This time round I thought I’d comment on the effectiveness of a couple of (very different) adverts for new comics in Previews magazine.
Doing this should hopefully give you an insight into how to structure your ads, whether they’re in a magazine or on a webpage.
Valiant Entertainment – Bloodshot #1
Here’s the ad that convinced me to buy into the whole Valiant line (discussed in my last article ‘How to Launch a New Comic Series’). To view a larger version of the image, right-click it and select ‘Open link in new window’.
Valiant have given all of its adverts this month a cohesive, simple layout:
Top 6th of page – logo + title.
Second sixth - Description of comic + creators.
Bottom four sixths – pictures.
So how does this layout help to advertise their titles?
First off, having the same layout for all ads means less brain-work for the reader. We are conditioned to immediately know we’re looking at a Valiant ad even before we’ve registered the logo.
Apparently, the human eye is geared to always reading across the top of a page first (whether it’s in a book or on a website), hence why they’ve allocated this space to tell you exactly what product is being sold. They also point out that it’s a ‘Featured Item’, increasing the curiosity factor.
Then, common to both magazines and web-pages, the eye automatically moves down the right-hand side of the page rather than returning to the left-hand side of the next column.
So in this case, the reader next sees the names of the creators involved. Because Valiant have hired some top quality creators, this helps to whet the appetite for what’s to come.
The eye then moves down to the main pic, which is an awesome cover image, further stoking expectation.
The reader’s eye has so far worked in a circular motion, so Valiant have placed three pictures of variant covers on the left-hand side of the page to help move the reader’s eye back up to the description, which is the last thing we read. And they’ve done such a great job of wording the description (also discussed in my previous article), that it gives the reader one last ‘nudge’ to buy the book.
I mentioned previously that it was the Bloodshot advert that convinced me to buy into the Valiant universe, despite X-O Manowar and Harbinger being launched over the last two months.
It’s worth noting that the advert for X-O Manowar #1 had the description at the bottom of the page, and the advert for Harbinger #1 didn’t have any pictures on the left-hand side of the page. I think in both cases, I failed to read the descriptions properly. The Bloodshot ad is perfectly laid out to lead the reader on a journey of discovery in 3 parts:
- Tell them what it is.
- Seduce them with gorgeous images.
- Hook them with a great description.
Okay, now onto a slightly different ad:
Aspen Comics – Idolized #0
Okay, this is from the April Previews, but it’s the best contrast I could find.
In fact, there couldn’t be a bigger difference! Aspen’s marketing team have tried to throw everything on the page rather than using the ‘less is more’ motto. And the result confuses the reader rather than drawing them in.
Starting at the top-left, we see some black and white page shots. But they’re also down the left-hand side of the page, which either draws our eyes away from the title, or our brain ignores the pictures and leads our eyes to the title.
It’s a good logo, but then, moving down the right of the page, we see the tagline ‘Be a star…A Superstar!’
My first thoughts were ‘Is this a competition offering the chance to star in the comic?’ This isn’t, in fact, the case, so it’s a tad misleading.
Then, there’s a photo cover of ‘Victoria’s Secret Supermodel Rachel Clark’. That got me thinking: ‘Is she really a Victoria’s Secret model? And she doesn’t really look like the comic image.’
Remember that I said that the eye works in a circular motion? Well it’s also more attracted to pictures than text. So rather than moving onto the description of the book in the bottom right-hand corner, the eye is more likely to focus on the variant cover pictures to the left, then move back up to the names of the creators centre page.
At this point, it’s a job to break out of the circle of images to read the description in the bottom-right. I gave up at that point and turned the page.
Remember this – whether on the internet or in a catalogue like Previews, you have only a few seconds to capture the attention of the reader before they give up and move onto something else.
Throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the reader/viewer in an attempt to find something to hook them with can end up being a pointless act. Better to sum up what’s best about your comic or merchandise and display it in a simple, logical way that gets your point across effectively.
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I hope you enjoyed this article. Would you like to see more publisher ad spotlights? Or would you prefer that I concentrate on other marketing-related stuff instead?
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The Comic Academy
Phil Hampton founded The Comic Academy to help and inpire comic creators and publishers to market their work effectively. Download your FREE exclusive report ‘The 7 Steps to Comic Creator Success’ at http://www.TheComicAcademy.com