Costly Advertising Error

Can you spot the costly advertising error?

There’s a missing ingredient in the food ad above – an advertising error that cost a lot of money. Can you spot it?

It’s one that might have been caused by haste.

Productivity and speed are the focus in a lot of businesses.  Producing more, faster, and in some cases, with fewer employees is often seen as the way to increase business profits. However, for advertising, focusing on speed and productivity can result in expensive errors like the one pictured above.

Now, the top, left corner of this two-page spread in a major Long-Island daily newspaper clearly states the days the items pictured will be on sale.  Fri-Tues Only 6/30 – 7/4.

So, what’s wrong with the ad? Where’s the error?

If you haven’t spotted it yet, the problem is that a shopper would need all of those days to drive to all the supermarkets in the area to find out who has these items for sale.  That’s because the “missing ingredient” is the name, logo, and location of the store. They don’t appear anywhere in the ad.

I checked the page before and after the two-page spread to be sure I wasn’t just seeing the center of a 4-page insert or something. And I wasn’t. The entire ad, with no store identity, ran on just those two pages.

While the absence of the store branding in the ad is the obvious missing ingredient, there was something else missing that caused that error: proofreading and attention to detail.

Apparently, no one proofread the ad, or if they did, they forgot to check that the store’s name, logo, and locations (if needed) were included. Or they proofread the ad in the graphic program. Then, perhaps, the graphic layer with the store branding got dropped out or lost somehow when the document was exported and uploaded to the newspaper.

There are probably other reasons the store’s identity could be missing from the ad, but the bottom line is that one or more people weren’t paying attention to details and no one double-checked the finalized document (after it was exported to PDF or some other format) before it was published. And that led to a very costly error.

To avoid wasted expenses like this in your business, remind your employees that attention to details is as important as speed and productivity.  And that taking the time to check their work once it’s finished is an important part of their job.

Related reading: Costly Quality Control Errors

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