Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Abandon Hope, part deux

This is Part Deux of a series of blogposts critiquing the ads in the National Post’s Special Report on Small Business in today’s paper (Oct. 17). Oh, the humanity! (For Part I, click here.)

On page 5, BMO offers a half-page ad featuring a happy-looking woman in a suit that’s BMO-blue. In her hand she’s “holding” up a check mark. Which probably explains the cryptic headline, “Keep your small business in check.”

Read the copy and you’ll find your business can benefit from BMO banking solutions that are “(check) Simple; (check) Flexible; and (check) Fast.” Routine benefit statement, dumb headline, uninspired concept tying it all together. Do people get paid to make boring advertising?

The ad finishes by saying, “Ask us for details.” Oops.... It offers no phone number, no email, no URL. Maybe they don't really mean it. (The RBC ad on the previous page offered a toll-free number plus a custom URL.)

Page 5-6 is a double-page spread for Rogers wireless email solutions. It’s a great-looking two color ad (just a red border and highlighted text), with a strong picture of a young, somewhat scruffy-looking (but cool) business person and Rogers’ “YOU Unltd” headline. Plus, pix of the hot Blackberry Pearl, the Motorola SLVR, and other to-drool-for gadgets.

With all the space it bought, Rogers jams in a lot of find-the-right-wireless-solution-for-you copy, without ever making the ad look too busy. Rogers even dares to get into pricing - and it shows its knowledge of and respect for this market by noting that its wireless solutions start at $15 a month. (And who knew the Pearl [Blackberry plus camera, MP3 players, etc.] was just $249?)

I feel guilty for being so positive, but god job, Rogers. You spent a lot of money, but you own this supplement.

Now turn the page and you hit another red n white Rogers ad – for its Portable Internet service where you plug your modem into a power outlet. It’s voodoo to me, but a neat product with a stunning benefit line: “Now wherever there’s an outlet, you're in business.” No gimmicks, just genuine innovation that appeals to this audience.

Plus, even the body copy, which other advertisers seem to consider throwaway lines, is creatively writtten and speaks to entrepreneurial attitudes. "Just look around you," concludes Rogers. "Your potential is limitless.")

More in part 3.

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