I spotted this ad on the SkyTrain today. I’m not trying to pick on BC Mental Health & Addiction Services–they do good work. However, I thought there was a simple marketing lesson here:
That’s a pretty long web address. Experience teaches us that anything–poor layout, a difficult-to-read font or a forgettable URL–can present a barrier to ‘customers’ taking action. This is probably more true for people who might be reluctant to admit that they might need treatment for a gambling problem. If you’re such a person, then you may not want to stand under the ad, jotting down the URL, surrounded by other SkyTrain riders. When I snapped the above photo, my travel companion joked “great, now everybody thinks you’re a gambling addict”.
The lesson: if you’ve gone to the trouble of organizing the program, creating the page, writing the ad copy, designing the ad and buying the space on public transit, then it’s worth spending the extra $100 (the cost of a new domain plus an hour of some IT guy’s time to redirect the URL) to register a short, memorable URL. DoYouGamble.ca, for example, is available.
This sort of oversight is very common, particularly inside large organizations. It stems, I suspect, from viewing the ad as a problem to solve instead of a communications opportunity. Instead of asking “how can I produce an ad?”, the creator should have asked “how can I most effectively recruit people for this program?”
On an unrelated note: surely TransLink must offer government agencies, charities and non-profits a deep discount for advertising on public transit, because their ads seem disproportionally prevalent there.