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Used As A Peg On Which To Hang An Ad, Or Even An Entire Campaign....

I have nothing at all against service and civility being used as a peg on which to hang an ad, or even an entire campaign for that matter. Indeed, I have been grateful for these essentially amorphous terms on many an occasion. Yet they should in no way whatsoever be made the scapegoats for such visual and verbal absurdities as one comes across betimes. The worst of recent months having illustrations of men in white overalls literally bending over backwards; of a city gent astride a rocking-horse telling us that nobody is on their high horse at so-and-so's; and of a half-naked woman making the point that since she gets serviced regularly at a certain garage, you should do likewise. There is a word for material like this.

Come to think of it, there are several words. Farther than that, I am not prepared to go. And now for the ubiquitous coupon; its function; its use as an ad-testing gauge via the response it elicits; and the potential terrors of a nil response.

Without wishing to insult your intelligence, a coupon is merely a device for encouraging punters to find out more about your products or services. This can be achieved with the offer of free literature, or the attendance of a company consultant in their own homes. The consultant is, of course, a salesman who will do everything in his power to 'convert' the coupon response into a sale. There are variations on the theme of what a coupon offers, but these are the main considerations. A coupon can also provide the client with a very worthwhile catalogue of potential customers which he can readily turn into a mailing-list, or house-call list, for future operations.

The astute will no doubt already have realized that the inclusion of a coupon in an ad could spell disaster for the agency if a client is overly optimistic - if he expects better results than he actually gets. Worse still is the opprobrium when a client has been sold a bill-of-goods by a too enthusiastic account executive, with talk of percentage response that's beyond his wildest dreams. Forecasting the response one might get from a coupon is a divertisement comparable to that of accurately predicting the time and date of the end of the world. It can't be done with much precision.

Ordinarily, though, you can keep your fingers crossed for a coupon return in the neighbourhood of two and a half per cent if your ad is well made and given that you've hit the right media for the market. On a good day, a red-letter day, you might make eight per cent. It doesn't happen often. Money-off coupons, incidentally, are a different kettle of fish. I've seen redemptions on these going through thirty per cent.

But in this instance, you're waving what amounts to filthy lucre under people's noses. And that they like. Taking it in the round, coupons are a fine idea if nobody demands too much from them - a bad idea if they do. Once upon a time, someone was dredging into the farther reaches of his invention in an attempt to come up with a coupon ad with a difference. Suddenly, an idea hit him with the impact of a sockful of wet sand.

...could you create better content >>

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