Does your online ad need a logo?

Does my online ad need a logo? Maybe it’s not a question you ever asked yourself, but I was browsing some of the so-called classic press ads from days of yore recently and something suddenly struck me. Something that, I’m ashamed to say, I’d never noticed in all my years of rattling the stick in the swill bucket.

The old ads didn’t have a logo.

Even the famous Ogilvy Rolls-Royce clock one. No logo.  Why was this? Surely the whole point of the advertising was to get the brand name into the public consciousness as swiftly and effectively as possible?

But, of course, anyone who’s worked in proper direct response advertising will tell you instantly why the ads didn’t have a logo.

Because they were designed to look like editorial.

Direct Response experts always make their ads look like the editorial matter that surrounds them. So the customer is tricked into looking at the ad for that tiny nano-second longer.  He thinks, for a split second, that it’s editorial and therefore interesting so he glances at it. Whereas, if it looks like advertising, he will instinctively ignore it.

This is one of the key reasons why you still see many direct response press ads that have lots of copy, laid out in editorial-style columns with a squared-up picture at the top and an editorial-style headline.

We did the same thing at the Reader’s Digest with envelopes for DM. You make your envelope look like a bill, a parcel, a tax demand…anything but a piece of advertising. Just so, for that tiny moment, the customer engages with it just a little bit longer. And in the scheme of things, where every percentage point counts, that’s enough.

We now see the same principles at work online. We ignore the banner ads and do our best to ignore the Google adwords ads too.

But the online ads that actually work are the ones that look like editorial. Bournemouth granny reveals secret of wrinkle-free old-age. The weight-loss trick that doctors hate. Why vegetarian sausages can add 20 years to your dog’s life.

These get under your radar simply because, unlike most online promotion, they don’t scream I AM A BANNER AD PLEASE IGNORE ME. And without exception, they don’t have a logo.

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