In my last article, I posed the challenge for readers to improve this advertisement from Philadelphia furniture-retailer, Oskar Huber furniture.  I want to thank all the thoughtful response and input readers sent and congratulations to Tim Turner and Edwin Soler for winning a copy of Mustard Seeds, Shovels and Mountains from the late, great Jim Straw.

By the way, I saw one of the owners of Oskar Huber last week at a local event.  He had not seen the original article and I suggested he do so immediately.  He is a student of direct response marketing and knows better.  Hopefully all the “crowd-sourced” ideas will help him the next time around.

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There many very good ideas on how to improve this advertisement and to make it easy for you, I’ve outlined what I thought were the top 10 ways to improve this advertisement. They are in no specific order.

1. Lacks benefit-driven headline to quickly identify who this ad is for and why they need to read it.

2. Light color, small-font text on dark background is hard to read.  Very typical of an agency-designed ad.

3. The copy is “all about me” copy.  It should be focused on the reader – their pains, wants, desires, etc.  Should be written with the affluent buyer in mind.

4. Copy is boring and is void of energy, however serving the Philadelphia area for four generations is definitely a unique value proposition (however I noticed one younger reader did not care about this fact, which is interesting in and of itself).

5. Lacks social proof.  Why not feature a multi-generational customer who has been an Oskar Huber customer for decades?

6. Missing a clear call-to-action.  The discount is a typical, “plain-vanilla” offer.  Generic discounts like this are for groceries, drugstores, and low-end department stores. I don’t think they should be used for high-end stores. Offer something remarkable to get people to respond!

7. No way to track the return on investment of the ad.  There is nothing to “bring into the store.”  There are no codes or special phone numbers.  How will Oskar Huber know this ad generated a response?

8. Should have photos of a happy family enjoying the furniture.  Empty furniture is cold and impersonal.

9. Oskartoberfest is a cute try, but fall flat with this design and copy.  No real tie-in.

10. There is no list-building mechanism in the ad. This means the only measurement of the ads success will be customers who buy and tell the clerk it was THIS ad that brought them in, which is highly doubtful.

A simple solution would be to have the discounts by coupon. Then have the reader go to the web site and register for the coupon. This gives you the prospect’s email and also tells you how many people looked at the offer — as you can track clicks to the site. Then you can see how many actually buy for another valuable stat!!!

If you ran this 6 times in a year you could end up with hundreds of prospects on your email list that you could now send this and other offers to directly, rather than hoping they see it in the paper or magazine.