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Monday, March 03, 2008

Flooring Advertisements – Guest Post by Mark Rollings

I was recently reading Ms. Whittemore’s excellent series of posts about flooring displays when I had to send her an email and ask her if she ever noticed how advertising in flooring publications sometimes leaves you wondering about their effectiveness as well. Well one thing led to another and she allowed me the honor of guest posting about the topic on her fantastic flooring blog.

[Copy on this ad reads: innovation, design, technology, diversity]

I suppose, before I continue, I should introduce myself. My name is Mark Rollings and I have recently tried my hand at starting a niche flooring retail shop online. Our company is called Rubber Flooring, Inc and we focus on providing customers with quality rubber flooring for use in weight rooms and gyms in both a rolled rubber and interlocking tile format.

Well, enough about me.

After reading the flooring display challenge in which C.B. talked about the effectiveness of flooring displays, it came to mind that many times I find that flooring advertisements in our industry publications seem less effective to me than they could be. Now, I am not claiming to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination however after working in the flooring industry for a number of years, I know what I feel works on me to get me interested in checking out a product.

I've picked examples to make my point. With all of these examples, I have edited out company names.

This ad above for a tile company had a small company logo at the bottom. Look at the image and read the copy. Do you have any idea what the company is selling? When I am paging through a publication, to get me to stop and actually pay attention to an ad, you need to have something catchy first and foremost. I suppose one could argue the stark colors and simple design might grab a person’s attention. To me it seems like if you are going to have an ad, shouldn’t you at least show a picture of your product so people know what you are selling?

Here is another example I find interesting.

Many industry experts will probably remember this ad as it does grab your attention. What I like about this ad besides the attention grabber is that it has a picture of what they are trying to sell at least.

Where I thought it could have been done a little better is to make the product picture a little bigger since it is still not easy to figure out exactly what is being sold unless you take the time to read all the fine print. I for one rarely read the fine print and if I do, I like to read short quick hitting phrases that look more like bullet points.

The next two examples of interesting ads I noticed were two page ads that I am sure cost a pretty penny.

At first glance, this article is definitely an attention grabber. The text at the bottom also highlights how women make most of the flooring decisions and the hole on the second page was filled with a large purse with the company’s logo on it.

[The copy reads: The power of the purse. You probably know intuitively that the typical laminate flooring consumer is a woman. More specifically, she is a woman in her mid to late 30s. Married with children. And pets. Works outside the home and 30% of the time - out earns her husband. She makes 88% of all household purchase decisions, writes 80% of all checks and believes in a balance between quality and value. Always does her homework before she buys... and expects respect. Why sell her anything less than the best?]

I actually like this ad since it grabs your attention in a big way. The only thing I do not care for is that what they are actually selling, laminate flooring, is mentioned just once in the text. That leads me to question what the actual purpose of this flooring advertisement is. Is it just to build and reinforce the brand? Is it to target decision makers in the industry who are women and let them know you understand them in what is all too often considered a “Man’s world?”

I for one do not know the answers to these questions, but I do know it made me think. However, if I didn’t know what the company made or had no prior knowledge of what products they offered, I probably wouldn’t go and look them up just to see their laminate flooring line. Maybe that’s because I am a man or maybe it is also because that is just my own personal thought process and experience with this particular floor ad.

Now this last little marketing blurb has been saved until the end for a reason. Once again it is a two page ad so it cost a lot of money. Take a look.

All it says is, “It’s Coming. Can you see it?” Then it shows the date it should be coming I am assuming and says circle the information number on the card. Now maybe it’s just me and this went completely over my head, but I still have no idea which company paid for this. I have never once asked for info on the information cards that come with the publication much less actually sent the card in either. So basically they paid all this money and I simply have no idea what company this is except that they must sell wood flooring. Now let me ask you, is that a good ad?


Thank you, Mark, for these great examples!

My reactions: Visually, the most interesting is the first. Intellectually, I really like the copy in the third ad - I'm just not sure how it and the visual tie into the product/brand choice. The second one [re: the right accessories] makes me focus more on the piercings than on the product discussion , and the last is a massive turnoff looking more like an obituary than a product introduction.

Do these ads invite readers to visit a website to find out more? We know the fourth doesn't. It simply directs the reader to a response card, a rather slow and passive form of lead followup.

What is your reaction to these ads? Do they strike you as effective? Do they generate conversation and curiosity around the brand? Do they encourage a next step in the decision-making process?

Note: You can read more from Mark at Floor Talk! where he contributed Recycled Rubber Flooring – Helping used tires find a new beautiful home.

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