Advertising Headlines


John Foust on the power of restraint

On an out-of-state trip, I saw a billboard that compelled me to pull off the road to take a closer look. What was so unusual? It had more words than I had ever seen on a billboard – 45 words. “What in the world were they thinking?” I asked myself. “I’m probably the only driver who knows what the billboard says, and that’s because I stopped to count the words.”


Creating believable advertising

“Willing suspension of disbelief” is a cornerstone of entertainment. The term was coined in 1817 by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” It refers to the fact that an audience must temporarily suspend rational judgment in order to enjoy a story or presentation.


John Foust on doing a little more and a little less for sales meetings

Kristen told me how she handles one of the biggest challenges of managing her newspaper’s sales department. “Sales meetings – like a lot of other things – fall into predictable patterns,” she said. “The boss talks, the staff members listen, and more often than not, it’s just a transference of information. No one feels motivated to do anything different after the meeting is over.


Do you have a sales prevention department?

Every business has procedures in need of tweaking. Do any of those procedures at your newspaper involve the advertising department? It might be a good idea to take a look.


Multi-tasking = multi-risking

Joseph was talking to me about something he feels is important to the ad staff he manages. “These days, there’s a lot of talk about multi-tasking,” he said. “But according to what I’ve read on the subject, there’s no such thing. We can shift back and forth between tasks, but doing two tasks at once would be like putting a stick-shift car in first gear and second gear at the same time. It can’t be done.


Four words for ad professionals: 'Oh yeah? Prove it.'

I once encountered a car dealer who took advertising puffery to new levels. They publicized themselves as being number one in every conceivable category. Their general advertising theme was, “We’re number one.” Their new car slogan was, “We’re number one in new cars.” Their used car slogan was, “We’re number one in used cars.” Their service department’s slogan was, “We’re number one in service.” And of course, their logo featured their name inside a number one.