the shack adTake a look at this national ad. It was displayed on the well-known music website Pandora.

Here, there was clearly a gap between the goal and the final design which could have possibly been prevented with a bit more thought and communication between the decision maker and the designer. Hopefully you’ll learn a few things and can use this information to help you take an objective look at your own marketing and see where you can make improvements.

Let’s sum it up first by saying it could be better. Here’s why:

the shack ad

  1. It’s tiny. When you’re paying for ad space, and you have some real-estate, use it!
  2. The color scheme. Okay, I get it, RadioShack has changed its name to The Shack, but wasn’t there a team of designers who worked on the new brand? Who chose this green to go with this blue? Notice how the word “SHACK” blends into the green and vibrates against it at the same time. Oh, and although the purple fits with a cool color scheme, it’s not working here.
  3. The button. Oh! The button. They want me to work and move my mouse over that little piece of real estate with the small type for the vague promise of “more savings”? They haven’t shown me any opportunities for savings yet. I’m confused.
  4. The picture of the add-sheet. Wow… thanks, really. I can now see how you’ve proven yourself as the company that has “great connections” and “brings it all together”.
  5. Lack of Contact. If for some reason I wanted to know more, how would I get that information? Where could I go? At least there should be a website link listed at the bottom or something.
  6. Shadow & Glow. Where is the light source for this design? There’s a shadow on the word “SHACK” but not on the others. Notice too there is a dark glow all the way around the add sheet image. This totally goes against the more desirable effect of the image appearing tucked behind the bottom blue part of the space.

Okay, so we’ve already looked at this ad for longer than the average person would if they were just flipping through a newspaper, magazine, or watching a commercial online or tv. …Can you tell me what they are advertising? Was there a special sale, product or service they wanted you to know about? Have you gained anything as the audience that was of any value? That’s right folks, they wasted your time! There’s not a clear message. Sure, you see two sentences: “The Shack brings it all together.” & “The Shack has great connections.” But what do those even mean?! … more on this later.

So, enough of the sarcastic commentary about what is wrong with this ad. Let’s talk about a few things it does have going for it and how those could be used to build a well designed advertisement.

Heiarchy: They have a decent balance spacially. The main content takes up a little over 2/3 of the space and the difference in type size and weight helps the view know what to read first.

Call to action: They are asking you to do something, in this case to view other savings offers.

Identity: Even after bashing a bit on the color scheme, I must admit that they consistent if nothing else. Clearly these colors are the look of the re-branded RadioShack. They also kept with the blocky-bold type for the new logo. I am wondering if the old RadioShack logo should be on there at all.

Dimension: On a flat space (like online and in print), people would much rather look at something that is more life-like than not. Here they at least tried to create some dimension using a layering effect and a gradient to make a rounded-looking button, even though it was not successful.

This ad could have been 100% better if one thing would have been considered: a message.

Messages are actually the second step though. Before a message, there was a goal. There are lots of different goals like informing the target audience of a sale or special, new products or services, awards or other business credentials or simply be creating public awareness. This goal is what leads to a message and with some careful decision-making, a well designed advertisement placed in the most effective place in the most effective medium.

Whenever one is designing an advertisement, a message should always be clear and supported by all aspects of the design. A message gives a design a purpose. Excellent and successful designers consider how type, color, composition, imagery, space, size, position, and text support and convey the message. So please appreciate your designers and work with them to develop successful branding and marketing so your company can be utilizing its resources to their full potential.

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