Solving the puzzle of advertising

Solving the puzzle of advertising By John Foust, Advertising Trainer We’ve all heard challenges described as puzzles. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a real puzzle and see how it relates to the particular challenges of creating advertising. Jigsaw puzzles, of course, are illustrations, photographs or other...

Put a stop to workplace silos

Put a stop to workplace silos By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Jim, who used to work with a local volunteer fire department, told me about the technique they used to keep everyone on the right roads to arrive at fire sites. “It was in the days before GPS,” he said....

Know when to stop talking

Know when to stop talking By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Jonathan told me about his friend Dave’s sports car. They rode around in it in high school, and although it was old even then, they loved the car and didn’t let its mechanical eccentricities bother them. Through the years, after...

Treasure hunt for ad ideas

Treasure hunt for ad ideas By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Some years ago, I attended an exhibit of treasure from the Atocha shipwreck which treasure hunter Mel Fisher had located off the coast of Florida. The Atocha was the most famous ship in the Spanish fleet that sank in 1622...

Advertising’s slippery slope

Advertising’s slippery slope By John Foust, Advertising Trainer I remember taking a day-long ski trip to Virginia. The charter bus was filled with skiers who had different levels of experience: a few were pretty good, most were average, and some were novices like me.After a morning on the beginners’ slope,...

Get more mileage out of testimonials

Get more mileage out of testimonials By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Back in my ad agency days, I worked with a real estate client on a series of customer testimonials. We started with one, then added another and another. The final count was more than a dozen, which kept the...

Ad lessons from a wall poster

Ad lessons from a wall poster By John Foust, Advertising Trainer I remember going to the opthalmologist a few years ago for my regular eye checkup. In the exam room, there was a large poster on the wall which featured a number of photographs of the same view of New...

Don’t sell your clients short

Don’t sell your clients short By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Gene told me about an experience he had when he was fundraising for the Boy Scouts. “I was young and completely sold on the value of scouting because some years earlier I had earned the designations of Eagle Scout and...

What makes an ad campaign?

What makes an ad campaign? By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Amanda told me about taking over the advertising account of a business which had been placing ads in her paper for a long time. “In our first meeting, the owner said he had been running what he called a ‘campaign’...

If it’s 10:08, it must be a watch ad

If it’s 10:08, it must be a watch ad By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”That’s certainly true in advertising. Consider the nuances of photography. For example, the next time you...

What are they selling?

What are they selling? By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Greensboro, NCMy wife and I once visited with Rick and Karen, a couple who had served as missionaries overseas. As part of their work to get involved in the community, Rick was assigned to teach a class at a local school....

The power of enthusiasm

The power of enthusiasm By John Foust, Advertising Trainer There’s a story about a professor of literature at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. As he approached retirement, someone from the newspaper interviewed him. During the course of their conversation, the reporter asked the wise old professor about...

We’ve got some explaining to do

We’ve got some explaining to do By John Foust, Advertising Trainer People usually say “no” to things they don’t understand. It’s a salesperson’s job to help prospects understand what he or she is selling. What makes media choice A better than choice B? What’s all this talk about target audiences...

Advertising’s Bill of Rights

Advertising’s Bill of Rights By John Foust, Advertising Trainer In the advertising business, there are things which must be done in order to create an effective campaign. Think of it as Advertising’s Bill of Rights: Send the right message…to the right audience…in the right medium…at the right time…about the right...

Oboes and leadership

Oboes and leadership By John Foust, Advertising Trainer If you’ve been to a symphony concert, you’ve witnessed the cacophony of sound before the concert begins. Every instrument seems to be in its own world, independently running through the musical scale.Actually, this is a traditional and deliberate process to tune all...

Say it and do it, or renegotiate

Say it and do it, or renegotiate By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Joanne is an ad manager with a common-sense approach to managing her team and their goals. She believes in communication – not micro-management – but real communication on how things are going.“For years,” she told me, “I often...

The power of being specific

The power of being specific By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar used to ask, “Are you a meaningful specific or a wandering generality?” He related his comment to a number of areas: long and short-term goal setting, day-to-day activities, and dealings with family members, coworkers...

Tell them why – and sell more

Tell them why – and sell more By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Like some other kids, I learned how to drive before taking the drivers’ education class in high school. My father took me to the school’s football stadium on weekends when the expansive parking lot was empty. The car...

A key question: What’s next?

A key question: What’s next? By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Gregory talked to me about a lesson he learned in his early days of selling advertising. “In one of my first presentations, the prospect rejected my ideas for a new campaign. Back at the office, my ad manager must have...

Two advertising goals: Attention and Retention

Two advertising goals: Attention and Retention By John Foust, Advertising Trainer As mentioned in previous articles, there are two types of advertising: image and response. Image advertising – sometimes known as institutional advertising – is designed to give people a good impression of the advertiser. (“We’re the dealership that cares.”)...

A good idea is worth the wait

A good idea is worth the wait By John Foust, Advertising Trainer When I was a kid and jumped to conclusions about something, my father often said, “Hold your horses, son.” That’s an old saying that means, “Whoa! Stop and think carefully before making a decision.” Dad had a lot...

The importance of proofreading

The importance of proofreading By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Proofreading is one of the most important skills in the advertising world. While anybody with a sense of humor can appreciate a harmless blooper (one of my favorites is the sign that read, “Ears pierced while you wait”), no advertiser wants...

Advertising’s blast from the past

Advertising’s blast from the past By John Foust, Advertising Trainer In order to look ahead to a new advertising idea, sometimes it helps to take a look at the past. When an advertiser has been in business for a number of years, there are plenty of possibilities.Let’s take a look...

Would you mind showing me around?

Would you mind showing me around? By John Foust, Advertising Trainer One of the most important questions you can ask an advertising client is, “Would you mind showing me around?”Think about it. When you have a conversation in a client’s office, you get a filtered version of that person’s business....

Cut down on exclamation marks

Cut down on exclamation marks By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Lately I have noticed a disturbing trend in print and online advertising: the overuse of exclamation marks. They’re all over the place. Interestingly, no grammar book I have ever seen has suggested using more exclamation marks – or exclamation points...

The advertising sales cycle

The advertising sales cycle By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Let’s take a look at the sales cycle. For our purposes, the focus is on advertising media sales, but this concept can apply to any business. Although the cycle has a beginning and an end, the end leads to a new...