Advertising Ideas: Inject a Little Negativity Into Prospects

by Lou

It’s true that positive advertising tends to do better, sometimes a lot better, than ads that focus on the negative, the pain, the problem.

Many times what people want, and what you are offering, can be framed either as positive or as negative.

NEGATIVE EXAMPLE :-( There’s no need to be lonely anymore.
POSITIVE EXAMPLE :-D Find the love of your life!

I’d say for longer ads like sales letters and brochures, use positive language with a brief dose of negative to persuade the moving-away-motivated crowd AND to show the consequences of not acting now (or going with competitors). But generally, keep it positive, upbeat and interesting.

But there are times when a negative ad can be very striking and memorable and actionable. And here I’m talking about very short ads: billboards, bumper stickers, Adwords, banners, etc. Advertising that is only a few words, but needs to capture the attention and the imagination quickly.

Here’s a negative, stopping pattern that you can use for brief ads:

Don’t wait/delay (to WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO). (SOMETHING NEGATIVE) isn’t (waiting).

Here are a few examples:

• “Don’t wait to get a check-up. Heart disease isn’t waiting.”

• “Don’t wait to get your resume. The recession isn’t waiting.” (For a resumé/CV writing service)

You can make them even briefer if you want to or have to:

• “Don’t wait. Heart disease isn’t.”

• “Don’t delay your resume. The recession isn’t.”

These ads would even be more stopping/attention getting with a striking graphic.


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