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Yesterday morning the above advertisement appeared on both the front and back cover of the Metro.

There are numerous problems with this. The lack of clarity of the sentence seems to be the most costly in terms of the advertisement's immediate effect.

If you buy two cover pages of advertising and decide to give them over to a single sentence, it seems obvious that you would ensure that a clear message is contained within that sentence.

Conducting its own mini-poll, Pen Ire confirmed that very few people could read the advert and understand it first time. After a couple of re-reads it becomes clearer what the message is trying to say:
CITCO now has administrative control of assets valued at over $500 billion. As a result, we practically need our own recruitment section in this newspaper.’

In appearance, the text has been designed to resemble a tabloid headline. This is an ineffective strategy as headlines are created to generate immediate impact, not confusion. Morning commuters aren’t likely to spend five minutes figuring out complex sentences and are more likely to skip to the next thing that catches their eye.

For some, of course, the two parts of the main message would remain clear. Namely, ‘$500 Billion’ and ‘Recruitment’. However, it would then be simpler to print a snappier message - “$500 billion! we’re recruiting”? This would surely be enough to prompt any ambitious accountant or funds administrator to pay attention. Why cloud your message with a poor attempt at humour?

There’s also, in my opinion, a fracture between the picture and the text. With some effort you could begin to understand that this man is outside work illicitly browsing a recruitment section and not, as it initially seems, standing against a grey wall waiting for a bus or a bit of action.

This leads me to another problem with this ad: it may catch the eye momentarily but is it really “eye-catching” – a massive dull, grey wall; a stereotypical businessman in a hooker-like pose; reading! The tabloid headline text presentation makes it look just like another tabloid headline. ‘Something about big business?’ – ‘sports section please’.

The text itself also displays some very poor choices of vocabulary. ‘Under administration’, while it can refer to controlling funds, has extremely negative connotations in that it’s what happens when a business goes belly-up and is sold off.

Also the trademarked caption - “Moving fund services forward” - means very little to me. As a sales message to potential clients it's probably quite effective, but as an employer-employee message, it isn't ideal. It effectively says nothing to potential employees about the company.

Finally, in the interests of correctness, we feel we should highlight the problem with “over $500 billion assets”. Here ‘$500 billion’ has to be read as a plural - ‘five hundred billion US dollars’. So when you follow that with a plural, assets, you end up with the awkward statement: 'over five hundred billion US dollars assets', instead of 'over five hundred billion US dollars in assets'.

1 comment:

David said...

As an ad-fan, I agree that this is poor. There are, as you pointed out, any number of areas where it could be improved but when it's that bad just call it as it is - "rubbish". There's a point where an ad or its copy is just not worthy of analysis - that advertisement passed that point miles ago!