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•    Don’t be abstract in your messaging – There are estimates that the average person receives between 2,700 – 5,000 advertising messages each day.  Besides being flooded with these impressions, they are also adept in filtering out anything that doesn’t pertain to their needs in a micro-second.

I don’t understand the message from AmEx, I don’t get the WIIFM and I don’t have time to dig deeper…especially in the hustle and bustle of airports and when I have another flight to catch.  “I waited forever at customs? and American Express??? Huh? Doesn’t compute…I'm gone.

Get to your offer.  Tell them WIIFM quickly and efficiently.  They don’t have time to go deep, so at least penetrate their consciousness and strive for further engagement.  It‘s an admirable goal for such a brief encounter. 


•   “But we’re building Brand Awareness? – Most companies under $ 500 million should be more concerned with selling stuff and growing instead of the obtuse skirt that marketing often hides behind called Brand Building.

Especially in B2B industries with limited vendor bases, defined vertical markets and knowledgeable purchasers, everyone knows who the players are and they know their brands.   Spend your money on offers that provide value, differentiation and Unique Selling Propositions…they will fill the coffers faster.

If you feel you must develop your brand, at least do pre and post campaign, quantitative research to have some measurement of performance.  (I can’t believe that brand building was the objective with AmEx here because our art director gave such little real estate to the logo and didn’t even portray the card in its entirety.)


•   MAKE THE COPY BIG AND THE OFFER UNDERSTANDABLE – From my vantage point, on the ground looking up in the airport, the line of copy on the bottom of the ad (which wasn’t even an offer or call-to-action) was in small type on the bottom, illegible and lost.  Don't put an obstacle in front of your audience with fancy, small or reversed-out type.  It's hard enough to get comprehension for your message as it is.  

If your objective is to convey a feeling or an aura (again not a good investment for SMBs), then I guess you can rely on open space and dramatic images.  However, if your objective is to elicit a response, make the copy big and the offer understandable.  



Wonder how your messaging stacks up? Shoot over your latest and we’ll spend some time on the phone chatting through its merits. 616-634-3498 or e-mail us at michael@thebyersgroupllc.com

Going through Newark airport a month ago, a display ad from American Express briefly caught my eye and was just as quickly dismissed. 

It was so indistinguishable, that I went back and took a quick picture of it in fascination, wondering what art director had convinced sensible corporate marketers to buy into a campaign like this.

Being big doesn't make companies smart. Many big companies make big marketing and messaging mistakes. 

Thus, especially for companies smaller than $ 500 million, I’d suggest that the lessons from the AmEx campaign not be lost and the same mistakes not be repeated including:
Don't Muddle your Messaging
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