Ways to make your illustrations work for their living
1 - The subject of your illustration is all important. If you don’t have a remarkable idea for it, not even a great photographer can save you. 2 - The kind of photographs which work hardest are those which arouse the reader’s curiosity. He glances at the photograph and says to himself, ‘What goes on here?’ Then he reads your copy to find out. Harold Rudolph called this magic element ‘Story Appeal,’ and demonstrated that the more of it you inject into your photographs, the more people look at your advertisements. 3 - When you don’t have a story to tell, it is often a good thing to make your package the subject of your illustration. 4 - It pays to illustrate the end-result of using your product. Before-and-after photographs seem to fascinate readers. In a study of 70 campaigns whose sales results were known, Gallup did not find a single before-and-after campaign that did not increase sales. 5 - When I arrived on Madison Avenue, most advertisements were illustrated with drawings. Then it was found that photographs attracted more readers, were more believable, and better remembered. When I took over the ‘Come to Britain’ advertising, I substituted photographs for the drawings which the previous agency had used. Readership tripled, and so did tourism to Britain. Direct-response advertisers find that photographs pull more coupons than drawings, and department stores find that they sell more merchandise. 6 - The use of characters known to people who see your television commercials boosts the recall of your print advertisements. 7 - Keep your illustrations as simple as possible, with the focus of interest on one person. Crowd scenes don’t pull. 8 - Don’t show human faces enlarged bigger than life size. They seem to repel readers. 9 - Historical subjects bore the majority of readers. 10 - Do not assume that subjects which interest you will necessarily interest consumers. Being a former chef, I assumed that everyone found chefs interesting – until I used them in an advertisement. I got miserable readership among the housewives who were the target audience. A friend at Campbell’s Soup told me that he too had observed that housewives were turned off by chefs. 11 - My brother Francis once asked a Cockney editor of the Daily Mirror (London) what kind of photographs most interested his readers. He answered, ‘Babies with an ’eart-throb, animals with an ‘eart-throb, and what you might call sex.’ This is still true today. 12 - When I worked for Dr. Gallup, I noticed that moviegoers were more interested in actors of their own sex than actors of the opposite sex. People want to see movie stars with whom they can identify. The same force is at work in advertisements. When you use a photograph of a woman, men ignore your advertisement.