not be run.

A press release is issued by your company, on your letterhead, and in concise, straightforward (not boastful) language tells the who, what, where, when, why and how of the newsworthy event contained in the release; usually it is introduced by the words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE or EXCLUSIVE TO (NAME OF PUBLICATION), followed by a headline which encapsulates the event or news you wish to disseminate, and several paragraphs giving further details about the news item. At the bottom of the press release, you put -30- or ###, indicating the end of the release, after which you list a contact name and number, in case the publication wishes to call for a quote or further information. Depending upon the nature of your news, a press release may run from a paragraph or two in length to a couple pages, complete with captioned photographs; your relationship with the publication (for example, you regularly pay for advertising in the newspaper) often determines if and how much of your release will be printed.

A business article, however, is initiated by the publication (perhaps in response to your press release), and usually is the result of an interview. Whether or not you are the stuff of an article usually depends upon several factors: the nature of your business (is it unique or one of many similar enterprises?), the importance of your company to the community (number of employees, longevity, contributions to the economy, visibility), and, as above, your relationship to the newspaper (i.e., are you a paid advertiser?)

Q.        What is creativity?  What makes an "ad" creative?

A.        The average American is exposed to between 2000 and 4000 advertising messages per day, through watching TV, reading magazines and newspapers, listening to the radio while driving, collecting junk mail from the mailbox, or just walking about and seeing billboards, bus advertising, posters and such.

With all those messages coming in, there has to be some way to cut through all the clutter and get people to respond to the message to buy a product or service, which is the whole purpose of advertising. That's where creativity comes in.

Creativity is presenting the "unique selling proposition" (USP) of any product or service in an interesting, memorable, and persuasive fashion that causes consumers to act by visiting a store, making a phone call, or doing something else, as part of the process of getting him or her to buy.

A creative ad, especially on television, usually doesn't look like an ad. It's often a drama in miniature, in which a problem is raised: bad breath or lack of popularity, or not enough money. The product or service is then shown solving the problem.

All ads, good or bad, have the job of presenting the features of a product (that is, the facts about the product) as benefits to the consumer.

For example, cars have four wheels and engines and seats and steering wheels. Those are facts. The wheels are made to grip the road securely; the engine allows you to accelerate smoothly; the seats may be adjustable, so the driver and passengers can ride in comfort; the steering wheel is cushioned, so the driver can corner easily, have complete control over the vehicle, and drive for hours without fatigue. Those are benefits to the consumer.

Creativity is the art of showing those benefits in such a way that the consumer can picture himself behind the wheel, driving across the countryside, the wind blowing in his hair, attracting the admiring glances of beautiful young women.

Creative ads are the ones that don't hit you over the head with a message like "buy this product." They come in through the back door, showing what it's like when you own the product, and letting the consumer's imagination fill in the blanks.

For more about creativity in advertising check out a book on the subject at your local library.

Q.        I have a problem for to find a special name for to open a pet shop on my city (Bogota, Colombia) this place is gonna be for people of high economical level or position. I would like to prefer that name will be in English—do you have any idea???  The name of Pet Shop is very common here, so popular, so do you have any other idea can help me…..If you have many ideas I will appreciate.


A.        The name of your pet shop should reflect the types of animals you will be selling.

If you offer a wide range of pets, you might try a name like ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL or ANIMAL PLANET or THE BEASTIARY or THE MENAGERIE or MARIA'S ARK. You can further amend these names by adding the name of the street your shop is on, or the district of your city.

If, however, you are specializing in one type of pet (such as birds, or fish, or small furry mammals), your shop name should indicate this.












Q.        I’m going to run for Student Body Historian at my school next month. I need some suggestions on some slogans that I can use for my campaign.

A.        How about:

"Together, we'll make history."

"Posterity begins here and now."

"I'll make the present a thing of the past."

"How do you want to be remembered?"

"Elect me, and you're history!"

"Preserving today for tomorrow."

"Vote for me and you won't be forgotten."

Follow-up: Those are some good slogan. Thanks for helping me.

I decided to run for Class Treasurer instead. Can you please give me some suggestions on slogans for Sophomore Class Treasurer?

A.        Here are a couple thoughts:

I would treasure your vote.

It'll pay you to vote for me.

You can bank on me.

I'll cover your assets.

You can count on me.

Cash in on the best candidate.

With me, you're in the money.

You're right on the money with [YOUR NAME].

The smart money is on me.

Get more bank for your buck.

The buck stops here.

Q.        I would be grateful if anyone could give me some ideas as to how to market my below product.

The item is a plastic key-ring cardholder. It is designed for protection and ease of access for all credit sized cards e.g. Telecards, ATM cards, Petrol cards, Student cards. Etc. Sending samples to various instances with a covering letter has proven to be futile.

A.        There are several factors to consider in marketing your product.

First, does it have a short, catchy name? This is important in establishing a trademark and giving your product definition.

Second, have you determined primary, secondary and tertiary audiences for your product? Doing so helps you decide the best venues for it.

It would seem to me that good candidates for customers would be:

--Travelers (who can keep important cards and a car/hotel room key) on your product

--Casual athletes (who would appreciate a convenient way to carry essentials without being burdened)

--People who attend lots of formal functions (and who don't want unsightly bulges in their clothes from wallets, keys, etc.)

Third, consider price and packaging.

The package should give the name, your slogan, and short, easy instructions for use.

I would think that, since it is probably a low-ticket item, you have a number of options in marketing the product to places that use either cards or keys in their businesses. Some possibilities include:

* Specialty item/dimensional marketing companies (especially if your product allows space for a logo to be imprinted).

* Retail companies (like Wal-Mart), where it can be displayed at the checkout counter as an impulse-buy.

* Sporting events--provide a supply of the product as giveaways to participants and/or spectators in exchange for mention as a sponsor.

* Similarly, you might try banks that have their own ATM/credit card/check guarantee cards, and provide a supply of the product as giveaways to customers in order to establish your product. Likewise, I'd approach auto dealerships, real estate agencies, locksmiths, and other businesses that use keys in their trade.

All in all, I think it's going to be tough for you to establish the product without giving away a fair number of them as samples, and making price concessions for wholesalers. Ideally, you'll get some good publicity in exchange for your efforts--you can assist this process by sending press releases/samples to newspapers and other publications that deal with new product introductions.

Once you have established your product name and a track record of successful promotions at events, you can try your cover letter/sample idea again. Companies like innovations and success stories, but most of them are unwilling to risk being first in line to help a fledgling enterprise.


Q.        I own and manage a small commercial real estate brokerage, management, and appraisal firm in a medium size southern town (population about 60K). We do not deal in residential nor rural type properties, only commercial and investment ones. I have four employees, including an office manager, an appraiser, and two sales agents. My firm is some 31 years old. The firm's name carries my own name.

Here's my dilemma: I need some advice as to how to formulate a "one-shot" advertising campaign to assure my company's sustained prominence in the eyes of my community when compared with two recent upstart competitors.

1) Does anyone know of a proven effective advertising agency, knowledgeable about my field, who would---for a fee, of course---provide a "package deal", advising which way I should spend my advertising dollars to counter my new competitors to assure that I sustain my number one position in our marketplace? If so, kindly advise its name.

2) Is anyone out there willing to advise me thusly, based on his or her own experience under similar circumstances?

I'd sincerely appreciate your time and effort in this mater. Thanks ever so much.


A.        Hi, Fletcher--

Ideally, there's a reputable agency in your own community or nearby to help handle your advertising business; failing that, it's possible to hire a group of talented freelancers--copywriter, art director, media buyer--and accomplish the same objectives, probably more economically.

By the way, the words "proven effective," are not typically used in the industry, since nobody can guarantee desired results. Any agency is only as good as its last campaign, and what works for one client may be a complete washout for another client. The best any agency (or collection of individuals) can do is to absorb the facts of your particular case, to expend some brainwork in devising a strategy, and to implement it creatively and cost-effectively.

(Actually, given the few details regarding your situation, I don't think a "one-shot" campaign is the best way to go.  You've built up your business over more than 30 years, not in a one-shot approach, and to me it would be better to do a series over a period of time that promotes your image as the reliable, stable force in an uncertain world. You're the known and trusted quantity in the community, while the newcomers are unknowns who may not last.)

I also have more than 30 years in my trade, as a copywriter/marketing consultant, during which time--among hundreds of other clients--I've successfully handled campaigns for commercial, investment and residential real estate businesses, including Realtors, construction firms, and brokers. If you'd like to discuss the possibility of putting my experience to work for you, I invite you to contact me via e-mail at citizenew@aol.com.  

Q.        I'm working on an advertisement for tiles whose inspiration was taken from the famous structure in Spain, the Alhambra fort. I have come up with this slogan: The timeless blend of beauty and elegance.” I'm thinking of putting a picture of a beautiful woman in a flamenco dress. Below will be some picture of Alhambra Tiles. Then these pics will be superimposed on the Alhambra fort.

What do you think of this? Any suggestion?

A.        To be honest, your visual idea sounds a bit busy to me--you've got the Alhambra, a flamenco dancer, tiles--and the message is a bit muddy. The reader, I think, would be distracted by the beautiful woman, and miss the connection between the tiles and their inspiration, the fort. "A timeless blend of beauty and elegance" does not really deliver a benefit to the reader.

What if, in the main visual, you showed a close-up of the woman's flying feet doing the flamenco on a floor made of the tiles themselves? This says that they are not only beautiful, but very sturdy (if this is indeed the case), which demonstrates a real benefit to the consumer. Then in a smaller insert, you could show the woman and the Alhambra in the background. A headline could then be built around: "If these beautiful tiles can withstand this punishment, imagine how long they'll last in your home (or project)."

To me, the main message is the idea of beauty married to durability--after all, the Alhambra has stood for hundreds of years.


Follow-up. Alhambra Tiles take their inspiration from the famous quaint structure in Granada, Spain, the Alhambra fort. This latest collection from AVD combines timeless beauty and elegance, and lends a distinctively ancient ambience to both interior and exterior settings. Choose from a wide array of designs.

A.        This looks okay to me, except I would eliminate the word "quaint."

Q,        If you were retired or planning to retire or a senior citizen and there was a membership card program available for $25.00 a year that gave you discounts on products and services, what products and services would you want to be able to get from the card. What companies would you approach to provide the discounts?

A.        There are already such cards available from organizations like AARP (for $10 per year), which give seniors discounts on many items, such as hotels and rental cars; members also get special offers on insurance and free newsletter, and a free subscription to Modern Maturity.

I would think if you were trying to compete with the other cards, you would want to offer discounts on items seniors typically use, like medication, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheel chairs and walkers, and would approach companies who manufacture such goods. Since retired people also tend to travel, it makes sense to offer discounts on lodging, airfare, trip packages, restaurants, and various destinations. The more comprehensive a package of goods and services you can offer the more successful your card will be.


Broadcasting to the masses


Q.        I am doing an easy presentation about broadcasting in advertising. Can U please tell me what is broadcast advertising? What are the advantages n disadvantages of using broadcast ads? Can u please tell me a few examples of successful broadcast advertisements?

A.        Broadcast advertising is that done on TV and radio.

The advantages (on TV) are immediacy, color and movement; the main disadvantage is the high cost of commercial production and placement.

The advantages for radio are similar--immediacy--plus the ability to target your message to specific audiences via different radio formats (e.g., country, progressive, oldies, talk, etc.) Radio ads are also relatively inexpensive to produce and place. The main disadvantage is that people mostly listen to radio during "drive" times--going to and from work, so ads broadcast at other times don't have as many listeners.

To find successful examples of broadcast ads, try a web search, using "award-winning broadcast ads" or similar as keywords.

Q.        What does it cost and how easy is it to get TV advertisement and where should I look?

A.        If you're asking how much it costs to purchase advertising time on a TV station, it depends upon how many slots you purchase, and in what programs--advertising during highly rated programs costs much more than advertising that airs during reruns. For example, if you wanted to advertise during the Super Bowl, you'd have to cough up a lot of money: national advertisers pay $1 million or more per spot. Check with your local stations--ask for their advertising rate card.

If, however, you're asking how much it costs to produce a TV ad, that depends too, on how elaborate the production is. A local TV spot, with just still pictures or words scrolling on the screen can be produced for a few hundred dollars, and many TV stations will produce such ads for free if you buy enough spots. On the other hand, if you want a famous celebrity pitching a product, or something dramatic, like a herd of elephants, a cast of thousands, an exotic location, or complicated special effects, you should be prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars in production costs. For a simple production check with your local TV station; for a complex production, you might be wise to hire an advertising agency or a TV production company.

Q.        Are commercials scripted or "screenwritten"? I am familiar with screenplays, and would like to know what the industry standard is for writing commercials, or conveying concepts for 15, 30, or 60-second television ads.

A.        TV and radio commercials are scripted, usually by a copywriter working for a broadcast station, for an advertising agency, or as a freelancer--in 30 years as a copywriter, I've written thousands of radio and TV spots in all three venues.

There are as yet no industry standards for commercial scriptwriting (such as those of the NWU or the Writer's Guild), since, like most advertising, virtually all spots are written on a work-for-hire basis. In other words, the writer performs the task of creating a 10-second, 15-second, 30-second, 60-second, or other length script for an agreed-upon fee (whatever the market will bear), and gives up all rights to the final product in perpetuity. The only other reward for such work, besides the money and the personal satisfaction of a job well done, is the potential for the finished product to win a regional or national industry award, in which the writer (and others who helped produce the commercial) are credited and honored for their efforts.

Follow-up: Is there some sort of industry-standard format for the actual scripts? Are they expected to look like screenplays, or can they be more loosely constructed?


A.        Yes, there is an industry standard for the format of the scripts. Usually, on the left is the speaker, and on the right is the speech, like this
BOB: How would you like to lose ten pounds of ugly fat?

MARY: (enthusiastically) I'd love to! How can I do that, Bob?

BOB: Simple, Mary. Just cut off your head.

(SFX: Axe chopping off head)

Sorry, that's a lousy joke, but that's how dialogue works in radio. Directions to the actors are usually given parenthetically right before the line, as in the above example.

Sound effects (SFX) are inserted as above. Music is cued the same way.

If it's a straight one-voice announcer spot, the monologue is introduced by ANNCER: The copy block is usually broken up by ellipses... to show where the announcer should take a breath in the middle of a sentence. In a straight announcement, the voice talent can usually comfortably handle about 75 words in 30 seconds, and about 120-130 words in 60 seconds, without sounding rushed.

That's really about all there is to it, other than being aware that puns relying on homonyms (good bye/good buy) don't play well on radio, that certain letters (b, p, t) "pop" over a microphone, that a succession of "s" sounds can sound like a room full of snakes, and that one man's humor could be another man's dud.

It does, however, take some practice to become proficient in the form.

One ad person to another

Q.        I have been in the advertising business for 20 years, the last seven as an executive creative director of a midsized ad agency.

There seem to be very few creative directors over the age of 50 in our business.

What happens to them? Where do they go? What do they do when they leave advertising?

I'd love to hear from former creative directors and the folks who know them.

A.        I can relate to this. I've spent more than 30 years in the ad biz, putting in stints as copywriter, copy chief and/or creative director at four agencies (two midsize, two small). Like many of my ilk, I freelance, and have for about 60% of the time since I started out (and it can be tough in the current economic climate). I think one of the reasons CD's over 50 are scarce is that many advertisers want to address the youth market, and they figure (erroneously, in my opinion) that only young CD's can get the message right.

Another reason older CD's are phasing out is that they command high salaries, based on their experience. Modern agencies, it seems, would rather hire hungry, low-priced rookies and mold them into the position, in the process keeping for the top administrators more of the big income they'd normally be paying someone else.


Advertising terminology

Q.        What is the difference between a Slogan and a Catch line in print advertising?

A.        A catch line is used to catch attention, particularly in print ads, to the specific offer of the message, such as "Lose 10 pounds in two weeks." Catch lines may or may not see duty beyond a one-time insertion.

A slogan is a phrase used by advertisers to characterize the company or its line of products, and is usually has a long life span, such as "Diet Center: Light Years Ahead."

Q.        What exactly is meant by logo? How do professional designing companies make logo designs? What types of input is taken by the company from the client?

A.        Logo is short for logotype. The word evolved in the printing industry, during a time when metal plates were prepared, containing the type for a newspaper masthead or a company name. Today, a logo is taken to mean the particular style, shape, color and layout of a company's name as it appears in print. Most logos that have been around for a while are trademarked, so that the trademark owner has legal recourse if the logo is improperly or unfairly used by someone else.

Professional design companies or advertising agencies that specialize in devising logos often start by researching established trademarks, so they don't duplicate what someone else has done. Designers typically experiment with different typefaces, or fonts, moving the letters around until a pleasing effect is achieved. Designers will also try out different colors and combinations of colors, adding borders, crosshatching, shadows, perspective, and other design elements. Often the product or service of the company, or something that symbolizes what the company represents is worked into a design. Usually, designers present clients with 6-10 different workable designs, gleaned from perhaps hundreds of sketches. The client then may pick a few of these to be worked up into finished designs, from which one could be selected. Sometimes, the whole process may be repeated several times until the client is satisfied that the final logo is worthy of representing his business. Even finished logos that have graced a company's stationery, signage and products for many years may be changed or updated to reflect a more modern look. Some famous, well-recognized logos include Coca-Cola, General Electric, Ford Motor Company, Apple Computers, and Nike.

Client input is very important to logo design--after all, the client may have to live with the logo for many years. The best designers listen carefully to what the client says--and what he doesn't say. Sometimes clients have very definite thoughts about what they want, and it is only a matter of refining the idea into finished form. Other clients haven't a clue, but will "know what I like when I see it." Such clients are often difficult to please, and a designer may go through hundreds, even thousands, of sketches before one strikes the client's fancy.

Q.        What is starbursting and how is it used?

A.        Starbursting is a graphic technique whereby a word or phrase--such as FREE! or NEW! or ACT NOW!--is highlighted by placing it within a starburst-shaped frame (like an explosion). In advertising the device is used to attract attention, usually to a specific part of a message that is particularly significant or newsworthy; starbursts are often found in print ads, in direct mail pieces such as letters, in TV ads, and can frequently be seen in Internet advertising or on web sites to catch the surfer's eye and draw it to a new feature.


Q.        I would just like to ask if you could clarify for me two frequently used agency terms. I believe I know what they mean, however, I feel maybe some of my colleagues would have a slightly different way of categorizing exactly what they think the terms encompass.

Q1. What is your understanding of the meaning of the word ad-hoc? And what did it derive from?

Q2. What would your distinction be between above and below the line be?

A         "Ad hoc" is from Latin, meaning "for this particular purpose." So an ad hoc committee would be one convened to tackle or discuss a specific issue or project.

"Above and below the line" can have a couple different meanings in advertising, both connected to accounting/ billing. Usually "above the line" means an ordinary or routine expense, while "below the line" means an extraordinary or atypical expense. Related to those meanings, the phrases can also be interpreted to mean the actual cost plus markup of producing work for a client ("above the line") and the additional, or hidden, costs that will be added to the client's invoice to generate greater agency profits ("below the line").

Q.        What do the following business terms mean? (I need roughly a paragraph long for each)

Competitive advertising,

Generic advertising,

Informative advertising,

Persuasive advertising.

A         Competitive advertising is also known as comparison advertising, and is usually done in television or print ads. Usually, it consists of two competitive products placed side-by-side (Product A and Product B); the copy then demonstrates, point-by-point, how the featured product is superior to the competitor.

While competitive advertising can be good if the featured product (A) has distinct advantages over the inferior product, it can also (B) lead to confusion among consumers, who may forget which product is being advertised, since both are pictured. Well-known companies that have engaged in extensive comparison campaigns have included Pepsi-cola (vs. Coca-Cola) and Burger King (vs. McDonald's).

Generic advertising is that which talks about a product in general, without specifying brand names. A typical example of this form of advertising is the current "Got Milk?" campaign, which promotes the nutritious value of drinking milk without mentioning a particular manufacturer. Other examples are the "Pork: the other white meat" campaign, which promotes pork as an alternative to other meats, and the "Beef: it's what's for dinner" campaign.

Informative advertising is that which presents the facts about a product or service in straightforward fashion, without a lot of hyperbole or promotional language, preferring to appeal to the intellect of the consumer who, it is theorized, is smart enough to glean the benefits from the facts and make up his own mind whether or not the product being advertised is worth purchasing.

All advertising is, to some extent, persuasive (otherwise it would be editorial rather than advertising). The whole point of advertising is to persuade and convince consumers, through one tactic or another, to buy something. Some ads are hard sell, which hammer home the features of a product or service to the consumer, using repetition and little creativity to present a boilerplate message.  Others are soft sell, a more roundabout way of selling, which paints a pleasant picture or tells an interesting story concerning the product, so that consumers can use their own imagination to envision themselves using the product.

Q.        I am trying to find a good definition of BRAND - as used in advertising.

A.        A brand is a trademarked name for a product that is identified exclusively as belonging to a particular company. Some famous brands include Coca-cola, Ford, Xerox, Nike, and General Electric.

Usually, the branding process works like this:

* A company comes up with a product.

* The company devises prospective names for the product.

* A search is conducted to see if the names are already in use; if the names are in use, the company invents new names; if the names are not in use, the company chooses the best name from its list and officially registers the name with the U.S. Trademark office.

The whole process of deciding a brand name can be very costly and time-consuming.

The reason for registering a brand name is to keep it from becoming a generic name for the particular product, as has happened in the past (cellophane, linoleum, refrigerator, and many other former brand names are now considered generics). Once a brand name becomes generic, anyone can use it, not just the company who spent considerable revenue inventing the name and developing the product.

Many companies jealously guard their brand names, and will aggressively fight those who infringe upon the brand, to keep it from becoming a generic, and every year there are lawsuits initiated over trademark rights.

Q.        Define media, promotion and research.

A.        Media are the vehicles--such as radio, television, magazines, newspapers, direct mail, billboards, the Internet, or other visible or audible means--by which advertising messages are disseminated to the buying public.

Promotion is the process of generating interest and/or excitement for an upcoming event, often in conjunction with an advertising campaign.

Research, as related to advertising, is the gathering of all pertinent information about customers and their buying habits, relevant to the effective sales of products and services.

Q.        I want to know the difference between the following marketing terminologies: Brand Equity Analysis and Public Image Study.

A.        Brand Equity is equivalent to market share, which is determined by dividing the sales of a particular company by the total sales of that company's industry. Brand equity also involves brand recognition, preference, and insistence, which together make up brand loyalty.

A Public Image Study has to do with how a particular product or company is perceived by customers in the marketplace. Surveys usually begin with general questions to consumers, asking if they use the type of product in question, and proceed with more specific questions about if and why the particular product is used, and consumer reactions to it.

Brand Equity Analysis deals more with the financial and statistical side of a product's performance in the marketplace, and can show where a product is performing well, where advertising needs to be beefed up, and other broad trends. A Public Image Study deals more with how individual customers view it, on a grass-roots level, and can give marketers valuable information about how to (or how not to) advertise it.

Q.        Can you tell me, In Advertising parlance what is KENERNING?

A.        I am unaware of this term. The only word I know that comes close is "kerning," which is a typological term for reducing the space between individual letters so more type can be squeezed onto a line.

FOLLOW-UP: I’m very sorry to put you into trouble the actual word is "knerning" and not "kenerning" which is used in advertising parlance. I cannot give any more detailed explanation on this term as I have no idea of this term.

A.         It's no trouble. I've been in advertising for 30+ years, and I have never    heard of "knerning." As I noted before, there is a term, "kerning," which I briefly explained, but "knerning" is a new one on me.

Q.        I would like to find out the technical term used to describe the on-screen pop-up/banner advertising on broadcast TV; and also whether or not there are any books, academic articles, and empirical studies that cover this subject.

One more thing, pleas: What is the best approach to sell ideas to ad agencies or companies; so that it brings financial rewards?

A.        I'm not really sure what you're referring to.  I'm used to crawls (words that move across the screen from right to left) and banners (a line of type, often superimposed diagonally across the screen), splashes and bursts (a jagged depiction of a starburst, containing copy), and superimpositions (words put up on the screen, through which the image is still visible).  I'm not aware of any studies that have been done on the subject, but you can conduct a web search, using "character generation" or "on-screen verbiage" or other similar keywords and see what turns up.

Ad agencies or companies don't generally buy ideas--they buy copy written specifically for a marketing purpose. So the best way to achieve financial rewards from your imagination through advertising is to either set yourself up a freelance copywriter (as I've done), or to get a job as a copywriter at an agency or in the marketing or PR department of a corporation.

Q.        Can you please tell me the difference between a copywriter and an advertiser? Or is the name of a person who works in an advertising agency a "copywriter"?

Also, what does copywriting entail? Do you need a university degree?

A.        Since the difference between an advertiser and a copywriter has already been dealt with, I'll concentrate on your second question.

You don't absolutely need a university degree to become a copywriter, but it certainly helps. You could work as a freelancer, or perhaps land a copywriting job at a small agency without a diploma, but it would be unlikely you'd go far at a large agency. Degrees in English/creative writing (what I majored in at undergraduate and grad school), communications, or marketing are the usual specialties, and it's not a bad idea to have a general idea of graphic design so you know what differentiates between a good and a mediocre print ad.

Copy writing incorporates much more than simply writing.

You have to be a good listener, to hear not only what the client is saying, but also what he's not saying.

You have to be well organized, because you'll often be juggling many projects at the same time. (Copy writing is mostly organizing the features of a product or service into logical order then presenting them persuasively as benefits to the consumer or business that you're addressing.)

You have to be fairly personable, because you'll deal with a variety of clients and co-workers, of every personality type.

You have to be a quick study and a fast worker, because you're often faced with ridiculous deadlines. You can't be someone who panics easily when things don't go exactly as planned.

You should be well rounded, because the wider range of experiences you can draw from, the better you'll be in creating ads.

You have to recognize that you're just one cog in the machine of advertising. You need the ability to work with account executives (salesmen) that bring in work, media buyers (who place what you write on radio and TV, in magazines and newspapers and other outlets), art directors and graphic designers (who devise visuals to accompany what you write, and make your words look good in context), administrators and bookkeepers.

You can't be afraid of rewriting, because you'll do it often until the client approves the final copy. And you have to be an excellent, eagle-eyed proofreader (which is where a degree helps), because a misplaced decimal, an erroneous comma, a wrong or wrongly used word, or a simple typo can not only make you look silly and unprofessional, they can also alienate customers, cost clients money, lose your employer business, and lead to your unemployment.

Student projects

Q.        I am doing this study for my communication class and I need your help. If you were to be cut off from any mediums of mass media (newspaper, TV, radio, magazines, computers) in one day, how would you feel? How dependable are you on them in your everyday life? What would you miss? And what difference it would make if any?

A.        I suppose, like many people, I would go into a sort of withdrawal if suddenly deprived of all sources of information. I also imagine that if the absence of mass media continued for any length of time, that I would adapt to its loss and probably not miss it after awhile.

While I'm not a news junkie, I do like to keep in touch with what's happening around the world, particularly in these troubled times; for that I mostly rely on TV and computer news sources. Since I have quite a few investments, I would definitely miss the stock reports, where I track how much I gain or lose each day--though the stocks would gain or lose regardless of whether I watched the numbers or not. I also enjoy sports, and eagerly look for scores, especially during a pennant chase in baseball season.

Q.        I am a student and I have to make a project about a new brand. The product is a gas phial. What it the percentage of the budget that advertisement and what percentage the sales promotion must have. Moreover, how much of the total sales promotion budget will be allocated to trade promotions and how much to consumer promotion. I know that it is difficult to answer after this information, but I want your opinion. Give me some general numbers and percentages and i will be grateful.

A.        Startup costs for new product advertising and marketing can vary tremendously, depending upon such factors as the potential audience for the product, the cost of the product to the consumer, and projected sales. A product with a high price tag and a narrow market, for example, would require a completely different strategy than a low-cost product with a wide audience. A product that is targeted to the trade would require different thinking than one targeted at consumers.

Very generally speaking, companies often allocate 5-10% of their initial budgets to advertising, and the same amount to sales promotion (on the other hand, if it is expected that sales will be strong the first year, these figures could go as high as 25%).

It really is impossible to give clear-cut answers with such scant information.


Q.        Why is it important to advertise? At the same time, why is it important to market?

A.        There is an old industry adage, which states: "In good times, you should advertise; in bad times, you must advertise."

In this communication-dominated age, the adage is truer than ever. Without advertising, it is almost impossible for potential customers to learn of--and buy--your product or service. Sure, word of mouth from satisfied consumers is always the best form of advertising, but it's not reliable; some people are happy to spread the word, while others keep news to themselves.

Advertising can make all the difference between the success and failure of a company. It's the best opportunity a business has of announcing its existence, telling the features and benefits of its products or services, and differentiating between one company and its competitors.

Marketing is important in the scheme of things because it is the strategy that makes advertising pay off. Marketing helps determine the best message to disseminate to the public, how that message should be delivered (i.e., through what media, how often, and where), and to whom (primary, secondary and tertiary target audiences, for example). Marketing is the foundation (it isn't seen by the public) and advertising the framework (the visible portion) of every successful campaign ever built.

Follow-up: Thanks so much Mr. Ewing, you really are an expert in so many different fields, judging by your answers to so many diverse questions. This should help a lot on my final paper:)

Q.        I want to know the differences between copywriting for print ads, audio-visual ads and Internet advertisements? It is for a dissertation.

A.        The process for writing ads for all three media is the same:

* Grab the viewer's attention

* Generate interest in the product or service being advertised

* Create desire for the product or service

* Tell prospective customers how and/or where to get the product or service.


The procedure for writing such ads is slightly different, however.

Print ads, which take up actual space in a magazine or newspaper, are intended to be carefully read, so they can generally be longer and more detailed, if necessary to highlight product features and benefits. Since they are seen, it is necessary to construct sentences carefully, and to make transitions from point to point smoothly. Proofreading is also important, as errors in syntax, spelling mistakes, and typos can undercut the message. Print ads are usually constructed with the headline in boldface or all capital letters at the top, the text in upper and lower case in the middle, and the logo/address/phone/fax/web site highlighted at the bottom of the ad.

TV ads, as a combination of sight and sound, allow the copywriter more leeway, though they limit what can be told: the idea is to create a general and favorable impression about the product, rather than have what is written closely examined by a reader. Usually, because the ad is limited to 30 or 60 seconds of time, only one or two major points about a product can be made, often in a more general than specific way. TV ads are constructed as scripts, with what is to appear on the screen outlines on one side of the page, and what is to be heard on the other side. Because most words will not be seen, they can contain typos, or be spelled phonetically to assist an announcer in pronunciation, if necessary. Those words that appear on-screen--such as the brand name and the address--must be spelled properly, of course.

Most Internet advertisements, particularly banner ads, usually take the form of an intriguing headline: "Like to save 50% on eyeglasses?" or "Want to lose ten pounds of fat in two weeks?" They then invite readers to "Click here," directing interested prospects to another web page where they can learn additional details about the product or service in question--such linked sites then become similar to detailed print ads. The idea behind Internet banner ads is that most "surfers" have limited attention spans; those not interested in the product being touted will move on, and only those with possible motivation to buy--in essence, this is a pre-qualifying stage in the sales process-- will take the next step, and learn more about the subject of the ad.

Q.        I have a term paper about subliminal messages/marketing.  How it is applied, is it legal???? Advantages and disadvantages... If possible, an example.

A.        Subliminal refers to something existing or functioning outside the area of conscious awareness, something that influences thought, feeling or behavior in a manner unperceived by personal or subjective consciousness. Thus, "subliminal persuasive" is that which is designed to influence the mind on levels other than that of consciousness awareness, especially by the presentation of messages too brief to be consciously perceived.

According to Boone & Kurtz in CONTEMPORARY MARKETING (Fifth edition, 1986):

"In 1957, the words "eat popcorn" and "drink Coca-Cola" were flashed on the screen of a New Jersey movie theater every five seconds at 1/300th of a second. Researchers reported that these messages, although too short at the conscious level, resulted in a 58 percent increase in popcorn sales and an 18 percent increase in Coca-Cola sales. After these findings were published, advertising agencies and consumer protection groups became intensely interested in subliminal perception --the receipt of incoming information at a subconscious level.

"Subliminal advertising is aimed at the subconscious level of awareness to avoid viewers' perceptual screens. The goal of the original research was to induce consumer purchasing while keeping consumers unaware of the source of their motivation to buy. Further attempts to duplicate the test findings, however, have invariably been unsuccessful.

"Although subliminal advertising has been universally condemned (and declared illegal in California and Canada), it is exceedingly unlikely that it can induce purchasing except in those instances where the person is already inclined to buy. The reasons for this are:

1. Strong stimulus factors are required to even gain attention.

2. Only a very short message can be transmitted.

3. Individuals vary greatly in their thresholds of consciousness. Messages transmitted at the threshold of consciousness for one person will not be perceived at all by some people and will be all too apparent to others. The subliminally exposed message "Drink Coca-Cola" may go unseen by some viewers, while others may read it as "Drink Pepsi-Cola," "Drink Cola," or even "Drive Slowly."

"Despite early fears, research has shown that subliminal messages cannot force the receiver to purchase goods that he or she would not consciously want."

From ADVERTISING MANAGEMENT, Test and Case, by Anderson & Barry (1979):

"The tachistoscope is a projector that can project images on a screen at rates so fast that normal perception processes in respondents cannot detect the message. The frame speed of the tachistoscope is scientifically altered to the point that subliminal messages pass through the perceptual threshold, and the point at which respondents indicate an understanding of the message is recorded. The concept is that more interesting words, slogans, headings of advertisements, etc. will be noticed more rapidly than those messages which are less interesting to the audience. Again, the validity of this measure has been criticized, but very scientific approaches are being used in research using the tachistoscope process."

From PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY (1979), by Engel, Warshaw and Kinnear:

"The critics' fears [about subliminal advertising] are without foundation, however, because it is now known that consumers continue to perceive selectively even when stimuli are presented at subliminal levels. One study revealed that GSR scores (electro-conductivity of the skin) respond before individuals can give verbal responses when they are exposed to such taboo stimuli as swear words. This indicates that perceptual defense can function at below-threshold levels. Other studies have found the same effect; one of the most definitive reports demonstrates that GSR does not register at all when speed of exposure is so fast that no perception is possible...

"Given these findings, it is clear that subliminal advertising will not circumvent the consumer's natural defenses. Thus there is little merit in using a fragmentary stimulus and thereby increasing the probability that the message will not be seen."

Hope this helps. For more information, look in advertising books in your local library.

Q.        I am a first year student for Marketing in Thailand. In my country, comparing product in the same product line is forbidden. However, I have an assignment to analyze about What is the advantage and disadvantage of the comparison advertising and the impact that will change the consumers perception or decision making for the product when they're viewed the advertisement.

A.        The primary advantage of direct product comparisons is: if product A has a significant benefit that leading competitor B does not have, that benefit can be forcefully demonstrated to consumers, either by showing the two products in use, or through testimonials from satisfied customers who have sampled both products.

The main disadvantage is that comparison advertisements, where both products are shown side-by-side in a print ad or on a television screen, may confuse consumers as to which product is being touted, thus diluting the strength of the message. The point of advertising is to positively promote your product, and to avoid promoting a competitor's, a principal that comparison ads violate.

Q.        I am thinking about comparing the method and techniques of advertising of the 1880's and the 1920's. Can anybody suggest some characteristic of the two eras? Also, are there any better topics to write about concerning advertising during the 1920's for a research paper?

A.        I think your topic is quite interesting.

For one thing, the moral climates of those two decades were quite different.

The 1880's were still deep in the Victorian era, which was, on the surface, quite prudish; as the song goes, "a glimpse of stocking was looked upon as something shocking." Advertising then consisted almost totally of print, in magazines and newspapers, and outdoor signage.

The Roaring Twenties, on the other hand, were risqué times--the Jazz Age, prohibition, flappers, gangsters, and speak-easies. By then, billboards were quite prominent, to take advantage of the numbers of people who were traveling by automobile, and radio was beginning to catch on.

Another factor was the great change in technology between the two eras.

In the 1880s, most people traveled by horse and buggy, by bicycle, or on foot. The telephone was a brand-new instrument. Gas lighting was commonplace. Warfare was quite different then too--lots of cavalry.

By the 1920's, however, many of the modern conveniences we now take for granted had been invented and were in everyday use: electric lights, the telephone, the auto, the airplane, movies, record players. Warfare had changed, thanks to the use of airplanes, tanks, poison gas, and submarines in battle.

I would think there would be plenty of research materials available, either for a comparison of advertising techniques of the 1880's and the 1920's, or a contrast between the 1920's and today's methods.

Q.        This is a class project. Are there any global advertising campaigns? Which brands and products lend themselves best to this kind of advertising? What problems have to be overcome in order to be successful?

A.        Yes, there are many global advertising campaigns. Some companies that advertise virtually everywhere around the world that come immediately to mind include Coca-Cola (the most recognized brand name worldwide), McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Fuji Film, Nike, Ford, IBM.

Almost any product or brand has the potential to be advertised anywhere--the only real restrictions are: how do you deliver the advertising to consumers, and can they afford to buy the product? Bantus living in huts in Africa, nomads in Mongolian yurts, or Tuaregs in the Sahara may have no electricity, and may earn only pennies a day--so they have no means to know about products advertised on TV, may not be able to read print advertisements, and do not have the money to buy something even if they desired it.

Generally, however, in most of the world, products that sell well include food and drink products, clothing and shoes, vehicles and technological products, such as computers and printers, the latter particularly well in developing countries.

One of the barriers to be overcome is the difference in languages. A famous example from the advertising annals is a campaign done some years ago for the Chevy Nova, which was to be promoted to South America. The problem was, in Spanish, "No va," means "it doesn't go." It's very tricky trying to translate American slang--which is frequently used in advertising in the U.S.--into another language. For foreign countries, advertising verbiage has to be clear, simple, and unambiguous.

Awareness of local customs is another hurdle. You could go broke trying to sell hamburgers in India, where many people don't eat beef. Liquor ads don't go over well in staunchly Muslim countries. In some countries, it is considered impolite to show the soles of the feet; in other countries, women’s faces are kept concealed--advertising that violates such taboos would not only be most likely unsuccessful, but might well be thought of as immoral, thus casting the advertiser in a negative light.


The secret of success in international campaigns is to

1. Offer a product of broad appeal;

2. Carefully research each country and its customs where the campaign will appear, making good use of local or native representatives;

3. Make ads simple, pleasing, non-controversial, and direct.

4. Have an efficient distribution system in place that takes into account the myriad of import-export laws and restrictions that prevail when trading globally, so the product can be delivered on time, in good condition, and at a reasonable market price.

5. Have a local service department in place to answer questions and deal with product complaints.


Q.        I have to write a research paper on advertising during the 1920's. Are there any

good subjects to write about?

A.        A few possible topics about 1920's advertising spring to mind:

* The effect of Prohibition on advertising

* How advertising changed from that exhibited during World War I (U.S. involvement 1917-1918) to postwar.

* The automobile was still relatively new in the 1920's--how were cars advertised? Were purchases motivated by looks, cost, speed, safety, or options?

* Women's clothing underwent great change in the 1920's, thanks to the flappers, and contrasted greatly with the prim clothing from the previous decade. How were now clothes advertised, and to what audience?

* What were the primary motivating factors appealed to in advertising of the 1920's vs. today? What has changed and what has remained the same?

Q.        I'm a visual communication design student. I have an assignment to make a paper about "how to make a good advertisement in magazine". As we see, sometimes peoples thinks that advertisement in TV is more interesting than the advertisement in magazine. How we can change that perception. Could you help me to find the strategy to make a good advertisement in a magazine? Or maybe some website that have relation with it? Thank you very much for your attention.

A.        Effective magazine (or print) advertisement follows the same process as in any of the other major media--radio, TV or direct mail. It's a four-step plan known by an age-old acronym in the industry: AIDA.

The “A” stands for ATTENTION. You have to stop the reader with a believable promise, also known in the trade as a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Examples of effective headlines:

* Lose 10 pounds of body fat in 2 weeks.

* Save $2000 when you buy a new Volvo this month.

* Free advice on how to win the man of your dreams.

* Reduce your heating bills by 20% with Acme Furnaces.

* Now you can $5000 extra per day!

* Eliminate your hemorrhoids today.

The “I” stands for INTEREST. Once your headline has caught the reader's eye, you must generate interest in your product or service. You do this by giving proof that what you said was true, and by providing enough details about what you're offering that the reader can easily understand the facts about the product and the potential benefits that accrue to the consumer.

The “D” stands for DESIRE. If your headline is of sufficient power to attract a reader, and your opening paragraph is persuasive enough in presenting your product's features as benefits, the reader will begin to imagine owning the product. Your task at this point is to drive home the advantages, to make the reader see the good that will happen when he's using what you're selling. Make him want it, make him desire it, make him feel he's gotta have it.

The final “A” stands for ACTION. After the reader's attention is captured, his interest is built, and his desire for the product is high, the only things left are to tell him to buy now, and make it easy for him to do so. You do this by providing an address, a web site, a phone number, or other means by which he can take immediate action and get the product.

Advertising has been compared to fishing. The headline is the attention-getting lure. The interest portion gets the fish (the consumer) to nibble. The desire part gets him hooked. And the action closing reels him in.

That's what good advertising, in any medium, is all about: Getting noticed by a consumer, and keeping him on the line long enough to land a sale.

Q.        I just made an outline of my report on our psychology class with the topic advertising (the role of psychology on advertising indeed). Here it is:


I. Definition of advertising

Elements of advertising

Factors consider in advertising

II. Basic advertising principles

III. Objectives of advertising

Informing objectives

Persuading objectives

Reminding objectives

IV. Advertising appeals

V. Classification/types of advertising

VI. Forms of advertising

VII. Advertising strategies and guidelines

VIII. Role of psychology in advertising

Please read it and help me. I don't know if the topics are arranged correctly. I might forget some topics that are necessary in the report. Please remind me. Please make all the necessary corrections that you think may make my outline and report better.


A.        I don't have any real problems with your outline, other than the fact that most of the outline concerns advertising in general, and that you put "Role of Psychology in advertising" last; I would think that in a psychology class, this item should come first.

Perhaps a better way to approach your topic would be to consider first the different psychological appeals played to in advertising, such as "the desire to become wealthy" or "the desire to be attractive" or "the desire to be well-liked." If you start with the psychological aspect, then you can give examples of the different ways advertising attempts to appeal to the wants and needs, conscious or unconscious, of the consumer.

Q.        How do I deconstruct a magazine advertisement?

am currently enrolled in a Media Criticism course, and we are assigned to deconstruct an advertisement from a magazine.

A.        Deconstructing an ad is nothing more than picking it apart and analyzing its components for effectiveness. Here are some things to look for in a magazine ad:

* The headline--Did it catch your eye? Did it make a believable promise? Did it make you want to read further? Or was the headline so generic or nonspecific that you couldn't tell what was being sold?

* The visual(s) (if any)--Did the illustration or photograph tie into the headline? Were there secondary visuals to help explain or lead you through the ad?

* The body copy--Did the copy generate your interest in the product or service? Did it create a desire in you to own what was being sold? Did it tell you how you could acquire the subject of the ad? Did the copy turn product features into consumer benefits? Did it tell a good interesting, informative and persuasive story in a smooth, logical sequence? Did the text use short words, short sentences, short paragraphs? If the body copy was long, was it broken up by benefit-oriented sub-headlines? Was the copy easy to read, thanks to a clear type of adequate size, or were the words set in reverse type, too small or printed at an angle? Was the copy easy to navigate from start to finish?

* The logo/address/phone/web site--were these present and prominent? Was there a call to action--"Call now" or "Contact us today" or "Visit our store before this offer expires"?

            The overall look and feel--Was it an attractive, eye-catching, well-composed and structured ad, compared to the other ads in the magazine?

Q.        I have to answer some questions in my grade 12 marketing textbook but I have no idea. The questions are:

1. Why do some marketers use brand managers while others do not?

2. What would be the relationship between the advertiser's brand manager and the advertising agency's account executive?

A.        1. Brand managers are usually employed at the larger companies--such as Ford--with extensive product lines. The reason for this is that target markets for Ford automobiles and Ford pickups (or other Ford vehicles) are vastly different and their success rates can vary greatly as well. Brand managers are necessary in such instances to keep their fingers on the pulse of their particular segment of the industry: competitive products, demographics (age, income, education, location, and other factors that profile their audience), trends and so forth; managing all the details of all the brands of a gigantic company like Ford is just too complex for one person to handle, so it is subdivided into manageable portions.

Smaller companies, or those with few products, generally don't need brand managers, since this is just another layer of middle-upper management, and can be costly to a growing company in terms of salary and benefit packages.

2. The relationship between an advertiser's brand manager and an advertising agency's account executive is similar to the relationship between any advertiser and its agency. Both are representatives of their respective companies, and both are working towards a common goal: the successful promotion of a product, and by extension, the overall success of the company. Often, large companies (such as Ford) will divide their various brands among different agencies, rather than giving the entire account to one agency since, as mentioned above, different brands within a company often have different markets and different individual advertising objectives. The brand manager is responsible for clarifying the objectives of his particular segment of the company--desired image, projected sales, market share, etc.--to the account executive, whose responsibility is to transmit this information to the agency's creative and production departments. Once projects are completed, the account executive presents them to the brand manager for approval (and the brand manager in turn submits them for approval to his superior, an executive, such as a marketing manager, who oversees the company's entire advertising effort).

Q.        This is a grade 11 student.

I had received an assignment about advertisements and i am supposed to find 3 media advertisements about education, culture and leisure... i can find education and leisure... but i am having a huge trouble searching for a culture advertisement~

Hope u can help me with it~ pls!

A.        Look for ads that deal with symphonies, ballets, literary readings or art galleries--all are the trappings of what is considered culture.

Q.        I am a high school student, and am doing a paper. I just need to know a little bit more on the topic, and would be grateful if you could lend your assistance.

I've read that people who are exposed to cigarette advertisements are more likely to smoke. I need to know why that is.

Also, is there an image that is portrayed with smoking, and does that image, if any, influence smoking, in teens or otherwise?

What do people think about people who smoke, given, of course, that they themselves do not smoke?

How are cigarettes marketed? I've seen those cheesy Target Market and Truth commercials, and yet, still cannot recall the last time I saw a cigarette ad.

And finally, does Target Market have merit? Are they placing blame on the right people (group of people)?

Any information would be appreciated, especially if you could answer these as soon as possible.

A.        Cigarette advertising--

In general, advertising increases the consumption of whatever product is being advertised, cigarettes included.

The various images portrayed in cigarette advertising include: a sense of independence, a feeling of fun (since cigarette smokers are often shown enjoying themselves in groups), the idea that it's relaxing and a stress-reducer.

It's probably a safe assumption that most non-smokers do not enjoy being around smokers. Traditional arguments about smoking include: health issues (emphysema and cancer); the smell of the pungent smoke, which lingers; bad breath from smoking; ash marks and burn holes in clothing and on furniture from dropping cigarettes, and the potential for fires.

The reason you haven't seen or heard any cigarette ads on TV or on radio is that such ads were banned in 1971; cigarette advertising is now only allowed in print media (newspapers, magazines, billboards) and these may also be banned someday. Today, most cigarette ads show people relaxing with a cigarette or having one with coffee or a crowd of smokers enjoying themselves at a party or at a bar.

Q.        I work in advertising. One of my colleagues came to me today and said, "Hey, I'm working on a paper for my marketing class, and I wanted to ask your opinion on something."

The topic of the paper is:

"Is Product Marketing Strategy the Same as Business Strategy? Why or why not?"

It sounds like a pretty weird question to me. I mean, a company's product, whether that is a physical product or a service, is its bread and butter, because a company with no product or service doesn't really have a way of making money. But then, business strategy relates to so much more than just marketing... it involves cutting costs, developing partnerships, etc. It seems like they are very different, yet in some ways the same, so it's almost like a trick question.

What's your take on this?

A.        My take on this subject is much the same as yours. Business marketing does indeed involve a whole realm of concerns--payroll, image, employment, production, taxes, legal issues, etc.--that have nothing directly to do with marketing a product. A company like Ford or H.J. Heinz may have a wide variety of products that are all marketed in different ways, to different audiences, via different media. They are parts of a whole, like the segments of an orange--the segments (the products and the results of marketing strategy) are external, what consumers see, and the orange (the company and the results of business strategy) is internal, what executives, employees and investors see.

Q.        I am planning to do a master degree in communication at one of the universities of Australia. Mass communication is my major now in China, and marketing communication or communication management is my proposed course. Here is a list of one of the course structure, can you share me some time to have a look at it and see if the structure is scientifically?

MA in Communication Management


Managing Communication

Communicating with Publics

Group and Organisational Communication

Cross-cultural and International Communication Research for Communication Professionals

Communication Management Case Studies


Communication Management Project

Communication Management Project

Strategic Communication and Negotiation

Professional Practice

A.        I don't know what you intend to do once you complete your graduate studies, so it is difficult to judge whether your proposed curriculum is properly balanced. If you intend to have a career in communications, it is often a good idea to include language and grammar studies, and public speaking courses (particularly if you intend to enter the field of mass communications, where you might be an on-air broadcaster). Also, since "marketing communication" is synonymous with "advertising," at least in America, it might not be a bad idea to include some courses in the theory and practice of that industry--marketing design, the psychology of consumerism, media studies, and the like--should you decide to pursue that direction.

Follow-up: Thank you for your reply, and it's really helpful to me.

I neither intend to be an on-air broadcaster, nor a journalist. But to be an editor may be a little difficult for me since my mother tongue is not English. I prefer to be a manager or a decision-maker if possible.

In fact, I like to get any position in the field of Mass Communication such as filmmaker, photographer, producer, publisher, and the like. But I have no choice but to study management now for my status as an overseas student to Australia.

What's more, can you tell me some important characteristics a media worker should obtain?

A.        I think the most important characteristics any media worker can have are: (1) the ability to listen carefully and completely (without interrupting) to other people, and (2) the discipline to formulate a coherent answer in your mind before replying to someone else.

Follow-up: Thank you, but it seems hard to obtain the second characteristic you mentioned above. How did you train yourself to be a person like that in your career?

A.        Patience comes with age and practice; I've gained a lot of both over the years.

Q.        I was wondering could anyone help me find a report or ANY information about how sex in advertising can increase sales.

A.        The best example of how sex in advertising increases sales is prostitution, called "the world's oldest profession." If hookers dressed in frumpy outfits with no makeup and their hair in curlers, they wouldn't get much business. Instead, they do up their faces and hair, wear halter tops, hot pants, and other revealing costumes to show the product to its best advantage.



Advertising history


Q.        How did advertising change in the 1950s? How had American lifestyle changed from the years in the past to the 1950s?

A.        The 1950's, especially after the end of the Korean War, were relatively trouble-free (compared to the era of World War II in the previous decade), and prosperous (compared to the Great Depression of the 1930's.); the biggest concerns were the threat of the atomic bomb and Communism.

Advertising methods changed considerably. Whereas radio had been a prime form of getting advertising messages across, with the boom in television in the late 1940's and early 1950's, that medium took precedence. Because the average person had more disposable income, they were buying more cars and traveling more, so billboards also became more important in the marketing mix.

In lifestyle, the biggest change was where people lived and worked. In previous years, half the country lived in rural environments. But after World War II, many of these people moved into the cities and suburbs, where they were exposed to more advertising from more sources than they had been, and grew to desire more possessions. It's a trend that has continued to this very day.

Q.        What types of advertisements were placed in America during the 1950s?? Why was advertisement important to the people back then?? What were most businesses in the 1950's advertising??

A.        Advertising today isn't that different than that done 50 years ago--except there wasn't as much of it then as there is now. Advertising in the 1950's was heavier on radio, in print, and on billboards, because many people didn't yet have TV sets. And of course there was no web marketing, because there was no Internet and nobody owned personal computers.

The purpose of advertising 50 years ago was the same as now: to inform consumers about products and services in an attempt to persuade them to buy what was advertised. For the most part, the products advertised were similar in nature to the things advertised now: foodstuffs, clothing, cosmetics, cars, and various services, like insurance and banking (in every age, people need food, clothing, shelter, and things that give them a sense of well-being). Some things that are often advertised today--fax machines, cell phones, software, video games--didn't exist then. But then, some things that existed them (like Packards and Studebakers, fedoras, cigarette holders, pillbox hats with veils, poodle skirts and bobby socks, hula hoops, Davy Crockett caps, and secret decoder rings) aren't around much these days either. 

All about billboards


Q.        What are billboards? What are the advantages and disadvantages of billboards?

A.        Billboards are large outdoor displays, typically set up in areas of high auto or pedestrian traffic. There are also "traveling" billboards (such as those affixed to the sides of buses) and "walking" billboards (also known as "sandwich" boards) which are placards advertising a product or service, worn front and back by an individual who parades up and down streets.


* Capable of being seen for a long distance;

* Capable of leaving a quick impression;

* Often seen by thousands of commuters/travelers daily--almost impossible to miss;

* A perfect medium for businesses that rely on consumer impulse buying/visiting decisions (such as restaurants, hotels, amusement parks);

* Ideal for "image" ads for products and people, such as political candidates.



* Expensive to produce, place, maintain and/or renew;

* A finite number of billboards in most communities, so competition for space is often fierce;

* Consumer resistance--many view them as eyesores, and there are often community activists working to remove them from the landscape;

* Not suitable for a host of products or services in which a detailed explanation is necessary for consumer understanding--usually supplementary means of advertising are required for most billboard-promoted goods

* Controversial or particularly eye-catching billboards have been blamed for distracting drivers and causing accidents.


Q.        What is outdoor advertising? What are the types of outdoor advertising?

A.        Outdoor advertising is that which is intended to be seen by consumers when traveling from one place to another.

Billboards and signage are the two most prevalent forms of outdoor advertising, but there are also bus cards, bus benches, posters, flyers, skywriting and airplane banners, blimp advertising, marquees, sandwich boards (often worn by a person, and sometimes called walking billboards), advertising on the sides of trucks and other vehicles, bumper stickers, exhibition booths (which can be either indoor or outdoor), banners strung over thoroughfares, and scoreboard or bleacher advertising (such as that found on the outfield fences of minor-league baseball stadiums).

Q.        Please let me know some of attributes of a billboard to make it more effective and appealing for a services company.

A.        Regardless of what's being advertised on a billboard, the rules for effectiveness and appeal are the same.

The visual element, if there is one, should be able to be grasped and understood at a glance by someone who might be hurtling past the board in a vehicle going 65 miles per hour. Visual subjects that have been proven to be effective attention-getters include:


--Animals (particularly dogs and cats, but exotic animals are also eye-catching)

--People in familiar situations (e.g., having a picnic, wearing a milk mustache, hitting a baseball, kissing, or for more aggressive companies, someone taking a punch, about to be conked on the head by a falling brick, etc.)

Billboards that feature extensions (that is, something that extends beyond the framework of the usual rectangular boundary, such as the upraised arm of a person pictured, or the nose of a plane taking off) can be quite effective if well done and pertinent to the subject matter. However, these may be prohibitively expensive, and in some communities, there are ordinances that restrict their use.

Similarly, if appropriate, other gimmicks, such as lights, the use of bright neon colors, and moving parts are capable of grabbing the eyes of motorists. Again, these can be quite costly, and have the potential of distracting drivers enough that they cause accidents.

Like the visual element, the verbal components must also be simple, and arranged in a logical fashion so words can be taken in with a quick glimpse. There just isn't enough time for more than a short, sweet, catchy headline-- "Great food. Great prices." or "If you lived here, you'd be home by now."--Plus easy directions, if necessary ("Two blocks west, on Main."), and the logo of the company.

Unless the billboard is placed on a thoroughfare where there's a traffic light to stop drivers for a period of time, there's nothing to be gained by including a phone number that must be written down. However, if the company features an easy-to-remember web site ("Money.com"), this can be included, if it acts as a primary source for obtaining new business.

Q.        I'm curious about how does a person's face show on a billboard? For example, those you see in New York.

And many more, all for brand clothes and etc...

A.        Models for various products appearing on TV, in magazines and on billboards are usually selected by the advertising agency representing the product, in conjunction with the advertiser. Modeling agencies are invited to show portfolios of headshots so the ad agency and advertiser can select a "type" to show the product to its best advantage, after which those selected are viewed in person. Models chosen for billboards--unless the advertiser is going for "shock value" by using someone like Dennis Rodman--are most often those with regular, symmetrical features, because small flaws seem enormous when a photo is reproduced fifty feet high.

Q.        There were a few visible brand name labels that I saw in a movie. The Ford (cars) and Gucci (designer clothes) labels that showed up in the movie were very hard to miss. These labels showed up in, of all movies, HANNIBAL!!!

Were the labels made visible on purpose? Do Ford and Gucci pay money to have their names visible in such a bloody (figuratively) movie?

A,        I haven't seen HANNIBAL yet, but the products you mentioned were undoubtedly placed in the movie purposely by the advertisers, probably without regard for the subject matter, but rather because they thought it would do well at the box office, and as a result garner good publicity, and by extension, more sales for them.

Often advertisers provide the big-ticket items (such as cars) for free, though in many cases (such as cigarettes, soft drinks, or other items of low cost) they may also have to pay significant amounts to have the products shown.

Product placement--particularly of cars--is a big business. Automakers provide free cars in exchange for favorable exposure; if possible, the "bad guys" will be driving competing brands, while the "good guys" drive the brand being promoted. You can always tell by watching the end credits: usually there's a contract between the moviemaker and the automaker that stipulates how the brand must be mentioned or shown, for how long and in what way. Even before the end you can tell if there's a deal, if there are shots unnecessary to plot development (such as a full shot of the car pulling up to a stoplight or a motel), that give the car good identification--not shots through the windshield, but the side of the entire car, or the car driving into the camera with the nameplate prominently visible on the screen. Auto executives attend screenings of dailies, and if the product placement isn't right, they'll point it out to the producer or director. If it isn't made right by the next screening, the director may not have so many cars to work with.

Is product placement an effective way of selling? I could never imagine Gucci "advertising" in a horrific flick. (When you do watch the movie, don’t eat while doing so.) 

Advertisers must think product placement is an effective way to sell, or they wouldn't do it so often. There's a certain prestige to be able to say, "Did you see our product in (MOVIE)?" It's just one more method of getting the word out about what you're selling, and it can be memorable if your product actually fits into the scheme of the movie (like Reece's Pieces in the movie "E.T.," which were made into a key plot element).

I appreciate the advice about seeing HANNIBAL, though I know what to expect, since I read the book.

The agency business

Q.        I want to know how to start an in house Advertising Agency.

A.        "In-house advertising" generally means the advertising or marketing department contained within a company, though it could be an agency formed for the exclusive use of the company. Mostly, only larger companies maintain in-house advertising departments; smaller firms usually employ freelancers or outside agencies to perform specific projects.

An in-house department could probably be run by two or three people, depending upon the size of the company and the demand for advertising or promotional materials. You would need a writer and a graphic designer to produce advertising materials, perhaps a production supervisor to coordinate and assign projects, and to make sure budgets are followed and deadlines are met. Large companies might have dozens of people employed in an in-house advertising department, each with a particular function.

Q.        What is a media assistant and what exactly does the job entail? The requirements & pay scale?

A.        A media assistant is someone who carries out the buying decisions of the media director at an advertising agency or private corporation. This generally means filling out forms to place insertions at newspapers and magazines, or completing broadcast orders for TV and radio, making sure the proper advertisement runs at the proper time and place, organizing materials needed for advertisements (such as video tapes or finished layouts), and double-checking all facts and figures related to media purchases.

Media assistants generally come to the job through formal or informal work of a similar nature at a previous job, though some agencies have intern positions available, where a person can gain on-the-job experience. Pay scale depends upon the size of the agency or company, the size of the community in which the work is performed, the level of experience, and the responsibilities of the position. Media assistants would probably be next in line for the media directorship, at which the salary usually rises sharply. I would think that the median salary of a rookie media assistant today would be in the high teens or low twenties.

Q.        I am currently helping a large corporation interview prospective agencies. I have been involved with many new account presentations from the agency side but am new to the client side. As a client, what are the most important questions you would ask the agency candidates? Would it be helpful for the client to set up a "scorecard" to rate the agency in terms of creativity, past history of successes, media innovation or other criteria? Suggestions would be of great help from clients as well as agency people.

A.        Yes, I think it would be helpful to set up a scorecard system to rate each of the agencies in terms of:

* Service to the account

* Creativity (primarily: how do they intend to go about achieving the company's goals and objectives)

* Media buying skills

* Similarity of past accounts to your company's

* Proportion of production staff vs. other staff (i.e., is the agency top-heavy in non-production people)

* Financial stability

* Present client mix


The most important questions I would ask:

* Who would be the liaison between my company and the agency, and what are his/her qualifications?

* What safeguards will you put in place to show how my advertising dollars are being spent, and that the media performed as expected?

* Can you provide me with a list of past clients I could talk to about your agency?

* Can I meet with all the members of the team who will be handling my company's account?

Ultimately, finding a good match with an agency is more a matter of feel than of raw statistics. What are the people you'll be dealing with like? Do they have a good sense of humor? Are they flexible enough to respond to your needs at a moment's notice? Are they willing to go the extra mile for you? Do they have a good reputation in the marketplace, particularly among suppliers and past clients? Are there enough personnel available to handle your account? Creativity, though important, is actually the least important of the many issues involved (and I speak as a long-time creative); it's more a matter of achieving desired results than how wild and wacky they can make your advertising.

Q.        It's always been my understanding that in order to get ahead (or even survive) in advertising or public relations, one must be fairly thick-skinned and savvy in office politics. Is it true that if you don't watch your back, someone may take credit for your work? (I'm interested in copywriting.)

And do most ad agencies require formal dress when employees are NOT meeting with clients? Another impression is that, although the 'typical' ad agency is set in a creative environment, it's pretty conservative. Or are the "creatives" allowed more slack in this area?

A.        I've been writing ad copy for more than 30 years, at a radio station, as copywriter/creative director at four different agencies, and as a freelancer, and I know that some of what you say is true.

You must indeed have a thick skin, because you'll learn that the words you write are not sacred. Clients often have a way of draining the life and creativity out of your efforts. I've found it's often best, for hardheaded clients, who frequently wouldn't know a good idea if it jumped up and bit them, to write two versions of ads: one that says what you really want to say about a product or service, in interesting and creative fashion, and one that's more straightforward. Sometimes the clients will see the light, and run the superior ads, and sometimes they won't. At least you've made your point.

Office politics vary from agency to agency. At three of the agencies where I worked, it wasn't a good idea to make snide comments about the boss or fellow workers. However, I never had a problem at any of the agencies with people trying to take credit for work I did; this type of problem might be more of a concern at the really large agencies with hundreds of employees.

Dress also varies from place to place. Only one of four agencies required me to wear a tie on a daily basis, though all expected more formal wear when meeting with clients or making presentations.

Same thing goes with creative atmosphere. Only one of my agencies would be considered a "hot shop," where ideas were tossed around like confetti and the ambiance, though businesslike, was fun. In the other three, the bosses were stuffy, unimaginative, more bean counters and schmoozers than creative types. It is true that creatives are allowed a little more leniency--it's expected of us to be a little off-center. As long as you get the job done to the client's satisfaction, and don't disrupt the others in the office, aberrant behavior will be tolerated to some extent.


Follow-up:       From what you've seen--and it looks like you have a ton of experience--can a person make it as a copywriter if he/she has a difficult time pitching ideas to clients? The writing/thinking part of your profession sounds like fun, though as you say it can be frustrating. But the elbow-rubbing/schmoozing (the domain of the "suits") kind of terrifies me.

A.        Yes, you can make it as a copywriter without having to pitch clients on concepts--in the right situation. At many advertising agencies, it's the duty of the account executive(s) to sell your ideas, and good AEs can do it without much additional input from you. All the same, it's always a good idea to be prepared to defend/justify/give a rationale why you went in the direction you did. Just in case someone questions your train of thought (which will inevitably happen sometime, someplace, no matter how good you are).

That's one of those downside things about the profession, particularly when you're starting out: you're supposed to be the expert at your job, the resident wordsmith, yet clients or non-creative bosses always like to leave their fingerprints on others' works, if for no other reason than to justify their existence. Once you get a reputation for doing good work and achieving desired results from your copy writing, the agency suits and the clients generally leave you alone.


Second follow-up: No follow-up question this time--just a thank you and a few quick observations:

I'm relieved to hear that account executives often do the pitching. I wouldn't mind sitting in and explaining my rationale for my creative decisions--once I get into it, I'm not usually bashful--but letting the AE stand up and be the 'lead person' would be a HUGE help.

And I can only begin to imagine what it must feel like to know you really **nailed** an ad--only to have it messed up by a businessperson with the creative flair of a banana slug...

Thanks again for your time and advice.

A.        You're welcome. And I think you already have a pretty good handle on the ins and outs of the business.

By the way, my last boss at the agency where I had been creative director for three years, and had done tons of freelance work for a dozen years before that (I quit un 1995, and have freelanced fulltime ever since) was one of those banana slugs you mentioned. His philosophy was that creative was a necessary evil. One week, he would pitch the speed of our production. The next week, he'd pitch the low cost. The following week, he'd pitch the high quality of our work. I kept telling him: "good, fast, or cheap-- pick any two, but you can't have all three." He didn't get it. Beware people like that, if you get into the business.

Q.        How are advertising agencies paid, in terms of media commissions, not contract rates.

For example, I heard that if I set up as a sub corporation of my own business, a 'dba' MyAdvertisingAgency, I will receive back the standard agency commission I was previously paying radio and television companies, or would have paid an ad agency. How does this work? The media reps won't tell me...they'd lose their commissions, of course!

Any info would be appreciated!

A.        Though media buying is not my particular area of expertise, I worked in four different advertising agencies in New York and Idaho, and can give you a general idea of how media commissions work.

Usually, when an ad is placed through an agency, the medium (TV, radio, print, billboards, etc.) rebates or discounts a percentage of the placement cost to the agency; the standard agency commission at the time I was employed at the agencies worked out, through a complicated formula, to 17.65 percent of the total cost as billed. Which means, if the cost of the ad placement were $1,000, the commission would be $176.50; the agency would therefore receive an invoice from the medium for $823.50, but bill the client the full $1,000.

Clients are usually aware of this arrangement in advance, and accept the cost as a function of the agency handling all the details of placement, such as making sure that the correct ad runs, that the ad arrives at the medium in a timely fashion, and that the ad is in the proper form (correct size for print, correct length for broadcast, correct resolution, and so forth).

Some agencies, for the sake of good client relationships, also pass along a token portion of the commissions to clients, especially if the clients are long-term and spend a lot of money through the agency.

Q.        Discuss the role of the advertising agency...

A.        The role of an advertising agency is or can be several-fold.

First, an agency is often responsible for developing a marketing plan, which outlines goals for the advertiser, as well as strategies and tactics for achieving those goals.

An agency also executes the elements of a marketing plan: devising ads that target particular audiences who may be primary, secondary or tertiary markets for the product or service in question. (Agencies are also able to get better deals for their clients when buying media.)

Agencies are charged with making such messages positive and consistent. Agencies may also be engaged in public relations for the advertiser, in which they devise opportunities to present the product or service in a favorable light, or invent promotional venues to keep the advertiser's name prominent.

The agency-client relationship is one of trust. The advertiser trusts the agency to do the best job possible for the client, based on its experience and expertise, and the agency trusts the client to offer a worthwhile product or service with competitive advantages that can be promoted, and to pay its bills on time

Q.        May I know exactly how advertising agencies in Europe and the United Kingdom function, internally and externally with client?

A.        Each ad agency is unique. I can't speak for European agencies, but the four American agencies I've worked at all functioned in approximately the same manner.

Internally, they are divided by function into --Administration (agency president and other top officers of each department, who often are the company's founders and who may act merely as figureheads or who may take an active part in various day-to-day operations, depending upon their particular strengths)

--Financial (chief financial officer, bookkeepers and accountants, who keep track of accounts payable and receivable, write checks and pay salaries, and chart the financial health of the agency)

--Sales (manager and account executives, who approach existing and potential clients to persuade them to use the agency’s services, who collect pertinent information once a client has been secured, and who service the client's advertising/marketing/public relations/promotional needs)

--Media (manager and media buyers, who arrange for the client's ads to run in print publications, on television or radio stations, or in other advertising outlets)

--Creative--May consist of Creative Director, production manager, copywriters, art directors, graphic designers, artists and illustrators who, based upon information gathered by the account executives, collectively create a concept for the ads, write copy, add illustrations or photos, and lay out the ad in a form that can be taken by the account executive to the client for approval, and subsequently to the media department for placement.

Externally, most agencies approach clients through the agency's principal's contacts, or through leads generated by the sales department, or by recommendations from current or previous clients.

Often, the principals and account executives meet with the client to discuss advertising needs, sometimes in conjunction with other staff members. Once a contractual agreement has been reached, creative staff may meet with the client for a walk-through of the facilities or discussions to determine what is really needed in advertising. Liaison between the agency and the client is usually handled by the agency principals, the account executives, or the top creative personnel, though in a long agency-client relationship, many agency personnel may be directly involved with a client.

Ad quirks: Tell me why?

Q.        Would you know why the Morton Salt Girl (on packages of Morton Salt) dumps out salt when it rains?

A.        The Morton Salt company's slogan is "when it rains, it pours," referring to the fact that when the humidity is high, their salt doesn't clump. This is a problem in some areas, particularly the Deep South, where grains of rice are often added to a saltshaker to keep the salt running free. The little girl with the umbrella is the visual symbol of the concept of free-running salt, even in rainy conditions.

Q.        My question is regarding the American Flag...Is it legal to use the American Flag for any type of advertisement? I know it is against the law to write on, burn, tear, etc. the flag but what about the manufacturers that use the flag for people to purchase items such as clothing, cell phone covers, etc. that have the American Flag on them. Is this illegal? If so, could you please explain why this would be illegal?

A.        Back in the 1960's, Abbie Hoffman and other Yippies were arrested for wearing stars-and-stripes clothing, and numbers of people were incarcerated or beaten by offended bystanders for burning the American flag.

Not many years later, however, the mood of the nation changed, and many products since have, without penalty, worn stars and/or stripes obviously taken from or inspired by the flag.

It's still a touchy subject today; in fact, for some time, there has been a movement for an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting flag desecration. Supporters cite symbolism, and opponents cite free speech. The battle continues to rage, with no resolution in sight.

Flag etiquette is quite clear: "the flag should never be used for advertising purposes."

(See http://www.usflag.org.etiquette.html).

However, as a trip to any mall will verify, few merchants pay much attention to these rules. As you pointed out, you can find the flag represented on scores of commercial products (here's an article that mentions others: http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/chonin).

I have first-hand knowledge that even people who should know better don't follow flag etiquette: as a long-time advertising copywriter, I have handled dozens of political campaigns, and virtually every candidate's advertising materials bore some trace of the flag. Nobody ever objected.

The fact of the matter is, at this stage, flag etiquette is not enforced, provides no standard or uniform penalties for violation of the rules of flag etiquette, and is probably unenforceable without a Constitutional amendment. Such an amendment—even if passed—would undoubtedly be continuously challenged by those testing the limits of free speech.

It could be reasonably argued that the U.S. Government does not have a patent on the flag design, since it has come to represent the efforts of countless individuals in buying freedom with their blood, and that the descendants of all those who fought for or lost their lives in the pursuit of liberty have the right to express themselves however they want, even at the expense of the dignity of the flag, because the provisions of the Bill of Rights supersede subsequent legislation. Symbols, like flags and crosses, are, after all, fair game for satire, which permits wide latitude.

In the current jingoistic/patriotic climate, it is unlikely that much consideration would be given a desecration amendment (though it is certain to be debated at great length by adherents on both sides of the issue), since so many merchants are now profiting by wrapping their products in the flag. There would be great outcry at the potential loss of trade and the possible repercussions that would result. (If you want to see the wide variety of products now sporting the American flag, conduct a web search, using "American flag & advertising" as keywords--this produced more than 87,000 sites.)

"Proper" or not, "illegal" or not, it seems that today almost anything--from thongs to toilet paper--goes, vis-a-vis the American flag and advertising, and merchants can display the stars and stripes on their products with impunity. Tomorrow, the pendulum might swing in the opposite direction, and it could be an entirely different story.

Follow-up: Thank you so much for your answer. This is what I was looking for. I actually asked this question for my son who is taking Government in school this year and this question came up. I have been looking and asking everyone for an answer to my question and you helped so much. Again, Thank You Very Much!!

Q.        Since the post office has a monopoly, why do they advertise?

A.        The USPS advertises for several reasons.

First, with other alternatives such as FedEx and UPS around, they need to keep hammering away at the fact that they have a larger mail delivery organization than anyone, thus should be more reliable in delivery than anyone, despite "rain, sleet, snow, or gloom of night".

Second, as a government agency established more than 200 years ago, they need to keep building their image, particularly in times when the public is not especially enamored of governmental agencies.

Third, they sell a lot of stamps to collectors, so it behooves them to announce new issues, which will be purchased by philatelists, thus guaranteeing them a regular chunk of income.

Follow-up: I had not thought about the "philatelists" and "keeping up their image"

Q.        When I see all the wristwatch advertisement the watches hands are at 10:10 minutes or 10:09 minutes. What is the secret of this?

A.        Since most wristwatch makers put their logos directly below the "12" on the dial, showing the hands at the "2" and the "10" allows the full name to be seen, and provides a nice, symmetrical frame for the name.

Unanswered questions

Q.        I am the Public Affairs Specialist for a leading defense contractor. I feel it important to provide you with a short background of my project, before asking my three questions. I hope that you don't mind.

My Corporation is a "think tank." We are responsible for conducting two-day workshops for top-ranking military personnel, to "teach" them the latest advances in technology. In turn, the Corporation has a portal (web site) where the past attendees can keep up to date on the latest info, pose questions to experts, etc.

1. Given that info, we are seeking to retain our current sponsor base to keep them coming back to the portal and have them think of the portal in first-case scenario (keep them energized!!). We are also trying to attract new visitors to the site. How would that best be achieved, given that our mode of advertising will be via email and direct mail. Buzz words? Format??

2. We would like to create a "standard" marketing oriented pitch for the portal especially tailored for our senior-most military leaders. What do you suggest??

3. We would also like to create a "trusted wallet card/packet" for the attendees to keep after the workshop. What information should be detailed on this card?

Any guidance you can lend me would be greatly appreciated.

A.        Though I thank you for singling me out to present your query, I must tell you that your questions created a real dilemma for me. I've thought about, and agonized over, my reply to you, and the battle between my desire to share my advertising expertise and the prickling of my conscience still rages.

You deserve an explanation.

As someone who came of age during the Vietnam War, and who legally avoided service by frequently moving from place to place--because I did not believe in the rightness of the U.S. cause, and because I would have made a terrible soldier--I have never been a fan of the military.

I realize the current necessity of maintaining peacekeeping forces, and the need for industry to supply the weapons of war, but it has always been difficult for me to accept the concept of a business where better means of death and destruction are the prime objectives.

To me, "think-tanks" like yours should be geared towards finding ways to prevent war, rather than discovering new ways to kill people more efficiently. I know it's a tough job; as a student of history, I'm aware that in the last 5,000 years, there have seldom been periods where a war wasn't being fought somewhere in the world. I'm also aware that whatever the reasons behind the conflicts, they rarely accomplished much of lasting value, except in reducing the population, particularly among young men, while providing more business for undertakers and coffin-makers.

Because mankind has demonstrated bellicose tendencies over the millennia, must we resign ourselves that this is the true nature of humanity? Cannot our technological advancements be retooled for peaceful purposes? Should we not, even while we are dreaming up innovative methods of stopping life, spare some thought for novel techniques to avoid combat, thereby preserving life? Is there no possibility that, as thinking creatures at the top of the food chain, we can someday "beat our swords into plowshares?"

I'm sure you, as an intelligent person, long ago saw where I was going with this.

While the thinking part of me wants to accept the challenge you've posed, the feeling part wouldn't let me sleep nights if I did. This lengthy explanation is probably of little consolation to you--a cog in the machine-- someone who's far removed from the products your company ultimately manufactures, someone who's just trying to get a job done, and who came here in good faith searching for answers to specific, and well-worded questions.

I apologize for my long-winded, roundabout way of saying that I must respectfully decline to lend you the guidance you seek. I would suggest, in closing, that you try someone else on the list, or post to the public question board, and I wish you luck in your quest.

Q.        Hi...I'm a student and now taking an advertising course. I wonder if you can help me in doing my homework. What factors I have to consider in designing a one-full page newspaper advertisement announcing a bookshop anniversary. The bookshop is also interested to canvas new membership for its book club membership for a fee of $12 per year with a generous discount of 10% purchase of books and accessories valid throughout the membership. Maybe you can also help me in writing the copy for that advertisement including a coupon that will canvas for new membership for the anniversary period.

I would appreciate your answer.... Thanks!!!!

A.         I'm sorry, I can't help you do your homework; if I were to do so, you would be cheating yourself out of your education.

If you do the work first and wish to post it here for comments or suggestions for improvement, I'll be happy to help you.

Q.        Although I'm just a high school student, I find marketing and advertising very interesting and would love to become an accomplished Creative Director like you someday.

I have never created an ad before, and I saw this competition in a magazine to write an ad for a toothpaste company.

Here's the competition:

Q. Write the new close up TV commercial and win a dream trip to Hollywood. Send us your idea for the next Close-Up TV commercial - if we pick your script, you'll be on your way to the land of blah blah blah...

Can you think of an idea that will stand out and is practical?

Ad should be short, simple and funny/memorable.

I would love to hear about any suggestions or great ideas you have for this ad.

A.        Thank you for your compliments.

Since this is a competition, it wouldn't be right for me to give you an unfair advantage by lending you my expertise. So, sorry, I just can't help you on this. I will wish you good luck in your endeavor, and pass along my sincere hope that you will succeed in your career aspirations.

The Media

Q.        For school I need to know the costs of commercials in the media, TV, radio, newspapers, etc.

A.        The costs of advertising vary tremendously from place to place, time to time, and medium to medium.

An ad that might cost a few dollars in a local weekly newspaper would cost thousands in THE NEW YORK TIMES. Likewise, a 30-second commercial run at 2 o'clock in the morning on a local TV station would cost millions when run during the Super Bowl. 

The best way to find out the costs for particular TV and radio stations, and for magazines and newspapers, is to either call them individually or search for their web sites, and ask for their current rate cards. That way you'll have accurate, up-to-date information directly from each source, and can make comparisons for the same length of broadcast (30 or 60 second radio or TV ad) or size (quarter-page, half-page, full page, etc.) in print publications.

Q.        Does media create panic or awareness?

A.        The answer to your question depends upon whom you're asking and under what circumstances.

A high U.S. government official, under present conditions, in which there have been acts of terrorism, and some controversy about what information should or should not be published, might well answer, "Panic." In the same situation, a member of the media would undoubtedly answer, "Awareness." The truth probably lies somewhere between the two extremes.

A similar question, that's been heard a lot in recent years, is: "Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?" They're still debating that one.

Q.        Can you explain what media is?

My teacher wanted me to do a journal on media, and I didn't quite understand what it actually meant. How does it relate to us?

A.        Media (singular medium) are all the ways in which information is disseminated to the public. Media include newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, the Internet, billboards, posters, packaging, or any other method in which information is passed along through any of the human senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, or smell). The media are a constant presence in our lives, as we are bombarded with information from dozens of sources daily; the average person, for example, is exposed to more than 2000 advertising messages (from all of the media listed above) every single day. It's hard to ignore, or remain unaffected by all that, unless you live alone on a desert island like Robinson Crusoe.

Print ads

Q.        I would like to know what makes a print ad effective?

A.        The best print ads are those that stop the reader with a believable promise: "Lose ten pounds in two weeks," or "Save 20% on grocery bills."

Effective ads blend copy and visuals into a coherent whole. The headline attracts attention; the body copy creates interest in the product or service being promoted and generates a desire in the reader to own it; there is a clear call to action ("Call now!" or "Visit the store today," or "Go to our web site for complete details.") The visuals supplement the information given--best are those that show the product in use, so the reader can imagine himself/herself engaging in the activity pictured.

Most of all, effective print ads stand out from the clutter, and achieve the desired result: a sale.

Q.        Do you know any good website that showcase the best brochure, flyer design?

A.        The following web sites often showcase outstanding print ads:





Q.        I am currently taking an advertising course and I am required to research magazine ads. In other words, I am searching for any information regarding magazine ads such as who chooses to advertise in magazines, cost of advertising, what makes a successful ad, contact names of people or organizations I can speak to, etc.

A.        Most magazines today are aimed at fairly narrow audiences with a common interest in the subject matter of the magazine--such as cats, archaeology, writing, movies, music, sports, etc. Thus, most of the advertisers in those magazines aim their messages at the particular audience in question, according to the demographics (age, income, educational level, location, and other facts about the readers) of the magazine.

Successful ads are those which attract the attention of readers, usually by a combination of words and pictures that make a believable offer, generate interest in the product or service being advertised, create a desire in the consumer to own the product or service, and make it easy find out more or to immediately buy the item.

Two of the best references about the advertising industry, which will include plenty of information about magazines, are ADVERTISING AGE and AD WEEK. Your local library may offer either or both, or you can check out their web sites at




For specific demographic and rate information, the best source is the magazines you are interested in focusing upon. Most have Advertising or Marketing Managers listed inside, near the front, with a number you can call. (Many popular magazines also now have online editions; you can often get all the data you need about a particular publication that way or via email.) When you do, ask each for their current rate card, which will give you facts about circulation, the audience they reach, and the cost for various sizes of ads.

Q.        I was wondering: how can I measure the result of an advertising campaign in different magazines?

I just want to have a sense of the effectiveness of the advertising and be able to compare it month by month.

What can I do to measure it?

A.        There are several ways to measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign.

One popular way, if you have the time and money to prepare them, is to run the same information in ads that are laid out differently, often with different headlines and different visuals, and to see which one pulls better.

An even easier approach is to code responses to particular publications. Let's say you're running the same ad in three different publications (call them A, B and C). At the end of each ad, your call to action includes a phone number or P.O. box or some other device that keys to the particular publication. If you have a P.O. Box as an address, for example, you would say, "Write to P.O. Box 999-A (for publication A)." You then do the same for publications B & C, substituting B or C at the end of the P.O. number. If you're requesting phone calls, you simply mention a different extension for each publication (at the receiving end, all phone calls for any of the special extensions go to the same receptionist or salesperson, who should keep a tally of which ads were responded to, by code number.) If you're using a clip-out coupon in your ads, the coding method makes it child's play to track responses.

If these methods don't appeal to you, you can also hire tracking companies to do the work for you, though they will likely employ one of the above methods, and charge you for something that can be done internally.

Follow-up: Thanks for your answer.

The problem I am having is that it is long-term campaigns. I am not advertising a specific product but the brand of my company and so I won't receive phone calls or mails in response to the ad.

How can I measure the effectiveness of the ad in these terms?

A.        It's more difficult to measure the effectiveness of image advertising, but not impossible. The best way I've found is to conduct follow-up surveys among the magazine subscribers.  (You will have to purchase mailing lists of subscribers.) These can be conducted either by phone or via the mail, in which you ask if the subscriber saw the ad, the impression the ad left on him or her, whether they have ever bought or would consider buying the company's products, etc.

Q.        Where can I get some creative ads for my furniture store?

A.        If you cannot write your own ads, the next best option is to hire a freelance copywriter to do the job for you. If you cannot find a freelancer able to handle the work where you live, you might want to consider hiring an ad agency--though be aware that some agencies require advertisers to spend a certain annual amount, which, depending upon your area, might amount to $50,000 and up.

Q.        What are the statistics on the benefits of Print Advertising over Direct Mail?

A.        I don't know if there are any current statistics available on the comparative costs or benefits of print advertising vs. direct mail--the print and direct mail industries probably have their own facts, which can be tweaked any way they want to produce the desired results.

As someone who's been directly involved in advertising on a daily basis since 1970, I can give you my opinion, based on my own experiences.

As a copywriter and Creative Director at four ad agencies, and as a freelancer, I have often used both forms of advertising, and find each equally valuable. Neither has to be particularly expensive, and both can be highly effective. Personally, I like direct mail a little better, because it gives the creative department a chance to let imagination run free.

For example, about twenty years ago, I devised a direct mail campaign for a laxative company, which featured mailing out containers of live ladybugs to illustrate the fact that the manufacturer had "got the bugs out" of the product. For about $1 per unit, it generated an incredible 22% response (the norm is about 2-5%).

Another DM campaign, for the world's largest snowplow manufacturer, was intended to get their 1200 nationwide dealers to order snowplows before the snow fell, when there would be a backlog of orders. My solution was to send the dealers a logo-imprinted baseball in a box, which implored the dealers to "start pitching now." This was followed up with a handful of cards, like baseball cards, featuring dealers who had successfully "increased their batting average" in pre-selling customers by ordering early. The company's $15,000 investment in the DM campaign generated about $6.1 million in business.

The best advantage of DM is that you can precisely target a narrow audience (thanks to mailing or previous customer lists), and hit them where they live. Campaigns can be very simple, such as a computer-personalized letter, or a postcard, or quite elaborate; you can do things with direct mail you can't do with print. It all depends on the client's budget and the size of the audience you are trying to reach; obviously if you have a huge audience, you don't want to spend a lot per person. The main disadvantage is, if DM is not done properly, it can appear to be nothing more than just another piece of junk mail, and may be tossed before the potential customer has a chance to read the offer.

Print used to be a much more expensive proposition than it is now, both in terms of production and placement. There were fewer magazines twenty years ago, with broader audiences, and print advertising was more a scattergun approach. Now, however, there are dozens of magazines or newspapers that fill a particular niche, and many of these offer competitive rates. The advantage of print is that it allows your ad to be viewed alongside others, in a vehicle whose ostensible purpose is not solely advertising. One disadvantage is that, if your ad is appearing in several publications, it has to be resized or perhaps completely reconfigured to meet the specific requirements of each. Another disadvantage is that quality control is not uniform among publications: ads may be out of register, photos may be poorly reproduced, etc.--things that can be controlled with direct mail.

Hope this helps.

Q.        I enjoy reading ads a lot. Can anyone suggest me a source where I can get the best ads. (Please don’t say- magazines and newspapers). Is there any book that has the collection of good ads.

A.        To see ADVERTISING AGE's 50 best commercials, go to:


There are also numerous books, which you may be able to find in your local library, that show examples of effective ads, including:

WRITE GREAT ADS, Erica Levy Klein



Many other general advertising books will also show famous ads.


Q.        On your answer last week on the Santa Claus/Coca-Cola question, you misquoted Clement Moore. The correct quote is: “He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot.”


A.                    You are correct; the line you quote is in the original. However, I have seen versions where "red" is substituted for "fur"--that's the way it was done in a book I had of the poem as a child (I had to memorize the poem once for school), with illustrations of Santa dressed not in animal skins, but in red cloth. Perhaps animal rights groups--or maybe the Coca-Cola Company—instituted the changes.

Trade secrets

Q.        I've often wondered why so many items advertised on TV and in magazines are priced the same at ~$19.95? It doesn't seem to matter what the actual dollar value of the item or what the mfg. cost. Do you know a standard reason for this?

A.        Research over many years has shown that there's a psychological advantage in pricing items so they appear, in the consumer's mind, to be a better buy. That's why items are often priced at $1.99, $19.95, $8995, $149,000, and so on: $1.99 "sounds" considerably lower than $2.00, $19.95 "sounds" lower than $20, $8995 "sounds" lower than $9.000, and $149,000 "sounds" lower than $150,000. Americans like a bargain, even if, as in the examples given, they are "saving" only a penny, a nickel, five dollars, or one thousand dollars--in each case, only a small fraction of the actual cost. However, as has been demonstrated time after time in real life, items priced in such fashion will outsell by a wide margin identical items priced at the rounded-off higher numbers. Anyone bringing a new product to the market today with an anticipated price point of $10 would be wise to mark it between $9.95-$9.99, and the same principle applies as you slide up or down the scale in the projected retail cost of the product.

Q.        What makes Advertising creators think that watching a BEER commercial between breaks of a TV show will actually make people go out and buy that specific BEER 

A.        Research shows what consumers typically will do when provided with the proper stimulus.

If people already consume that brand of beer being advertised, seeing a commercial for it may cause them to go to the fridge for a cold one. For those who have no established favorite brand, an ad may persuade them to try the advertised beer. And those just coming into beer-drinking age may be swayed into picking the advertised brand if the message is appealing enough. The same responses would hold true for many different products--such is the power of advertising.

Miscellaneous answers to various advertising questions

Q.        What is the best way such as color, font, size, etc to make a professional manual?

A.        It depends on the subject matter, of course, but generally, manuals should be written in clear, understandable prose reproduced in a large enough font to be read in whatever circumstances the manual will be used. For example, if you're preparing an automotive repair manual, you would want the type to stand out while a person was bent over an engine.

The most reader-friendly manuals are printed with black type against a white page.

The weight of the paper or whether it is coated to protect the pages from stains depends upon the use to which it will be put--cookbooks, for example, are sometimes printed with coated pages that resist spills. Likewise, the cover and binding--from spiral or ring binder to perfect bound--should be determined by the manual's intended use.

Serif fonts are easier to read than sans serif fonts; indented paragraphs are easier to read than flush-left paragraphs separated by extra space, like these, because most people learned to read from books, which traditionally have indented paragraphs. 

A good type size is 12-point, though in many cases 10-point will do, with standard leading between lines, and plenty of space in the margins on either side where the manual user can jot down notes.

Boldface or underlined type can emphasize the most important points on a page or alert readers to warnings or cautionary measures (particularly useful in manuals dealing with caustic agents, inflammable materials, or other instructions in which a degree of danger is involved).

Illustrations or examples, charts or pictures, blowups or exploded views or cutaways are always welcome to somebody trying to learn how to do something.

The information should be presented in a logical order, and divided into chapters or sections, with an index and/or table of contents, so users can quickly reference the particular information they are interested in. Individual chapters should be subdivided by subheads that lead the reader through a particular section or sequence step-by-step.

Q.        Is there a legal requirement to mark technical publications with "Printed in the USA"?

A.        I am unaware of any legal requirement to mark technical or other publications as "Printed in the USA." However, it may be advantageous to do so if true, since it could instill confidence in the reader that if he has any questions about the published material, there is a domestic source available for answers.

"Printed in the USA" also subtly indicates pride in the product, ensures in the reader's mind that the language will be understandable (as opposed to the sometimes fractured English found in technical publications produced overseas), and eliminates any thoughts, particularly among members of unions, that the finished product might have involved cheap foreign labor.

Q.        When writing the business letter is it still proper to use "To Whom It May Concern" for the salutation?

A.        It's still appropriate if you don't know the person who will receive the letter, or if you're doing a mass mailing, but there may be a better, more friendly salutation, depending upon the purpose of the letter.

Q.        Hi Jack

I am trying to research the I 'heart' NY Campaign. I need to know when it started, why it was needed, who were the main players in the campaign and any statistics possible. Also any anecdotal information would be excellent, such as the campaign ideas that were rejected, for example. I thought that with your experience in NY, you may be able to help

Do you have any idea where I could go to find this information? I only have until next Monday to find out as much as I can. If you could point me in the right direction, I would be really grateful

A.        Hi, Tara,

I tried. I really tried to get all the answers to your questions for you. I went to Advertising Age, Ad Week, and scrolled through literally thousands of web sites, using "I Love New York" and "Famous ad campaigns," and "New York advertising" as key words. I looked through about fifty books on advertising that I have in my library. I strained my brain trying to recall details (yep, I was in New York state when the campaign broke; nope, I don't remember much because it's just too long ago).

All I could come up with in the way of information are the few following pitiful facts:

The "I Love New York" campaign was developed by the New York State Department of Economic Development in 1977 to promote tourism. The "I Love New York" logo is licensed for use by CMG Worldwide, Inc. The song, "I Love New York" was written and composed by Steve Karmen.

I found all that out in the first ten minutes of my search, and the last three hours were a complete waste of time.

I'm fresh out of ideas about where to find the information you're seeking (maybe if you contact CMG Worldwide


they could give you more information or point you to a good source). I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help to you.

But, damn, I tried.

FOLLOW-UP: Jack- Thank you so much. I am so sorry that I put you through so much discomfort! I will contact CMG Worldwide, and perhaps I should send you any information that I discover? I don't want to keep you up at night.

Q.        What are the strategies used by toothpaste companies in selling their product?

A.        There are various strategies used by toothpaste companies to promote their products, depending upon the benefits of the individual product.

One maker, for example, might talk about how the product whitens teeth. Another might stress how fresh it makes your breath. Still another could talk about its decay-preventing or plaque-fighting qualities.

The strategies involved in promoting these benefits--especially for the whitening and breath-enhancing types of toothpaste--typically show a contrast between the old (before using the product) and the new (after using the product). Joe doesn't get the girl of his dreams because his teeth are stained, and his breath is bad. After using the product, he gets the girl.

For the decay and plaque preventing types of product, usually an appeal is made to the consumer's wallet. If you don't prevent decay and plaque now, it's liable to cost you plenty of money down the road, in the form of fillings, root canals, crowns, and dentures, not to mention the pain and discomfort associated with such procedures.

Q.        Why do Asian ads not win international awards?

A.        Actually, Asian ads do frequently win international advertising awards. Television ads for Sony, Honda, and Fuji film, produced in Japan, for example, have often won awards. Next time there's a show on TV about the best ads from around the world (there was one on TV just a couple days ago, featuring holiday-themed ads), check it out. Chances are, you'll see Asian ads among them.

Q.        What is Cooperative advertising and how does it work? Is it free of charge? If I use for my referral program, is it worth using?

A         Cooperative or co-op advertising is an agreement between a large manufacturing company (such as Pittsburgh Paints) and a smaller retailer (such as Joe Blow's Hardware & Paint Store, Anytown, USA), whereby the large company will pay for part of the cost of the retailer's advertisement if the retailer includes the manufacturer's products in the ads.

Usually the large co-op company has particular rules and regulations the retailer must follow in order to be reimbursed for the cost of the advertising--the manufacturer's logo must be of a certain size, there can be no competitive products in the ad, certain copy facts must be included, etc.

Co-op advertising is beneficial to both parties. It helps disseminate the large manufacturer's image and products to communities across the country, without much direct involvement in the local advertising campaign by the manufacturer.  Usually the retailer just clips the ad as proof it ran, or provides other documentation to show the tenets of the agreement were followed, and collects the money allotted for it. At the same time, it gives the local retailer a recognized national name brand to advertise, at a greatly reduced media cost.  Often small retailers advertise two or more non-competing co-op products in the same ad, thereby paying little or nothing for the ad, thanks to reimbursements from each of the co-op companies represented

Q.        1) What are the advantages of using celebrity endorsers in advertising?

2) How to improve the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement?

3) Why celebrity endorsement is specially widely used in cosmetics and skin care products?

A.        1. There are several potential advantages in using celebrity endorsers.

* People who are easily recognized draw attention to themselves and the products they are endorsing; consumers love to spot celebrities

* Consumers who admire the celebrity are likely to believe what the celebrity is saying, and buy the product

* Celebrity endorsers, particularly those who are actors, can give convincing performances; they deliver lines well and believably, and having the ability to memorize their speeches, can speak to the camera--and the viewer-- without appearing to read the words put in their mouths.

* On radio, celebrity endorsers may have distinctive, recognizable voices.

* Celebrities can give a product a particular cachet; if a popular personality is perceived to use the product, consumers are likely to believe the product is worthwhile.

2. To improve the effectiveness of celebrity endorsers:

* There should be a logical tie-in between the celebrity and the product being endorsed. For example, it would not be out of place for Charleton Heston, a known supporter of the National Rifle Association, to endorse products associated with firearms. Likewise, as a member of the organization, John Travolta could reasonably endorse Scientology and the books of L. Ron Hubbard. The strongest endorsements are those given by celebrities who are known users of a particular product.

* The copy for the product being endorsed should in most cases be written to fit the known style and abilities of the celebrity. For example, it would seem unrealistic if Shaquille O'Neill were made to speak in Shakespearean couplets (though such a contrast in styles, if done effectively and for the right product, might still work). Similarly, it might not be too believable if Eminem-- given his publicly voiced views--to endorse a gay-rights group.

3. This plays to some of the most basic desires of consumers: to be considered attractive to potential or actual mates, and to be well liked in general. If a beautiful, well-known woman says: "This product is the secret of my beauty," what ordinary woman would not want the product in order to become more attractive, to be desired, and ultimately, by extrapolation, to be happier in life?

Q.        Do you have any info on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of advertising?

A.        My answers are based on 30+ years in the advertising business.



* Can be targeted to specific audiences

* Easy and inexpensive to produce

* Inexpensive to buy



* Requires listener's imagination, and many listeners do not have much imagination in a visually oriented society

* It is more difficult to remember facts when you can't see as well as hear them




* Excellent for getting attention

* Hard to beat for showing products in use

* The form of advertising most people are most comfortable with



* Can be expensive to produce and buy

* More difficult to target a specific segment of a market




* Can be targeted well to special interest groups (magazines)

* Gives potential customers the chance to study and reread the sales pitch to be convinced to buy

* A tangible form of advertising, unlike broadcast

* Gives advertisers the opportunity to use such sales-enhancing devices as scratch-and-sniff and coupons



* Usually costly to produce

* Often costly to place ads

* People don't read as much as they once used to




* Very good for getting attention of drivers and pedestrians

* Racks up lots of impressions in high-traffic areas



* Very expensive to produce

* Often limited spots available, on a first-come, first-served basis

* Some consumer backlash over visual pollution




* Excellent for hitting a narrowly defined target market (e.g., dentists)

* Can make a good impression on recipients, especially when personalized

* Good opportunity to keep advertiser's name in from of customers, particularly when free specialty or dimensional marketing items (e.g., logo-imprinted pens, calendars, etc.) are included



* Can be expensive to produce and mail

                  * Have to reply on post office for timely delivery, and they're not always reliable


Q.        Kindly tell me what is the difference between Yellow Pages & White Pages.

A.        Relative to business and advertising, the White Pages merely list the names, addresses and phone numbers of companies in alphabetical order. The Yellow Pages divide businesses by type and permit individual companies to purchase space to tell more about their individual businesses.

Q.        I need some ideas for a advertising for a cafe called " Gossip " ..... I need something creative, funky, new...

A.        What you need is to hire a freelance copywriter-graphic designer team or an advertising agency, in order to get someone who's really committed to planning your marketing and executing your advertising on a consistent, effective basis.

Q.        About ratings.

A.        This is simplified, but basically, families are selected at random from all areas of the country to represent the population at large, in a similar way as political polls are taken, but in a more elaborate, formal fashion. They are given "diaries" in which they regularly detail their viewing habits. Their answers are then projected across the entire viewing public (for example, if ten percent of those surveyed watch a given program, it is assumed that 10% of the whole country watches that program.) That's how audiences and ratings are determined, which in turn determines how much the shows can charge for advertising, which pays the cost of production and actors' salaries.


Q.        Briefly explain the standard elements of a business letter.

A.        The standard elements of a business letter are the salutation ("Dear so-and-so), the introduction (which states the purpose of the letter), the body of the letter (which expands upon the introduction, gives supporting information or makes an appeal), the close (which promises further action on the part of the writer, for example, in the case of a sales pitch, or requests action on the part of the recipient, for example, in the case of a complaint), and the sign-off ("Thank you for your consideration/Very truly yours, NAME).

Q.        What kind of newspapers and magazines do businessmen read?

A.        Virtually all businesses, from law enforcement to widget manufacturing, have trade publications, which are specific to the industry. (For example, two major magazines related to the advertising/ marketing business are ADVERTISING AGE and ADWEEK; there are many others that deal with particular aspects of the business, such as UPPER & LOWER CASE). Companies that offer stock would most certainly be interested in such newspapers as THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

Consumer psychology

Q.        Is it true that people overspend because they are influenced by the advertisements on mass media?

A.        Some people do indeed overspend or live beyond their means, but it is wrong to blame advertising for their weakness. Advertising is geared to providing information about products or services, with the purpose of attempting to persuade people to buy, but it's always up to the individual whether or not to make a purchase. If people buy things they don't need, or can't afford, the fault lies within them, not with advertising. No ad ever reached into anybody's pocket and took his money.

Q.        What’s the most effective way to seek out new customers? Not to include cold calling or fax blasts. There has to be another way to reach new cliental without the rude, unfriendly cold calls or wasting other peoples fax supplies!

A         To me, the most effective way to reach new customers is through the old-fashioned personalized letter on your letterhead. A brief (one-page), well thought-out message, directed to one individual, has worked for 150 years, and is still working today, despite such modern devices as telephones and faxes and e-mails.

The trick is to know to whom to address the letter--CEO, marketing manager, sales manager? The key decision-making person will be different in every situation, depending upon what you're selling.

In any case, get a name, and a title of someone to write. Always make sure you know whether the "Chris Smith" some secretary tells you about is male or female, and whether he or she is married, so you can address the salutation correctly.

Then introduce yourself and make your pitch in a straightforward, persuasive, but most of all friendly manner, as though you're talking to the person one-on-one:

"Dear Mrs. Smith:

My name is Joe Blow and I represent the Acme Corporation. I'd like to offer you the opportunity to take your business to the next level of success. How? Simple." (START YOUR PITCH HERE, WITH YOUR STRONGEST POINT, FOLLOWED BY SUPPORTING POINTS. Again, be brief, don't hammer them over the head, and don't overstate your case.]

Finish strong, by summarizing your top two or three sales points, and say you'll be calling in a week or ten days to discuss your proposition in greater detail. Add that if they're eager to get started before then, they're welcome to call you first. Close by saying you look forward to meeting the person and telling all about what your company can do for their company.

Once you get your written pitch down pat, you can further customize your letter template by inserting any important information you've picked up about the target company to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of their particular needs--needs your company can help fulfill like nobody else.

Naturally, you should follow up your letter as promised. If you've written a good letter, your name will be familiar, and the person should be willing to talk to you further and give you the chance to exhibit your salesmanship.

Once you get good at it, you can send out ten letters per week (or as many as your workload can stand), and you should be able to generate regular new business. All for just 34¢ per pop--and all without offending any of your prospects.

Q.        What makes a good advertisement?

A.        A good advertisement is measured by the results it achieves in selling a product or service.

The best ads (depending upon the medium) first gain attention by stopping he reader, listener or viewer with a believable promise. They generate interest in what is being sold by memorably and persuasively turning the product's features into consumer benefits. They create desire in the consumer to own the product being advertised, and they call for action--"buy now"--as well as informing the consumer how and where to make the purchase.


Q.        David Ogilvy created Commander Whitehead to endorse which brand in 1953?

A.        I believe the answer is Schwepp's.

Q.        Steven Spielberg refused all but one offers to use his E.T to promote products. Which was the only company allowed to use the extraterrestrial in its ads?

A.        The answer is Reese's Pieces.


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