Local Advertising Fail – Sensory Overload

Local Advertising Fail – Sensory Overload

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Local Advertising Fail - Sensory Overload

Local Advertising Fail - Sensory Overload

This 300×250 display ad for a local business is so bad that it serves as a cautionary tale of…

An Epic Local Advertising Fail

This is a classic example of an old-school print advertisement being crammed into a digital ad.

Local Advertising Fail - Sensory Overload
Local Advertising Fail – Sensory Overload

Honestly, there’s so much wrong with this ad that I don’t know where to begin, but let’s start with…

1. There’s too much text

It’s like trying to shove 20 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag.

I saw this type of thing happen a lot when working for an older print publication’s website.

Someone tried to translate the entire print ad into the 300×250 pixel ad space.

Online ads are sort of like billboards – you only have seconds to get your message across.

How to fix it:
When it comes to writing ad copy, write your message down on a notecard then flash it for two seconds in front of someone.

If they can’t recall what the card said, then you have too much text.

2. What exactly are they selling?

Smith and Keene is an HVAC company. I think.

The fact that I have to guess at this continues to add to the failure.

How to fix it:
Don’t make me guess. Pick a single, clear message and get it across to the viewer.

3. Why are there leaves in this ad?

Is fall the time you need to replace your system or have some sort of checkup? I have no idea, and this ad isn’t telling me that either.

How to fix it:
If there’s a seasonal message about having your system checked, separate that into its own ad.

4. Fine print? really?

How is anyone ever going to read the fine print of the disclaimer?

How to fix it:
Place the disclaimer on the landing page.

5. What’s with all the logos?

Seriously, you can’t tell what half of them are, so why are they there?

How to fix it:
Get rid of all of them except for the Smith and Keene logo.

6. Is that an appliance?

I am going to guess that the gray thing is a heating/cooling unit, but I doubt that photos of HVAC units help to sell them.

How to fix it:
Get rid of it. Only use images that sell the concept.

7. The worst fail – the landing page

Or should I say lack thereof?

Although it seems like a very specific offer (or several thousand offers in one ad – I think) I was taken to the home page of Smith and Keene’s website.

Local Ad Landing Page Fail

And after arriving, not only did I not see any offer details, but I also still can’t clearly tell what they do as a company from the screenshot above.

Maybe Smith and Keene is a photography business that specializes in family portraits?

How to fix it:
When people click on your ad, you MUST send them to a page that continues the dialogue started in that ad. It’s a conversation that starts with the ad and should direct them to a clear path of action after clicking through.

Please don’t make the same mistakes

I hope that this breakdown has helped you. Who knows, maybe someone from Smith and Keene will see this and have better ads made next time too. Digital advertising may be less expensive than print advertising, but I’d hate to see them or anyone else waste their money like this.

Have you seen any other bad online ads?

Leave a comment below and tell us about your experiences, or even better send us an example for future breakdowns!

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  1. Great post, Malcom. Trust me, I see too much of this in video advertising, as well. So many people want to put put too many logos, too much text, too many offers into an ad that just sails past the viewer (if they are even watching anymore) in a mere 30 seconds. Simplification is the key, but it’s apparently hard to get that through some people’s heads.

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