Ad Copy & Making it Matter…

While perusing The Wall Street Journal, I came upon one of HP’s new “Make it matter” ads with the headline:

Twice the impact. Half the cost.

For some strange reason, I stopped to read it.  What caught my eye immediately was the use of footnotes (“fine print ahead!”).

The ad copy reads in bold: The HP Officejet Pro prints brilliant color at up to half the cost per page of laser printers.

Jump to the bottom of the page to read Footnote 1:  Majority of color laser prints <US$300 and color laser AiOs <US$600.  March 2012: for details see

[Note: And in case you aren’t familiar with the acronym, AiO stands for “all-in-one.”]

By the way, that link takes you to a product page for HP Officejet Pro and Officejet printers and all-in-ones.

Way up in the left corner is a link: “Why buy HP inkjet and LaserJet printers?

This takes you to purely HP propaganda. From what I can tell, there was no actual proof point for the claim in the ad.

Back to the primary ad copy…

A when a study shows that people are 80% more willing to read color messages, you can’t afford to be in black and white.

Footnote 2: Loyola University School of Business, Chicago, IL, June 1999.

That’s not a typo. This ad references a study from 13+ years ago.
What the…?

I’m guessing that HP was hoping people would just notice the printer and the logos of where to buy, and NOT stop to read. This is some of the saddest copy I’ve seen in an ad in a long time.

If HP wants to live up to its new tagline (Make it matter.), they might want to start with their ad copy.


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