How to Create Ads that Work

Date Published: 
May, 2006
Original Author: 
Tim Thompson
Mount Royal Commemorative Services, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Original Publication: 
ICFM Magazine, May 2006

Radio enables you to affordably target the demographic you want and get the frequency you need. Demographics are important. At Mount Royal, our demographic is very clear: Women 55-plus. We can select the radio stations in our city—as you can in your city—that will target this demographic.

What should you say in your ads?

1. Focus on the prospect. A good ad is about the consumer; a bad ad is about the advertiser. Make sure you keep the focus on the benefit of your product or service to the listener.

2. Emphasize your unique selling proposition. What makes your cemetery or funeral home different from the rest? At Mount Royal, we say in our commercials that we've made a commitment to educating Montrealers about the funeral and cemetery profession. We educate by sending out free information kits that are a little bit more than just a simple brochure.

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat. We continue to hammer home some basic messages. We have a simple slogan that we end all of our advertising with: Mount Royal Commemorative Services: Tradition, Trust and Tribute.

4. Add testimonials. Recently we did some television ads. Instead of us telling our story, we used customers who preplanned with us, were happy with their experience, and without having to pay them anything, were willing to come to the studio and be filmed for 30-second commercials talking about why they came to Mount Royal.

5. Provide a guarantee. I know some companies offer a 100 percent service guarantee on all their products and services.

6. Offer a premium. We have to be careful. We can't market like traditional marketers do in terms of offering premiums that sound a little bit hokey. In Canada, you've got to file your taxes by the end of April. In March, we ran an ad that said something like "There are only two things in life you can't avoid; death and taxes. At Mount Royal Commemorative Services we can help ease the burden. With every consultation with one of our preplanning counselors, we give you a free copy of Ufile." Ufile is the number one tax preparation program in Canada.

7. Set a deadline. Deadlines can be as simple as "this offer is available until……”

8. Tell them what to do. Often we'll say, "Get a pen and write down this address. Call us today for your free information kit with no obligation."


This article compiled from an address presented by the author at the 2006 ICFA Annual Convention