Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How does one tell a company that their ads are horrible?

Here’s an interesting question for all the advertising professionals out there.

But first, an introductory story.

Every morning, I read the Newspaper. I have been doing this since I started carrying two paper routes for the Toronto Sunday Sun at the age of 11.

The Sunday Sun is a heavy paper. It comes in two thick pieces that had to be assembled before I began delivery. Having two routes (including an entire building), there were a ton of papers to assemble. This meant papers flying around and pages opening to stories that would instantly grab my attention. Hijacked airliners, killer Kool Aid in Jonestown, and an assortment of serial killers roaming the city had me stopping constantly to read the details. Needless to say, I got very interested in World events at a very young age. I had to eventually give up the paper route when I decided it wasn’t really fair to the customers that were constantly complaining that their paper was late. To this day, I can’t start the morning without at least reading the front section of a newspaper containing the World’s headlines and the Letters to the Editor.

So, to make a long story short, here I am at 8:30 am this week, in my regular routine of eating breakfast and reading my newspaper when I discovered on page A3 (that’s the immediate page on the left after turning the cover) the most horribly created ad in the history of the last 10 years. It practically made my eyes bleed.

Not only was it beyond ugly, there were typos, alignment issues, bitmapped images, triple spacing between some words, even the company logo was a disaster.

I flipped some more pages and two more ads immediately stuck out thanks to their poorly designed concepts and layouts.

It appears that some small businesses are still placing large scale ads in the newspaper. But they seem to be creating them themselves.

And business owners wonder why they fail?

Of course, the first thought that goes through my mind is “I really need to contact them to offer my creative services”.

Now, here’s where my question to you comes in…

How do you politely and professionally call up a company and say “Hi, your ad in the newspaper today looked like my cat threw up in its mouth?

Do you tone it down and simply make the offer of “I’d like to come in and show you how I can help improve your advertising”?

Here’s something else to consider, is it even worth it? Would a company willing to place an ad like that on page 3 even consider paying a decent wage to have it done properly?

If you have ever made a cold call like this and it’s been a positive or negative experience, I for one would love to hear it.

Please discuss.


Chris Bishow Photography said...

Tactfully, yes. But then I show them why and what I can do to help.

Behzad said...

There is no nice way about it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and they might think theirs is the best. LOL

Nefasto said...

Well... some companies and particularly many clients have bad taste, but they still sell a ton of products/services. Having a design eye does not make us able to see the world like the common masses. Does a potential client would stop buying a product because an ad has a triple space or is badly aligned? hell no. people don't care. Those details that made a designer cringe are irrelevant for customers.