Max Sackheim And The Power Of Action Photos

Many years ago the famous adman Max Sackheim ran an ad to capture clients called "Seven Deadly Advertising Mistakes".

Deadly Advertising Mistake Number 3 was:
Using Pictures That Do Not Talk.

Max Sackheim writes:

Twisting the old Chinese adage "10 words are worth a thousand pictures...if they're the right words and the wrong pictures!"

Unless an illustration is self explanatory or gives meaning to words it shouldn't be used.

If a picture doesn't tell a story itself or doesn't complete the story told by the headline it isn't the right picture.

To use illustrations merely because "an ad ought to have a picture in it" is one of the greatest of all advertising fallacies.

Illustrations are most quickly read. Therefore they must be right and therefore it is better to use no picture than to use the wrong one.

If a photograph or drawing doesn't tell a story it may make the entire ad seem unimportant.

In plain words an "addy" illustration frequently destroys the desire to read.

It labels an ad just another ad.

It may be so attractive that it focuses attention on itself at the expense of the product advertised.

If an illustration meets the requirements of copy it's good.

Ask yourself "Is it news?"

Does it convey a promise?

Does it enlighten or entertain?

Is it closely related to the theme of the ad or is it "lugged in"?

Is it being used just because it's attractive or "cute" or to "arouse curiousity"?

A picture must do a job to earn its space value! There must be a valid reason for its use.

If an ad is "dry and uninteresting" without a picture there may be something wrong with the headline or the theme.

A picture should be a plus not a crutch!

Whenever an intelligent advertiser faces a crisis he really tries to do a selling job.

Fancy pictures are discarded. "Beautiful layouts" are thrown out.

He fights to sell.

Well isn't the problem of more sales critical to most companies?

Why not treat sales as a crisis?

We have no quarrel with art directors but they shouldn't be permitted to dominate advertising. Pictures and copy must fit.

If they are misfits they are costly and ineffective. Pictures must TALK.

In actual tests we have proved than even color advertising can be less effective than black and white...perhaps because color frequently emphasizes the addiness of an ad.

Deadly Advertising Mistake No. 3 is to permit a silent picture or inappropriate layout to be used.

Tell your story first, then use a picture that fits...or none.

Also read...
Action Photos Dramatically Increase Response

Kindest regards,
Andrew Cavanagh

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