We were looking through some of our best print ads for our newspaper clients last year. We were surprised by how many had a focus on community service and immediately thought, "we have a blog post!"
Just as people are more inclined to purchase from companies they get to know better on social media and relate to, they are more likely to view companies positively that demonstrate their volunteer and charity programs in advertising. That is, if they do it effectively.
There are three secrets to highlighting good works and doing it well:
- Create a strong headline.
- Feature images of people.
- Make ads about giving back (rather than touting product features and other sales pitches).
For example, this ad for Service King lures in the viewer with the headline: "Looking Out for You . . . on the Road and in the Community." It ties in well with the company's business, which is performing collision repairs. This effectively turns around a common distrust of car repair services. I'd be more inclined to trust a service that invests in causes I care about.
This Macy's ad also uses the headline effectively. It's clever to tie in fashion with giving and they certainly have an impressive list of programs they support. The use of people images is even better here because you see faces and emotions are evoked: family, cooperation and the satisfaction of doing something for others.
In this ING ad, you really notice all of the photos of people, especially children. There is no discussion of what the company does. Instead, the organization is identified by the logo at the bottom and the large lion symbol repeated in a tint in the background. This company gets it right that an ad about community service is not the place to talk about the benefits of your services, make special offers like price reductions or list out new products. As good as the Macy's ad is about using images, this one is even more powerful. Why? Photos of kids tend to be better at drawing attention!
Using a slightly different angle, here EOG Resources stresses how its employees give back through donations of money and time. The company matches their contributions dollar-for-dollar. Again, you see here a strong headline, people images (a kid too) and a complete lack of information on the organization.
Conoco Phillips is trying to inspire viewers to participate by showing happy volunteers wearing the company's t-shirts. It provides a range of projects with which one could get involved and the suggestion is that employees are already dedicated to these causes, aside from the ones specifically indicated in the last section. "The rewards are immeasurable" for volunteering but there is clearly a reward for Conoco Phillips: positive buzz about its dedication to giving back.
The use of the hands in the ad below implies caring and the copy does a great job of illustrating that this is not just a big company. Rather it is a group of people living in the communities that is serves. The same message is repeated again at the bottom continuing the orange and blue theme. It is well-designed because, if you get nothing else, you catch the headline and the logo--mission accomplished.
Rather than focus on contributions and spending for community projects, Newfield focuses on volunteering. The ad features appropriate images of people and projects, suggesting action. The "pyramid" of people at the top conveys energy, cooperation and diversity.
Now you have the recipe for a great, effective ad so you can talk about your company's focus on the community and generate good will among current and potential customers.