A Tale of Six Ads Toronto

AD #1:

The ad below is a great example of a kick ass, attention grabbing poster. The headline immediately establishes what the ad’s about and speaks to people where they live. This ad will immediately grab and speak to anyone who’s interested in farming but doesn’t know where to start. And note the photo is also of young people. And then below the photo it says, ‘we can help you make a plan.’ Simple. Clear.

And, as you can see from the tear away pieces – this ad is working.

Ad #2:

Another example of a really clear headline. Could it be better? Maybe. But this is super clear and you know exactly what it’s about. I think this is great.

Ad #3:

So this ad is the same organization as Ad #1 – but notice the difference.

The poster started with a clear headling – this one starts with the organization name (which. if you don’t know it, is irrelevant) and then ‘Farmer’s Growing Farmers’. Suggestive, but not clear. If I were them I would have used the first headline. The first paragraph is also all about THEM instead of being about the person reading it. It’s important to notice how many times in a sales piece you say, ‘we’ vs. ‘you’.

This piece also uses a lot of big words. Let me suggest some simpler language (always write your ads to the Grade 7 level).

“new farmers who are pursuing sustainable, near-urban, direct-to-market farm enterprises”

could become . . .

“new farmers who want to set up a profitable and sustainable farm (right close to town so they can sell the food they grew to the city folk)”


“guide you through the process of planning your business with support from innovative and experienced farmers”

could become . . .

“walk you step by step through exactly what you need to do to make your farm makes you money and is fun to do (even if it can be hard work). To make sure you’re on track, we’re going to connect you with the smartest, most experienced farmers we know.”

You can read an example of a an Offer Makeover I did with a local backyard farming company in Guelph (and a few others) here . . .

But, I’m nitpicking. Over all, this is really clear.

Ad #4:

This one is interesting. It’s a great example of the power of having a Niche.

My nitpicking would be that they’re assuming that people know what TCM is. I wouldn’t assume that.

What they’re written is clear but I would tweak it to be a more compelling headline.

“If you’ve got Cancer but don’t want to go for chemo or surgery before exploring a more natural, holistic approach – read on . . .”

Introducing Canada’s first Traditional Chinese Medicine focused entirely on the treatment of Cancer.”

The testimonials are great. Overall, this ad kicks ass.

Where it falls down is that there’s no Pink Spoon. There’s no ‘free offer’ to get people to take the first step.

Ad #5:

This one has a few glaring issues. Which is sad because it sounds like a kick ass event.

Problem #1: So. Hard. To. Read. Notice how you have to struggle to read it. Don’t do this to people. Don’t make it hard.

Problem #2: What is it? It takes reading the whole thing to understand what’s going on. Don’t be vague with people. Be clear and direct.

“One event. Two days. Three floors.

Join us for this weekend exstravagnza showcasing the finest in Toronto’s health and arts community – under one roof.”

And then jump right into telling them what’s on which floor.

And let’s see a headline like,

“Are you passionate about the arts, health and local, organic good?”

Ad #6:

This one is classic. It’s behind glass. And it’s a brochure. All you can see is the name. Not even the address or website. This brochure gets them zero business.


If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.


Scroll to Top