I saw a display ad the other day that was so different than any other display ad I had previously seen and noticed, that I wanted to share it and review it. I was on my phone and, voilà, this ad appeared:

Display ad review: Jerry Snyder's Promotion

Ooooh, Jerry Snyder was promoted! He’s now a senior wealth advisor at Schiavi + Dattani. Wow!

Okay, confession: I have absolutely no idea who he is, although he looks like a good guy from the photo. I also have no idea who Schiavi + Dattani are. And I’m not currently in the market to hire a wealth advisor.

So, there are a few aspects of this ad that make it unique and interesting:

  • It makes it sound like this guy is really important. No one makes announcements like that (and takes out ads, no less!) for nobodies! Just imagine, “Smith Enterprises Hires A New Intern!”–ha! I’d love a company to do that but alas, I haven’t yet seen it, and I haven’t done that for my past interns, either. So there is a subtle implication that the new guy there is important–and this is clever because it doesn’t say it directly but in a more subtle way. And if he’s important, the firm must be important. (Bad news: in ads, subtlety often doesn’t work.)
  • The photo and the ad style overall make it look like this isn’t a slick operation but a “mom & pop” advisory shop. Guess what? Lots of people love the personal attention of mom & pop shops, so this is an interesting take. And a less obvious one because the default is that most try to look slick and cool.
  • You can actually meet Jerry. Not a random consultation and you don’t know who is on the other side–but Jerry himself! The important guy, just hired!
  • Not only can you meet Jerry–but that’s the CTA! Clever CTA, much more unique than “Learn more” or “Get a free consultation”–which is the same concept, but just not personal, not human, but generic.

Will this ad work? Who knows–I’d love to know. (Jerry, if you Googled yourself and found this, please introduce us to your PPC firm, I’d be happy to interview them and write more about you guys! Free publicity, ha!)

There are some negatives: it’s a bit too subtle for most ads, in my experience. I’ve tried subtle, clever ads many times and the results tend to be disappointing as compared to the boring “hitting people over the head” with the message.

But my instinct is that this ad actually would work well. It sparked my curiosity and got me to read it. I almost want to book a call. I think it could work. Kudos to their PPC firm!

And in fact, it makes me wonder if I could use this sort of strategy on other projects and clients, of mine. Let’s brainstorm:

  • Maybe you could announce interns joining–that shows your good humor and style.
  • Maybe you could offer meetings with someone important!
  • Maybe you could offer the classic “free consultation” but with a specific person?
  • Maybe other non-product announcements: move offices? Small details that make you feel like a local company. (Note that ads announcing new products are so common and classic that they are not obviously more effective unless the audience is very targeted.)

Will any of these work? Maybe, maybe not. Take this advice with the grain of salt worth what you’ve paid for it: zero dollars! But tests are tests, and you never know what will work–so hopefully this at least inspires some creativity in your ads. It did for me, at least.