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If your ads were as bad as this you’d go broke in no time.

By / / In Best practice /
Drayton Bird - the most direct of direct marketers - deconstructs an advert from an investment company. Why was it so bad? Drayton explains in gruesome detail.
bad advertising

Why are financial firms so utterly, hopelessly, prodigiously, insanely keen on throwing money away?

Drayton Bird bad advert

My amateur photograph is not half as bad as their amateur advertising.

It’s very hard to get everything wrong in an advertisement.

But iShares by BlackRock – among the world’s leaders in their field – manage it flawlessly.

Their ineptitude inspires awe and something close to disbelief.

Why such ineptitude?

Two reasons.

First they have too much money swilling around to worry about pissing it away.

Second, nobody there thinks it worth investing in finding out what makes advertisements sell.

Here are some (but not all) the reasons this ad is a mess:

  • No Headline – Ads without headlines are “headless wonders” as David Ogilvy put it.
  • The headline makes you decide if you want to read on or not.
  • If you assumed the headline were the first line of this mess, it reads “As you transition to more.”
  • All the copy is in caps. This has been proven to make it very hard to read.
  • The words are black on a dark blue background – this also kills readership.
  • There are no paragraphs; unbroken wodges of type also hard to read.
  • No clear, easily understandable benefit, just a lot of waffle about what they do.
  • The words “Sustainable investing with clarity” – a weak promise if ever there was one – are scattered about to make them harder to grasp.

The whole thing is amateurish balderdash.

Yet I know two firms that do very well in the investment field because they understand how advertising works.

Hargreaves Lansdown who dominate the UK market are one.

I cannot resist pointing out they were clients of mine for quite some time and I recently did training for them. also do very well: their marketing director was trained by me.

But enough carping.

I have a suggestion for you.

If you haven’t had the time I’ve invested to learn what works and what doesn’t in advertising.

…and if as a result yours isn’t working as it should – drop me a line.

97.5% of our clients get the results they want.

And they get them because they insist on taking advantage of our guarantee – you get better results or you don’t pay a penny.

So get in touch, now –



P.S. If you’re wondering how I know what makes your copy easy to read, I’ll put up a video tomorrow that explains.

– Gain more insights like this by signing up to our fortnightly newsletter. –

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 

Drayton Bird
Author: Drayton Bird

Drayton has helped sell everything from Airbus planes to Peppa Pig. His book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, out in 17 languages, has been the UK’s best seller on the subject every year since 1982. He has also run his own businesses in the U.K., Portugal and Malaysia.

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