The Power of 26 – A Return to Form

This is a wonderfully refreshing Homecoming. Whenever you may see this, thank you for coming back.  I know I haven’t written in a while, but heck, neither has Shakespeare, and we were in grade school together.

Truly this is a wonderful in and out platform and I’m grateful for the exposure and the flexibility to chime in when I can, or not. It’s about 16 months since we said hello. I’ve missed you. But I’ve kept busy. Other writings have been required. I am going to share these in sequence as they are among the best ‘Professional’ writings I believe I’ve composed.

Some followers know I am a Media guy. Planning and buying advertising space and time in newspapers, radio, on-line, TV, outdoor and elsewhere as needed. A professional shopper negotiating for best advertising value for all my clients.

Recently I composed a series of the Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising and How To Avoid Them.  These have come full circle. Starting as Ten bullet points, to becoming a series of Ten videos posted on YouTube, my website, Linked In, then audio on Soundcloud, and transcribed to text to be picked up by an OnLine industry magazine and now as full fledged articles from 800 to 1,800 words each.

Your kind indulgence, I shall begin posting these perhaps once or twice a week.

I truly discovered The POWER of 26 in this exercise. I hope you enjoy the style and content and as always you are welcome to share and refer. These were taken from my videos, so you may encounter references which reflect that.

Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising & How To Avoid Them
Text from Video #1 – Ad Testing & Tracking

Greetings and thanks very much for joining me today. This is Dennis Kelly of First Impressions Media.

I’m so delighted you could join me today. It strikes me that there are quite a number of opportunities out there for you to showcase your product or service using just about any form of media, and that’s fantastic. There’s, as you have probably discovered,
certainly no shortage of media players and opportunities. However, what I found the most powerful is utilizing all of those resources to their respective individual and then collective advantages.

Sometimes campaigns work wonderfully well using the more traditional radio, television, newspaper, magazine, maybe out of home advertising. More recently some advertisers have had some success with one or more of the social media platforms and that’s terrific. I think they should all be embraced and all form part of your media mix.

Please make no mistake that it should genuinely be a mix of media because you never know exactly which particular component is going to pull the trigger and get your target group to say…..That’s for me, that’s the product that I want!

Your service is exactly what I’m after. You want to make sure you give yourself every opportunity to be seen and to be heard to promote whatever it is, whatever service or product you have out there. You want to stand head and shoulders above the crowd, in front of as many of the right crowds as possible.

So, what I’d like to share with you starting today is a series of ten of the Top Ten Mistakes in Advertising that I’ve seen through these three decades of being a professional media planner and buyer, and share some secrets and some tips on how to avoid getting into those very same advertising challenges.

So we’re going to space this out as a series of 10, done one at a time, today being the intro will perhaps be a tad longer I do hope you will you will indulge me but let’s getstarted with Mistake Number One.

And you see ladies and gentlemen, the single biggest mistake I see repeated over and over and over again is the failure to Test and Measure your ads. All too often too many advertisers simply write a cheque for the ads in the newspaper, online, TV, radio, regardless of the media and simply hope for the best.

Many of you will attest, hope marketing really doesn’t pay an awful lot of bills.
You wouldn’t put your own product, tablelamps, lawnmowers, keyboards, post hole diggers, floor tiles, into the marketplace without putting them through an extensive battery of tests to see if they can live up to your standards.

You’re testing the ad that sells the product and, unfortunately, maybe you’ve encountered this yourself, or you know friends of a friend of a friend who had this happen to them.But they put all of their muscle into one media without finding out how effective it could be on a smaller scale and all they heard was crickets. That’s a devastating sound when you’re in advertising, so here’s what I want you to do.

Here is how you fix this: To identify each and every ad you place in any and all media.  What? Dennis, identify everything? Absolutely!

You see, what you want to do is see how well every single piece of creative is performing in each magazine, website, leaderboard, big box, outdoor ad, in every radio commercial. You should have, an identifier, a tag of any description that’s exclusive to that ad so you can go back and say we invested X number of dollars in this media and it brought us two returns, five returns, a thousand returns, whatever.

The performance helps you to know exactly how well that worked. What it does is it helps you on the future campaigns by identifying for you what has been your best performer. It challenges you to come up with even better ads, better media mixes, better dollar spending, because now you know what’s performing.

Dear readers this is not new. Nor is it rocket science. But it takes time and energy
and patience which is, unfortunately, a little bit lacking in too many arenas. So when you’re preparing your ads make sure that all of that creative excellence that’s been developed has a chance to be evaluated and measured. You want to go back and track it so you can see how engaged your audiences are, how many times did they purchase the product, how many times did they go to the website, how many times that they raised their hand to say,
More. Hey I’m over here. I really like what you’re selling.
Show me more, tell me more. Give me some more information.

That’s what you want to deliver. So code your ad with the coupon exclusive to that campaign or magazine. Create a different URL or even a 1-800 number that can be tracked and monitored for every single ad.

You want to see how each ad is doing. Then, only then can you tell if it’s
working and giving you a return on the investment.

If it sounds like an awful lot of work, well you’re right. Yes. You’re right, it is. But you are setting a template that will help you refine every ad moving forward. And if you get it right, right out of the gate, then kudos to you and Congratulations.

But in the majority there’s going to be some refinement, some improvements, some
opportunity to tweak subsequent ads that says we, we know we’ve got to improve this line or this copy.

There is a famous advertising gentleman by the name of John Caples who was an aggressive and prolific advertising tester, way before the Internet came onboard.
He discovered that through all of his testing, one ad, by changing the headline performed 19 and 1/2 times better than every other ad that he had produced.

Same product, same newspaper, same service, same price point, all he did was change the headline and by changing multiple times he found one that struck gold.
You want a good return? Two times, three times better? Try nineteen and a half times better! That’s the difference that testing delivers.
Please remember when you’re testing there is no failure, there’s only results.

So here’s the strategy you might like, to give yourself a better return on investment.
One enterprising client in my history treated it this way. Because he came from a financial background each ad to him was considered different mutual fund in his portfolio and he named them before they went into the media. Now, because they were coded in names he liked, he was able to remember them but he was able to soon see how well each of his investments, as he put it, was performing. He would put more money against the ads which were performing, and changed any ads which were underperforming to a new one, to keep testing. To make sure of any money coming in he watched very carefully all of the money that was going out.

So my message to you for tip number one is to Track Every Single Ad you prepare.
It’s the only way to accurately measure what’s working.

Thank you I look forward to you seeing you on video number two.

You can view Video # One at these links:

Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising & How To Avoid Them



Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising and How To Avoid Them – Video # 1 of 10



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Thank you. It feels amazing to be back here again.  Be well.


Dennis Kelly
First Impressions Media

Ph & Fax: 905-427-3819



The Power of 26 – Words Are Immortal

Will you live forever?

The craftsmen who spin 26 letters, in every language, have made their presence
felt in life and from the beyond.

Thousands, indeed hundreds of thousands have come and gone before us and
their legacy is the messages they have left for successors to follow and enjoy,
or learn from.

In one of the most powerful and best remembered speeches of his distinguished Presidency,
Mr. Abraham Lincoln galvanized a new nation with his historic Gettysburg Address.
Delivered at the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg on November 19th, 1863,
President Lincoln’s speech opened with the now iconic ‘ Four score and seven years ago ……..

His delivery of his ‘remarks’ took three minutes, to a crowd of over 15,000 attendees.

Incredibly his speech was a mere 272 words, in three paragraphs.

His words, so thoughtful, powerful, and polished resonated so deeply with the audience,
that he was interrupted five times for applause during his speech.

In a truly ironic note, Mr. Lincoln crafted a line which stands the test of time where he says

‘The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here….’

At this writing, 2013, it will mark 150 years since Mr. Lincoln delivered this masterpiece
of dedication and inspiration. Will any of your writings survive seven or eight generations
and live on in perpetuity?

In no particular order, a few other well chosen words have lived on, including:

‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’-
Mr. Armstrong- July 1969 -Moon Landing

‘ Free At Last, Free At Last- Thank God Almighty, We are Free at Last.’-
August 28th, 1963 – Dr, Martin Luther King Jr.- I Have A Dream speech.

‘In The Beginning Was the Word.’ The Gospel of John, Opening line of Chapter 1. Verse 1

I present these as reminders, and touchstones that those 26 letters have infinite power.
Guided by the talents, musings and expertise of the storyteller on the other end of the
pen, your words can catapult your ideas beyond space and time.

Or they may simply languish in sloppy correspondence if you treat them with disdain.
A practice we witness all to often it appears.

My good fortune in my role of ad placement has allowed me to witness early stages,
and final delivery of some excellent ads and ideas. Sadly, some less glamorous efforts
as well. Ads best remembered speak volumes, without that much writing.

Where to use your words?Whether you choose to advertise on Radio. In Newspapers.
Perhaps On-line sites. On Television. In Outdoor media. Through Magazines, it all
comes back to those same letters of the alphabet.

I have little to do with the composition of the ads you see. But I have everything to
do with you being able to see it.
Thus it is in my interests to know what’s being written. It helps having a sense of
creative direction so media recommendations can best showcase the creative.

Choose your words carefully. In sales. In affection. Select them well.
As we see from Mr. Lincoln and others, you may live forever with the Power of 26.

Dennis Kelly


The Power of 26

August 1st, 2013 ….our Blogging Baptism

Welcome to The Spike of Angels

Today we enjoy unprecedented Media Options.

Communication methodologies which would have astounded our grandparents and even our parents is today, incredibly commonplace. Technology now allows us profile around the globe within heartbeats.

We can send and receive pictures of family and friends faster than it takes to dial a rotary phone ( I hope some readers remember what those are!).

There is no longer any question about media changing. It evolves as we demand it to.

The most startling revolution is how we consume it.  The digital age has ushered in unparalleled options. You never have to leave your home or office and yet still see the world on your desk, laptop, handheld device wherever and whenever you wish.

How extraordinary we have morphed, evolved, and transformed to become a 24/7 global community with an expectation of instant service and responses simply because we can.

Recently an important message was being relayed to me from Texas, USA to Toronto, Canada.  The sender had no sooner hit send when the message appeared on my computer screen.  And in the heartbeats it took for her message to travel over 1,580 miles (or 2,500 kilometres), she stayed on the phone with me as part of her job. Thankfully customer service was not lost simply because of the immediacy of the Internet.

However more capable we have become at sending and receiving information, we still need and crave and cling to those opportunities which make us feel connected to other people.  Human contact never goes out of style. Thankfully.

Double Edged Sword?

The Internet has been deemed a panacea for a multitude of ills it seems.

While it undeniably creates more contacts, connections, likes, tweets, recommends, and friends, it simultaneously makes us grow more and more distant.

As a communications vehicle, it opened, and continues to open, new dimensions of linking and targeting which no other media, or multiple media could hope to replicate.

In the same breath it brings new challenges of policing and marketing that were never imagined decades ago.

The blinding speed at which we communicate is impressive on the low end and mind boggling on the other end of the spectrum. Text and data, graphics and pictures are literally available with a click.

Yet for all this accelerated delivery of our messages, I implore you – do not lose sight that it all comes back to the Power of 26.

The fundamental ABC’s which became A to Z remain the cornerstone of this and every other message. All the joy, sorrow, compassion, exuberance that we send to family and friends. All the overtures and offers and pitches we make to coworkers, clients, old clients, new clients, prospective clients and countless unknown eyes, they will learn your thoughts by reading your words.

Choose your words with great care. They are the deliverer of your thoughts. The means by which we comfort a loved one. Rile an employer. Sustain your friendships. Win you new business. Maybe lose you existing business. Spark rivalries and initiate wars. And they can deliver healing and be peacemakers.

My role as a media planner and buyer is all the more enhanced by the diverse sales pitches which cross my radar. Some so exquisite and well crafted, the writer could sell ice to Eskimos. Others for equally compelling opportunities, fall flat because the salesmanship is limp.

Therein is the muscle in your messages.  You want your reader to immediately see the benefits they’ll enjoy by using your media.

Then say that. Creatively. Deliver it with impact and panache.

You want to sell. Maybe I want to buy. Whichever media you choose to deliver that message to me – newspapers, radio, television, outdoor, on-line, direct mail- you still come back to the same starting line of 26 letters.

Those same 26 letters are available to everyone.  Squeeze every ounce of salesmanship out of each word you choose. Everyone loves a good story. Become a good storyteller. Regardless of the media you choose, remember, it all starts with the Power of 26.

Dennis Kelly