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Making Off the Page Advertising Work for You – Creativity

Paul Hendrick, DJH's Creative Director

Paul Hendrick, Creative Director

Off the Page advertising (OTP) has been getting the phone lines buzzing and coupons flying for cataloguers for years. Now we can add in online checkouts “ringing”. But how can this be, surely press circulations have declined and everything and everyone is moving online.

Well a browse through the press circulation figures and a flick through the Saturday and Sunday press might tell you otherwise. You‘ll see circulations still in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, and you’ll see major players advertising week in week out in a raft of titles.

So what are the creative imperatives in this specialist form of advertising? How do you maximise the potential through creative off the page advertising?

Fife Country Off the page Advertising Campaign

Off The Page Advertising Drives Response

A Modern Take on Off the Page

Historically off the page advertisements were famous for using every inch of space and 10 different fonts in every advert. This creative approach has calmed down somewhat, but every inch of your advert is valuable real estate, so use it wisely.

First, you need a strong headline to attract attention and clearly establish what your product is. Off the Page Advertising headlines needn’t be short, and they shouldn’t be clever puns. They need to be direct.

You also need to hone your offer. We recommend focusing on just one product: sell the dress, not the dress and the handbag. You can easily leave customers confused so you need to keep the explanation and product description clear and concise. Ensure you “get the deal” at a glance.

Sell the benefits: “10 Freshly Baked Pies delivered to your door for just £25”. Your copy should create interest and desire using the benefits and list the features of the product in detail. What is the fabric? How many pies do I get and what flavours? It is vital not to leave readers with any questions. If they are left in doubt, they will not respond.

Real Pie off the page advertisement

Off the Page Advertising can be dramatic and Sell Product too

The image in the advert should be clear and create drama, drawing in the prospect. If it’s a fashion shot with a model, make sure the model is looking to camera and smiling. (People look at smiles more than at moody mug shots!).

If it is a product shot give it a dramatic angle and try to provide a sense of scale. If your product needs demonstration show inset shots to help explain its benefits.

You are a response advertiser so don’t be scared to use a prominent call for action: “Order Now”, “Buy today”. Give readers the option to order by web, by phone and by post. Not all off the page ads use coupons now, but it is a strong call for action in itself and it immediately demonstrates that you are expecting consumers to purchase. If it is an older audience we would definitely recommend including a coupon. If you are not certain, test it.

Don’t forget to include your guarantee, it is required by law, so state it clearly, make it a positive. Remember you are asking consumers to send their money off into the ether based on trust. A guarantee and/or free returns is a great reassurance.

Off the Page at a Profit
These are a few quite specific points. You need to bring these together to ensure the advertisement works as a whole. Then with your well designed, responsive creative, add in cost effective media buying and your off the page campaign will fly,  recruiting new buyers at a profit and building your response brand into the bargain.

email me if you’d like to discuss a project:



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