A Display Ad Worthy of Your Study (and can you find the one missing thing?)

A few months back, I saw this ad in the newspaper and as soon as I saw it, I ripped it out and filed it to discuss as a display advertisement worthy of review. And just so there’s no confusion, I am not a customer or affiliate of MyPillow®, but I definitely think they are doing a lot of things right in this ad and everybody reading this article can be reminded of what a good advertisement contains.

However, I think there is one big missed opportunity and I’m wondering if you know what it is? Post your answer below as a comment and we’ll see who has their marketing think-cap on!

But let’s take a look at what’s right about this ad.

Attention-grabbing headline – check. I like this headline format and if you’ve ever slept on an uncomfortable pillow (and who hasn’t), it immediately resonates with you. I also like how they use copy cosmetics in the headline by using boldface and underlining to set it off even more.

Decent copy – check. I like the story-driven, “me to you” feel of the copy in this ad, even though it breaks my rule of having the copy way to focused on “I” and “me.” I did lose track of how many “I’s” are in the copy and it does point out a potential area for losing readers (and it’s not the one missing thing).

Typically, your copy should be about your reader’s needs and wants and this ad is primarily about the author, however its intent is to read as a personal letter, so I think it works. Even the way he ends the ad will re-assure and comfort many readers.

Use of photos and graphics – check. Could be a bit better by providing a caption under each photo to help reinforce the message. The “need a better night’s sleep” image is especially captivating.

Use of copy cosmetics – check. I already mentioned the headline. I also like how the add uses a bullet list, graphics and a good use of reverse print down at the bottom to set it off. A CopyDoodle® or two could have helped even more.

Guarantee – check. Not a bad guarantee. I would have suggested putting a border around the guarantee and adding a headline for the guarantee to make it stand out more.

Unique value proposition – check. The ad describes the patent and the fact the product is made entirely in the U.S. This is important to a lot of potential buyers and he’s not hiding the facts.

Deadline-based offer – check. The ad offers a 25% discount if I were to respond by a certain date. This is very good and many marketers overlook this important requirement. Remember, an offer without a deadline is not an offer!

Multiple ways to respond – check. Typically, the more ways a person can respond, the higher the response will be. Not everybody is comfortable with ordering online and by allowing those folks to order by phone, there will be no missed sales. I also like the fact they included their social media links for folks who like to connect that way.

Testimonials – no, but… Could it have used a testimonial or two? Sure, but given the space, it would have been a challenge and they are addressed in the ad by driving them to the web site to read the “thousands of testimonials.”

So all, in all, this is a very good display ad. It’s laser-focused on what it’s designed to do, which is sell pillows. Yet, I believe it’s missing something important.

Do you know what it is? If so, leave your answers below and we will randomly pick one of the correct responses and send that person the CopyDoodles Swipe File CD-ROM ($97 value). I will also post a follow-up article addressing what’s missing. Good luck!

About Mike Capuzzi

I'm a speaker, author and high impact marketing strategist for business owners and sharp, aggressive entrepreneurs looking to get to the next level in their business. I'm also the the inventor of the world-famous CopyDoodles. CopyDoodles are the world's largest library of handwritten fonts, hand-drawn doodles, comics and more designed to grab attention and boost your marketing results!

47 Comments

  1. Doug Guard on March 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I don’t see a real “call to action.”

    • Sharon on March 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      @Doug, C2A is there. It’s “BUY NOW” with coupon, “TODAY12” at the very bottom.

      @Mike, aside from “Copy Doodles,” it should include their YouTube channel. I would think people would want to see an example or two (this channel could also include “testimonials” thus leaving it out of the ad for sure).

      :O)

  2. Tom on March 21, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Missing testimonials!

  3. Richard on March 21, 2012 at 9:58 am

    There is no address and no price. The lack of a physical address means that people will have less confidence that this is a good supplier…or even a real suplier…so he will lose sales. Equally there is no indication of price. 25% off a million bucks would still make it an expensive buy. So again I think people will have less confidence that this is a real bargain.

  4. Steven Leibson on March 21, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Seven years of sales and not one testimonial! Where are the happy, pain-free customers?

  5. Warren Kruger on March 21, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Hey Mike, I’m going to list a few omissions.
    * No Copy Doodles
    * No physical, street address
    * No testimonials – a preponderance of proof
    * Doesn’t mention what the guarantee does…Guaranteed blah blah blah. So what! Should tell what the guarantee will do, e.g. Money back, money back + you get to keep the pillow. So, it’s a very weak guarantee.
    * Weak offer
    * Weak call to action

    Apart from this, the ad is OK.

    Cheers from Perth, Western Australia

  6. Gary Robinwette on March 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

    It sure could use some Copy Doodles!

  7. Alan on March 21, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Hey Mike, great exercise! Apart from not providing a physical address in the ad (or the website) and a sub-head to emphasize the ‘big promise’, I feel I am still missing the “important” omission you suggest. You covered all the other enhancements I might have considered given the space and the media. Looking forward to the ‘slap-my-forehead’ reveal tomorrow.

    • Alan on March 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      I considered price, but if you go to the website you will see that he offers a range of pillows, so unless he was promoting a single specific style & size, stating a price may be less effective in getting calls or visitors to his site.

  8. James Daniel on March 21, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Hi Mike – I’d say it’s accreditation. He has the credentials of The Better Business Bureau, but could use a badge of endorsement, e.g. from a medical body like an asthma or sleep association.

  9. Chris Mitchell on March 21, 2012 at 10:15 am

    The price! Never respond unless you know what you have at stake.

  10. James Daniel on March 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

    As he’s asking for the order directly, it would also be interesting to know if he’s tested declaring the price or giving a ballpark figure

  11. Brad Lloyd on March 21, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Hey Mike,
    Awesome marketing….
    Not sure with one is correct, yet here is my list:
    USP, Up-sell, down-sell, opt-in magnet for contact info.,
    smokin-bonuses, referral system

  12. Jeff Meland on March 21, 2012 at 10:46 am

    There is no price shown. Might be too expensive for some.

  13. Susan Lobsinger on March 21, 2012 at 10:51 am

    No specific instructions on how to respond to this ad. There is also no price, but that’s not important if the next step was more clear. It has the website, but what do you do once you get to the website. I also think they should do something to capture leads for people who are interested. So, they should probably use this ad to drive them to reach out for a free report or something like that. And, of course testimonials.

  14. Mark on March 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

    No way to buy the item. How to order? How much?

  15. Sumara on March 21, 2012 at 11:06 am

    COLOR

  16. Gerry on March 21, 2012 at 11:27 am

    He wants you to buy now, but doesn’t give you a price.

  17. Mike on March 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I see no pricing.

  18. David Cathers on March 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Mike,

    The first thought was testimonials but you covered that. Truly I think there should be a better call to Action. Something Highlighted saying “What You Should Do Next Is…”

    Then show a price and Variety of ways to pay. (ie Cash,check, Credit Card). Then Highlight the Guarantee and the facts of No Risk To Me the Consumer.

    Tell ME Why It Is NOT Available in Stores too.

  19. George on March 21, 2012 at 11:58 am

    There’s nothing that would promote list-building. That is, he could offer a link to FREE report (something like “How A Good Night Sleep Could Save You Millions…And Your Marriage”). This report would, of course, lead one to conclude that they MUST have this pillow. It also would probably attract some of the readers who are “interested” yet not committed to buying. Plus, it would help him build his List.

  20. Jeff on March 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Susan said it. TESTIMONIALS

  21. Bill Thomas on March 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    There should be a call to action, but with no call to action there should be a coupon for the 25% off so the customer has something he can hang onto, and perceive to have value. The coupon have contact information, as well as a deadline, and would serve as a reminder.

  22. Bruce on March 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    No subheading and no P.S.

  23. Kevin Lewis on March 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    A BONUS OFFER would be nice. And I also agree about the price.

  24. tom on March 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    No lead capture

  25. Carl on March 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    25% off what, is shipping included or extra?

  26. Craig Valine on March 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I see no offer – no pricing. “25% off” what? Also, no caption underneath the photo.

  27. James on March 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Great critique. Thanks. All most of the comments. Especially lack of testimonies aft 7yrs. and soft call to action. Of course I first noticed no doodles or general cosmetics. Boring. It put me to sleep, no pillow required. LOL

  28. brian on March 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    There is no price

  29. Danny Stusser on March 22, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Besides needing some copy graphics, the ad needs to explain “call TOLL-FREE” — most people don’t recognize area code 855 as a free call.

    And I agree with others who said a testimonial would help.

  30. jennifer on March 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    When will the answer be posted??

    • Mike Capuzzi on March 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      Jennifer – I will post a follow up article next week!

  31. Paul on March 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Hmmm… I think the entire ad is sorta a dung pile. I’m not sure that ‘comfort’ is a good motivator. A lot of pillows are comfy.

    The copy does have the ‘from me to you’ approach… but not very good. It drifts into a crappy superlative “the best customer service’ and the horrendous “I truly believe this is the best pillow in the world”. He should- its his.

    The mediocre copy intertwined with so-so pictures painfully lead us down to a pathetic call to action. By the way, how much is 25%?

    Underlining ‘your’ in the headline I understand, but why ‘own’?

    The bullet points sadly happen without a subhead, so seem out of place when scrolling the ad. The closest sub-head says “My-Pillow is not available in stores’.

    Let’s not even get me started on him dropping a ‘God bless’ in there… if he made money with this he could quadruple it by having a pro do it. A pro did not do this.

  32. Steven on March 23, 2012 at 3:20 am

    I believe it is that there is no testimonies from his customers right in the ad. He talks a lot about his own experience which is worth something but people want to hear what others are saying.

    He also, referred people to his web site for testimonies so he was in the right building but didn’t get past the entrance.

  33. Steven on March 23, 2012 at 3:28 am

    Wait a minute, in rereading this I believe that the missing ingredient that the article is just in B/W and needs some color.

  34. Rick Bueckert on March 23, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Where’s the widget?

    The “Buy for first pillow for $xx.xx and we’ll include a SECOND for FREE!! You just pay the shipping and handling!”

  35. Charles Gaudet on March 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Hey Mike, great ad – I notice they run that ad in USA today….

    The funny thing is that ZA Associates (a marketing company with a BIG budget) ran a full-page add near the pillow ad with nothing much but an ego-boosting headline, irrelevant photo and a few lines of garbage text in the caption. Your typical brand-advertising.

    Still debating whether their ignorance is funny or sad.

    With gratitude,
    Charlie

    • Mike Capuzzi on March 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Charlie – you gotta love those types of “marketing companies!”

      • Charles Gaudet on March 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

        Ha! So true! Sort of makes you feel pretty darn smaaaat when you look at what they consider ‘good marketing’ :o)

        With regards to the testimonials … for this type of advertorial, I’m curious if it would detract from the ‘personal plea’ or the tone of the letter.

        I’d love to know if he tested w/ and w/o a testimonial (given how well his ad is written, I’d be more surprised if he didn’t test it).

        What do you think?

        Heck, maybe I’ll try to give him a call… the curiosity is killing me….

  36. Jeff on March 23, 2012 at 11:27 am

    No testimonial – he’s saying it’s good – no one else is

  37. Rich on March 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    P.S. Is missing it is one of the first 3 things read.

  38. Jay Johnson on March 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    They should hace used a “Gift Certificate” in place of the “Buy Now” call to action.

  39. Richard Sherry on March 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I agree that testimonials are missing. He says he’s got lots, but we shouldn’t have to go to another website to see them.

    And, yes, the missing price and physical address should be there too.

  40. Bill on March 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    The answers are at the website. Pain is a great motivator. Price is $90.00. I bought one. Yes it is a good pillow. No I am not affiliated with him. Lots of testimonials etc on the website.

  41. Cheryl on March 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    what could he be selling? Pillows maybe. but I can get good ones anywhere. and possibly cheaper – he has no prices. no description, a dud ad. nothing really to attract.

  42. Daniel on April 8, 2012 at 6:28 am

    It took me a while but I believe I found it…

    Forget about the fact that there’s no quotation marks around the headline (proven to help conversions at times)…or that there are no testimonials(which seems to be mentioned to death)

    what missing from this direct response ad is simple. It’s one of the most important conversion boosting factors for offline and online ads…

    What is it?

    The coupon box.

    Maybe I’m wrong but from my experience adding any kind of the dotted lined border to amke some part of the ad stand out as a coupon considerably boosts conversions.

    I hope I got it right.

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