Short and Tweet

Posted on Jun 15, 2009 by Kerry O'Malley

As online communication becomes more and more brief (case in point, Twitter) you have to wonder how this will eventually affect offline (print) advertising.  Twitter wouldn’t be the first option that comes to mind for an industrial company’s advertising efforts, but let’s face it: the online world is affecting the way we communicate in all areas of life.

The exploding popularity of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, etc. should be a signal to all marketers, including industrial B to B, that ads that convey a message quickly and consisely may have an advantage over ads that force readers to plow through too much text, puzzle over a picture that is unrelated to the headline, figure out complicated charts – or all of the above.  I’ve been seeing more and more ads that are perfect examples of the “less is more” concept.  Here’s a few:

A recent Honeywell ad promotes its OnWireless™ universal wireless network which supports multiple industrial applications simultaneously.  The headline “sky’s the limit” towers above an image of a young boy holding up a remote control as his model airplane soars above in the sky.  The final line of the brief text says, “why stay chained to multiple networks, when there is one that will let you soar.  OneWireless™.”  There’s a phone number and their website address – no international physical addresses.  Not only does the headline, image, and final statement all tie together nicely, the image of the young boy and his remote control airplane invokes nostalgia in many men, especially those with an engineering or more analytical type mind – obviously the target audience for this ad. What future engineer hasn’t tinkered with a toy like a remote control airplane at some point?

In its ad, The Vancouver Convention Centre quickly makes the point that gatherings at its facility are definitely not dull.  The stage is set with an image of an empty, run-of-the-mill conference room complete with clock, water cooler and a set of mismatched chairs. Who hasn’t sat in one of those? The headline says it all:  “The most interesting thing in a meeting room shouldn’t be the clock.”  In the next breath, the convention center states, “Conventions should inspire,” and then invites readers to visit its Web site.

ITT’s ad for ANGEL services – Airborne Natural Gas Emission Lidar – uses powerful imagery and brief, compelling text to drive home the point that their technology saves millions of dollars for their customers.  Superimposed over an ariel photo of a suburban community is (what appears to be) an infrared read-out strip, showing with absolute clarity what must be a significant pipeline leak.  Above the read-out, the headline text reads:  “Many of our clients don’t think they have leaks.’ Underneath the readout: ‘Until they become our clients.”  The sub-head states their value proposition simply and eloquently:  “Survey more miles.  Find more leaks.  Save more money.”

At a time when 140-character messages are becoming the limit of our focusing ability, it really may be best to keep ads as short and sweet as a tweet.

Author: Kerry O'Malley

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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