One of the tenants of marketing is that it has to be trackable. If you can’t track it, then you can’t measure the results. If there aren’t any results you can’t improve your ads.

Now there are a lot of ways to track results in physical advertising. You can make an offer using a promo code. You can utilize a special url only for this campaign. Or you can use a dedicated number for people to text or call you.

We are bombarded by advertising today, and it’s shocking how much of it violates this basic tenant. Over the past few months I’ve seen this ad almost every day while taking the train to work.

The topic is serious. The children impacted by parents with a drinking problem will undoubtedly have problems in school and are more likely to develop their own drinking disorder. And since the ad isn’t trackable there is no way to know if this campaign is effective.

The image of the sad young boy is a compelling hook. It has certainly captured my attention. The overall stat of 7.5 million kids is sobering, but it is hard to relate to on a personal level. And even if it did, take a look at that url – rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov. Do you really think someone who has a drinking problem will remember two sub domains? I doubt it. Even if they did, good luck typing that out. It took me two tries to type get the url right…

This ad might grab attention. But there is little chance that the intended audience is visiting the page. And even if someone put in the work to type in that convoluted url how would the NIH know where the traffic originated? What’s more, the landing page is generic. When I land there it doesn’t talk to me at all about how my drinking could affect my family or my child. It just jumps into ways to quit.

I took a stab at retooling this ad to make it more relevant and trackable.


Now that stat is completely fabricated, but it sure does grab your attention. I’m sure the knowledgeable folks at NIH can spout off dozens of compelling stats that could serve as a hook. I liked their question, but I think they need a call to action with the link. I also modified the url to be a bit.ly link so that they could track inbound leads – and there is a shot someone will remember the url.

Trackable advertising can be measured, tested, and made to be more effective. For a topic as serious as alcohol abuse and the effect on children we have to do better.

How would you modify this ad?

Sean

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