So the other day I was doing my pretty much daily visit to WordReference when I bumped into this Ad that I just knew I had to screenshot: 

Display Ad Review: Proclaim Interactive’s award winning Ad

Although this Ad may seem very simple, I believe there’s actually a huge point to make out of it, along with many other small ones. And as much as I wanted to fight my need to go all deep diving into it as it happened with Adalysis’ one, I simply couldn’t and knew I had to, at least, write something about it. So let’s review Proclaim Interactive’s Display Ad, shall we? 

First of all, I want to make a very obvious yet important point. Do you know the saying “The shoemaker’s children always go barefoot”? Well, I despise it. I’m a firm believer that people have to teach (or, in this case, sell) through the example. And if you are an advertising agency, your Ads are your best pitch meeting. You can be in a conference for hours talking to your clients about how great their website will be, and how crazy their social media engagement will be, but if then they go and see that your own Ads aren’t nearly as good as they expect theirs to be, how much do you think they’ll trust you? Well, as for me, very little. Ads can be the most powerful weapon to show possible customers what your agency is capable of, so you definitely will need to pay special attention to them and turn them into one of your top priorities. 

Having said that, we can now dive into this Ad’s specifics, so let’s get to the first big point I want to make. Have you ever bumped into those local pizza stores with like three tables, a guy who says to be called Carlo running it, and a big banner saying “best pizza in town!” or “best pizza in the world!”? Well, this kind of Ads are just like that. And don’t get me wrong, Carlo’s local pizza may be amazing and I’d love to try it, but who even came in and said “okay, yes, you have the best pizza-in-town badge”? Is there some sort of competition that all pizza places have gotten into? I don’t think so. And that’s ok because there’s some sort of common agreement between literally everyone, where we just know there’s no such badge, but we are still happy to get Carlo’s local pizza. 

Well, now take Carlo’s pizza metaphor to this Ad. Award-Winning website design? Which awards did you win and who gave that badge to you? And the shadows of more trophies implying that they have a ton of these awards? I think it’s too much for me. I’m not saying that they absolutely never won an award, but I am saying that this is way too close to a “best pizza in town!” banner because the first thing that makes me think about it is literally “as said by whom?”, and not about how awesome their websites must be. So, my first advice would be to stay away from Ads that sound like this because I know you can do better. However, if you do choose to go ahead and launch this kind of Ad, then why not include a reference of some sort? Okay, you won awards, name them. Tell me which award and when, and then I’ll believe you, and may even want to hire you.

That stated, let’s move on to the next point I want to make about this Ad. I remember that in some philosophy class someone taught me about a kind of fallacy named appeal to authority, which basically stands for defending that what someone says or does is completely valid because they are an authority of some sort. For example, saying that everything a very well-known doctor says is true because he is such a good doctor. Basically, no correlation because, no matter how much of an authority you are, you can be wrong sometimes or you can be an authority for the wrong reasons. In this case, basically saying “Hey, my agency won tons of awards for our web design, so you should hire us because we are awesome” sounds a lot like that. Leaving aside these said awards, wouldn’t it be better to promote your agency based on the real things you do? For example, saying that you did this and that, or that you accomplished this goal for someone, among others. I know that I at least feel much more drawn to brands that convince me to choose them because of what they do, rather than the awards they won. 

And finally, not nearly as important, but still a fair point to make: What is it with that font? Why would they choose anything like that? It has nothing to do with their illustration, and to be honest, it looks like a mistake that someone made. I mean, before an Ad goes live, it goes through thousands of checks made by actual PPC specialists, so how come not one of them figured it looked odd? And I know this is a little bit of a personal opinion, but I definitely don’t think that this font looks cohesive with the rest of their Ad, and you have to click on their Ad to realize that it’s actually the font from their own website. So much for award winning website design, huh? 

So, to conclude, I believe that Marketing Agencies and specialists have a much higher responsibility when it comes to launching Ads. You can’t just go and throw whatever comes to your mind first, because Ads work like your own business cards. If you don’t make sure they look as good as your clients would want theirs to look, then who will even hire you? So, my friends, I believe there’s no time like now to improve our own Display Ad game.