Well-crafted images reassure readers

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Ads with a high degree of craftsmanship send all the right signals about the advertiser. They convey a sense of prosperity, gravitas and leadership, subtly assuring the target reader that the advertiser can be a reliable partner. The art director's handiwork must suggest confidence without looking self-important, because successful ads are all about making the customer feel comfortable. We collected a handful of ads with a richness and keen design that should create a positive first impression of the advertiser. United Healthcare breaks through the clutter of a financial services publication with a distinctive-looking ad built around a leather desk set. There's the brown leather, spiral-bound notebook that you can practically smell. At the heart of the execution is a small-businessman who describes how his enterprise has grown from 12 to 23 employees. “We don't just want to grow, we want to grow healthy ... The conversation led to UnitedHealthcare. They use data and information to help individuals make more informed decisions that may lead to better health.” The headline “Grow Healthy” is stripped across the top edge of the notebook. Below are several calls to action: “Have a conversation. Get answers. Request a quote.” The art director masterfully guides the reader's eye through the execution so that the selling proposition is absorbed in a logical manner. It's one smart-looking ad. Liberty Mutual stops readers in their scanning of the pages with an almost antique-looking industrial scene. Amid the sepia tones of a factory floor is the four-color image of a woodworker beneath the headline “A minor renovation to the factory avoided a major operation on the employee.” The image and the headline are a compelling combination and all but force the reader to delve into the reverse-type text below: “When an employee from a large furniture manufacturer developed recurring wrist pain, our Workers Compensation experts teamed with his doctor to quickly assess the situation. We discovered that changing the layout of his workspace would avoid painful surgery and allow him to continue working while he healed.” Liberty Mutual does a superb job of presenting a problem and then stepping forward with a solution. It's all done against the improbably handsome backdrop of a furniture factory. BASF shares a message about its energy-efficient products by showcasing the image of a house seemingly built by an origami artist using bills of different currencies. It's a striking image that invites the audience to take a closer look. The colors are vivid and the copy is descriptive: “BASF's construction solutions and energy-efficient materials are more cost-effective than conventional insulating systems and materials, and have a much higher insulation capacity. So, thanks to products like Neopor and Elastopor, houses stay cooler in the summer and waste less energy.” The ad's unique image of the energy-efficient house, interesting color palate and thoughtful design combine to create an eye-catching execution for BASF. The final ad has a richness and breakthrough quality despite its almost monochromatic tone. Chase depicts a celebration in India with hardly a dash of color, as Amy Kelly, owner of PicFlips Flipbooks, delights her customers with a series of digital images that capture their special day. PicFlips is a latter-day version of an old-fashioned photo flipbook. The scene is exotic and intriguing, and draws the reader into the page. In the bottom right-hand corner is Chase's Ink business credit card, whose presence is explained in the text: “ ... So I need a business card that has the global acceptance of Ink. It's accepted at twice as many places worldwide as American Express. And the rewards I earn help me expand my business globally.”
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