The non-design design

Our Jeep-loving senior designer found these two ads on craigslist one week apart. They are from the same seller for the same vehicle. One is carefully laid out, well typeset, neat as a pin. The other is handmade, grubby, playful (“Girlfriend not included”). Question is, which one’s going to sell the Jeep?



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122 Responses to The non-design design

  1. Roy Bray says:

    This kind of Jeep is for people who want some FUN in their lives. The second ad definitely depicts fun more than the first. I would not be surprised that a clever designer did both ads.

  2. Tony Reidsma says:

    The “grubby” one will sell. Just my thoughts.

    Honestly, both could do the job; it depends on who sees the ad. If I was in the market I’d look at the grubby ad…. but I’m not in the market.

  3. Randy Pope says:

    I agree that the second ad depicts the lifestyle I perceive Jeep owners enjoy. I think the first ad is great but more appropriate for a sedan or luxury car, since that audience is more conservative.

  4. Joan Auclair says:

    The grubby one is not necessarily non-designed.

  5. Kat Cuthbertson says:

    I agree with Roy. The second/doodle ad seems to “match” the Jeep. It catches your eye and draws you in.

  6. Harley Orion says:

    I like the doodle version. Fun, energetic and attention-getting. I agree with Joan that the doodly one is not necessarily “not designed” — in fact, it probably took more effort than the plain-vanilla version.

  7. Erin says:

    As a Jeep owner myself, the 2nd one would sell me over the first. If you’re a Jeep/truck person, you’re a little ruff around around the edges . . . so a dirty, ruff ad will sell over a nicely laid out one. That’s my two cents :-)

  8. Brett Shand says:

    I don’t think these ads have a whole lot to do with the Jeep.

    Second-hand sales are person to person. If you have the basic information about the Jeep — “Yup, this is the kind of Jeep I’m looking for” —then what will draw is what kind of a person am I dealing with? The top one is person-neutral, but the bottom one gives me an idea of who the seller is, and it’s someone I think I might get on with and trust. Who knows, I might even make a new friend.

    The second one soothes my fears and suspicions, and I’ll go to him.

  9. Barbara Hamaker says:

    I agree that the grubby one has been carefully “designed” to be non-designed. Seems to me that $6,000 is an outrageous price for a 30-year-old jeep . . . jeez. Thanks for showing us these two — great lesson.

  10. Webeze says:

    The grungy version (if that’s what you’d call it) wins hands-down. Have seen this type of ad before, and it works well for the right audience.

  11. Rachel says:

    Grubby, hands down. Jeeps are for getting your hands dirty, or at least feeling like you do. Ad #1 looks like a medical specimen compared to Ad #2.

  12. NitroPress says:

    No question that an informal approach is the right one for some things. This wouldn’t sell a Cadillac or a BMW, but as so many have already said, the down-n-dirty attitude of Jeepers is well served by the friendly, informative and pleasantly “grubby” version.

    It’s all in knowing which tool to use for the job. This guy used the right tool — the second time around, at least.

  13. Diana Timmerman says:

    I agree the second ad sells to this audience better.

    The craigslist buyer is largely looking for sell-by-owner products. The second ad looks like a sell-by-owner ad. The other ad seems too clean and “designed” for sell-by-owner, and dealers are perceived to be not as trust-worthy as individuals.

  14. Carol Bromley Meeres says:

    The top one is indeed neat as a pin, but not particularly well-designed. Good design includes consideration of the target market and is careful about emphasizing the best features, which are neither the price nor the year. It looks like a template was used, whereas the bottom design looks more like a designer worked on it.

  15. Deborah Laux says:

    The “grubby” one, definitely — for both the person-to-person and the dealer ad. The top one is not good for any car. Cars are somewhat emotional, personal buys — like clothes. I see no personality in the top ad.

  16. On craigslist I’m going with the more sterile version, but only in comparing these two. I’d actually be more inclined to respond to a typical craigslist ad with a few photos and descriptive copy/specs when buying a vehicle.

    The “grubby” ad is much more fun and interesting and suggests the owner has more personality or at least a sense of wit, while the anal one gives the impression the owner is a bit tighter and more precise, and hopefully treats his vehicles the same way. That said, both seem to me to be over-designed and look like an owner trying too hard to sell something — leading to suspicion about the item and seller.

  17. Tim Brown says:

    Rule number one: Know your audience. The Buick audience might prefer the neat and tidy layout, but then, they’re looking for a Buick.

  18. Lucy Blakey says:

    Ad #2 is the winner. The full-size photo makes the Jeep look bigger, and it’s easier to see the options the callouts refer. The handwritten text has a fun-loving personality, and the “bold” fonts and exclamation points show what the owner is proud that the Jeep has going for it. And $6,000 isn’t outrageous for a 30-year-old vehicle if you’re into vintage wheels, which this ad targets. 83,000 miles? It’s practically new for a classic!

  19. George Campbell says:

    One of the other reasons the “grubby” version will sell, is because some of the features of the Jeep were translated to “copy surprise” benefits — and presented visually. “Outdoor reading and music room” and “Girlfriend not included,” tell the aspiring male owner the vehicle could not only be a nice place to sun, read, and enjoy music, but also be a way to attract the opposite sex. Makes me wonder what a nicely designed ad with similar copy callouts would have done.

  20. Louise, Too says:

    Hurray for the non-designer design. I agree that just because it looks “grubby” doesn’t mean it’s not designed. It’s about directing the product to the potential buyer. Knowing Jeep drivers as I do, YES, YES, #2 would probably work better! People who would fall for #1 are the same people who would buy a Hummer.

  21. flyerboy_uk says:

    Fantastic. Number Two for me . . . it’s excellent.

    Number one might be “designed,” but it’s bloody terrible.

    Number two has been thought about. I’d even go on to say . . . number two is the one that’s been designed . . . the first one has simply been “set” — no design has gone into that.

  22. Andrea says:

    The grubby adds says 83,000 miles, and the orderly layout says 84,000 miles . . . maybe the grubby ad didn’t work, so after another 1,000 miles the owner opted for the more serious, conservative approach the second time around?

  23. Not so sure having read all the comments. Both seem okay-ish but nothing to write home about. Really guys, do you think #2 is that good? I mean, what a mess. Maybe us European guys like car ads clean, nice, Volvo-like. I hate scribbles, so ad #1 works fine for me — change the fonts, please!

  24. ozEworks says:

    Depends on the target demographic.

    In terms of the one you expect us to say will sell, i.e. the second one, I find the yellow text hard to read, and there is too much of it.

    So it takes work to find out what is being sold. And we all know people hate putting in effort to understand anything.

    So while it might be the obvious design choice, that does not mean it will sell.

  25. dan kuss says:

    I’m a Jeep owner too. The second is also more in line with Jeep’s online campaigns. That said, if you know what you want, the vehicle of delivery is less important. You’ve searched for Jeeps in order to find the ad, so you are already in the yard, so to speak.

  26. Bruce Kelley says:

    Neither one will sell on craigslist — they will likely be flagged for breaking the spirit and rules of the site (use only limited html, simple text, small photos). But, the handmade one seems far more appropriate for the item (and is really cool, too!)

  27. Louise says:

    From a car buyer’s point of view trawling through craigslist — definitely the second one.

    The top one looks like a slick car salesman’s ad, while the bottom looks like a private seller with a sense of fun to match the vehicle.

    It does look messy and cluttered, but on the positive that grabs your attention. It looks friendly, and the arrows and comments are like he is “personally” pointing out the features.

    Do we get to find out which one did work?

  28. Betsy Ford says:

    You can do this on craigslist? In our town, craigslist is a text-only title and copy, and a few uploaded photos. THAT’s non-designed.

  29. Peter says:

    The 2nd ad works better not only because it feels more personal, it has new brakes; hey, that’s important in a Jeep. Seriously, it does fit the target audience better.

  30. Deirdre says:

    Grubby gets my vote! It communicates fun, energy, and weekend trips to the beach … and I’m the kind of person who does not go for “bounce” in my ride. The first ad says “just the facts” and is so not engaging. Also, the price jumps out first and is a total turnoff. In the second ad I see a great Jeep that’s in great condition that will turn heads every time I drive it. And I can own this classic beauty for a mere $6,000!

  31. Owen Arnold says:

    The “grubby” one certainly attracts the eye quicker and is playful, which suits the target audience and is more engaging to the viewer (I haven’t even bothered to read the small copy in the “neat as a pin” advert) .

  32. Christie says:

    I agree with the majority, the second is more in keeping with Jeep . . . However, I do wonder which ad would have less bargaining and would receive the higher price tag in the end. The first one, being more polished, appears to have less room for negotiation than the carefree spirit of the second, which makes me think I would try low balling!

  33. I wouldn’t buy from either ad. When I buy a car from a private seller, cleverness makes me suspicious. I know how easy it is for a design-oriented person to touch up a bad photo or even a bad paint job, so I’d rule this vehicle out from the beginning and choose from among the simply uploaded photos and form-entry text. In other words, the extended effort to sell this vehicle makes me suspect that it needs the hype, because others aren’t biting at the bait either.

  34. WingsDove says:

    The second, more informal ad is designed for a young fun-loving audience. Designing for your target audience always wins — with that audience. The second ad has a more emotional appeal and would go over with more potential customers than the first ad.

    The first ad would work better for an information-seeking buyer — a “just give me the facts” type. This attracts a different type of buyer.

    Studies have shown that more people are drawn to an ad that has emotional appeal than one that is strictly factual.

    Guess which type I am? :-)

  35. I like the grubby one, but I think, though, if the designer used on the grubby ad the lifted-photo look, like he did on the first ad, it would give it even more interest.

  36. Dee says:

    You’re all missing the point. Note the location and prominence of the price in each one.

  37. Good job on both ads, but it’s fun in the sun that calls to me. I’ve designed ads similar to both of these, and it all depends on the product and its intended audience. In this case I think ad #2 is best, because as others have said before me, it’s a fun, unconventional ad that appeals to a youthful, fun-loving group. The graphics are eye-catching, and the humor makes you want to read every line. B&A, can you tell us which ad drew the most response?

  38. Jeremy White says:

    Immediately I started reading the second one and skipped over the first.

    Would craigslist readers do the same? I’ve never used it before.

    If I’m buying a car, I’m not going to make a rash decision. I’d take the time to read both and find out which is the better bargain.

    Then again, my bet is that the second one got more views. People might even think it’s a better Jeep than the first ad. It’s the halo effect. The second ad makes the Jeep look sexier.

  39. Lesley Beattie says:

    The 2nd ad is fun, humorous, contemporary and a good fit to a young, student-type demographic, which I expect is the target market.

    The only thing I would question is the placing of the price.

    On the first ad the price is very prominent; even at a quick first glance, it is clear that the Jeep is for sale.

    On the 2nd ad the price is lost among the other text, and it’s not immediately obvious that the Jeep is for sale, which could be a problem depending on where the ad is being placed.

  40. After reading all the comments one thing is plain — there is no “right” answer. And I think that is exactly the point; you have a wide market, and what better way to reach both extremes of that market. The bottom line is that whoever is attracted to either of the designs and has the money and buys, then the campaign worked.

    I would like to see the “formal” B&A opinion.

  41. Bob Severn says:

    The “non-design” version. Why?
    1. NO ONE can resist callouts. You just have to read them.
    2. It contains more information, answers questions.
    3. It conveys more personality and confidence in the seller.

  42. Brad says:

    I think maybe too much value is being placed on an emotional connection for a site like craigslist. I’ll say #1, because you can read the specs quickly and place a call to the owner to find out more if you’re interested; if not, you scan it and move on. I’d rather not have to search around the ad trying to find out about the vehicle.

  43. Gary Graves says:

    I think the Grubby will sell. It is more interesting, moves your eye around the ad, and you can discover more interesting facts (like girlfriend not included).

  44. Steve Angers says:

    Since both appeared in short amount of time, my guess is that the neat, clean ad appeared first, with no sale. Then the more “fun approach” ad was next, which got more responses. Ironically, the Jeep looks way overpriced at six grand for a 1980 Jeep with high mileage.

  45. S. Marie says:

    I agree with several of the comments here. The second conveys fun-loving and a free spirit — what the Jeep is all about. However, both achieve what is necessary, selling the Jeep. I would imagine the designer did both, perhaps because one did not sell and created another.

  46. Michael says:

    The main thing that turns me off about the first ad is that the type size is so tiny it is almost unreadable. I think if the type were bigger, I’d take it more seriously. I agree the second ad is more fun-looking and cute, once you get into it, but in a page full of ads I’m not sure I’d take it seriously.

  47. jana says:

    I think the second one is great and probably will sell better. My only comment would be that it’s a bit too busy and cluttered; I would have gone for slightly different proportions of things.

  48. gazoo says:

    I’m an avid craigslist junkie — I’ve placed ads, and I’ve responded to them. The CL crew would definitely respond better to the grungy ad. It speaks to the CL audience.

    The top ad is too sterile and too generic. It’s something you’d expect in one of those slick, car-selling magazines. I would think that the cost to produce that slick ad was covered in the price of the car, so automatically, I’d think there was some padding.

  49. Farnaz F.E. says:

    I like the second one. It is catchy and more in tune with the Jeep audience.

    I also like how “info” points to the placement of the facts; it’s much more engaging and leaves no questions about “what is he talking about.”

  50. Former Serial Jeep Owner says:

    As a designer and a former serial Jeep owner, I can’t stand #2. To me it says, “I’m as careless with my Jeep as I am with my girlfriend’s identity on the internet.” Yeah, I know in Jeeps you go off-roading and rock crawling, but with ad #2 it says, “yeah, I could have bumped the pumpkin really hard, maybe even tipped her over, but it’s a Jeep, man!”

  51. sh says:

    It pays to advertise twice.

    Who is the target audience? Obviously not a first-buying teenager, but someone who was probably a teenager in the 80’s or a huge Jeep fan . . . otherwise why would the guy honestly be asking $6,000 for 30-year-old vehicle . . . so both ads work — the 1st ad also hits the same target audience of someone who is older and looking to re-live some great adventure they might have had in a Jeep in the 80s. I mean, who else but those two demographics would be willing to pay $6,000 for this vehicle?

  52. Carina M says:

    I have to say I like the idea of the grubby ad better, but not the execution. I think the text is a bit hard to read, and it does not bode well with some scanning the ads. There’s a clearer hierarchy of information in the first one. Jeep, price, kind of Jeep, features. The second ad is less clear on information. However, the emotional connection and callouts are fun; people might not take the time to read it if they can’t find, say, the price quickly. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s the first thing I’d look for if I were buying a vehicle.

  53. Goran Ekedahl says:

    #2 is different. That’s why “everyone” likes it. Imagine if every car ad would look like that!

  54. J. Arun says:

    The second one has a more personal and human feel than the first. It conveys that it’s a person and not some agency selling the Jeep. That’s the whole point of craigslist — the personal connection. The ad has a sense of genuineness, and the humor adds to it. The goal of clear communication is accomplished while also making the “connection” with the viewer.

    The first ad, despite the tilted photo, sticker price tag, and grid paper background, doesn’t really make the connection. The modern typeface makes it feel disconnected with the viewer. Yes, the design does communicate effectively, and the layout is professional, but the way a viewer “feels” looking at the first ad versus the second ad are two different feelings.

    The first one uses logic, not emotion. For Jeep lovers, emotion matters.

  55. Huzefa Tapia says:

    I honestly think the second ad will do the job better than the first.

    Firstly, I did not even notice the specifications written on the right-hand side, till I saw the second ad. The second ad is in your face and directly gives you all the details necessary.

    Secondly, it’s very much like an open-roof Jeep owner — crazy funky and hit by the sun all the time. It surely gives the picture.

    Thirdly, if one gives a closer look, the brightness and contrast done in the first ad make the Jeep and tyres look older than in the second and hence surely do get a minor repulsion in the mind of the buyer.

  56. I really like the grubby one, though I am not a Jeep buyer. But this one is full of life, and because the arguments are placed onto the image, I read them. On the clean ad, I didn’t even notice at first that there was text on the right side

  57. Widarto Adi says:

    #2 is carefully designed; the designer knows the target market insight and aspect, and it works very well in my opinion.

  58. David says:

    Whether number 2 narrows or homes in on its target audience is an open question, but what I do notice about number 2 is that it takes longer to read.

    Some of the comments send the mind off into flights of imagination and fancy — and that is surely rule #1 in good advertising.

    So if the reader sticks with it, he will have invested more time in ad number 2. And more investment in time and attention means the reader is more likely to buy.

    Whether number 2 sacrifices some details that number 1 has, I don’t know; I didn’t trawl through the comparison. If number 2 misses out killer information in its desire to give over an idea, then knock points off number 2.

  59. Kemal Zhang says:

    The second one looks so naive that people will trust the seller even if the price is too high.

  60. Jill says:

    The grubby one straight away caught my attention. The first one is boring for this type of vehicle; the 2nd one has a personality and makes the seller sound approachable and the car sound fun.

  61. Kieron says:

    The only thing the bottom ad has going for it is the price isn’t so in your face as ad No. 1.

  62. Jenn Falconer says:

    The 2nd or bottom ad is the most effective and would appeal to a “Jeep” audience. It is cleverly designed to look homemade, but includes all the information the top ad has but is more fun to read. It will sell the Jeep.

  63. Jim Scales says:

    WOW! Great thinking outside the box of symmetry

  64. Daniel C says:

    The grubby one will sell. Why? Because the tires are cleaner.

  65. The second one as it tells a story. And the potential customer is already sitting in the seat. Works for the same reasons cartoons work in math text books.

  66. Gina O says:

    Personally, I like the design of the top ad, but the 2nd ad is more suitable to the vehicle being sold and the type of market that would buy it. But then, it all depends on each individual viewer. I think they both work well, targeting two different types of people, tidy and grubby!

  67. serdar g. says:

    Definitely the second one! A Jeep is a funny car. So ad must be funny too.

  68. Cora B says:

    When placing an ad for any car or truck, you have to think of the age group or type of person you’re trying to sell to. If you have a classic car, I’d use the first ad. I’m trying to sell a vehicle you can have a lot of fun with; as a 1982 Jeep owner, I’d go with the second ad, because it fits most Jeep owners I know.

  69. Marietta Papaioannou says:

    The Jeep is second-hand, quite old (and not really cheap). The 2nd ad — that looks like a memo on a university information board — will “talk” to the right target group.

  70. Lori O says:

    I agree completely with Carina M. While I do think the second ad will sell better from craigslist — it’s fun, energetic and is in line with the “bulletin board” feel of the site — I think it would be even more successful if there was some hierarchy to the text. I don’t think a designer did this one for that reason. Perhaps a professional copywriter, though, since the copy is brilliant.

  71. Brian D says:

    I believe that both of these ads are like bait. The seller may have not been happy with the results they received from the first ad posted, so they chose new bait after rethinking the craigslist audience and recast. From a pure advertising perspective, I think the best ad would combine the playful elements of ad #2 to grab your attention with the facts of ad #1 for the serious buyer with $6,000.

  72. eric klosky says:

    No doubt, #2, but the photo should have been taken off road!

  73. Abhishek Thakur says:

    The first one. It is not necessarily true that fun-loving people like a crowded design. And definitely the purpose of the seller is just to sell, not to sell the product to fun-loving people. That motive doesn’t require the attention of any specific group. It is for everyone, so I think that the majority will like the first ad, because it is clean and well arranged.

  74. Pamela says:

    Most comments depicted the likes of the second ad because it’s fun and draws you, but the question is, “Would that ad make you buy the vehicle?” I currently am in the market for a new vehicle, and when I scan car ads, all I am interested in are the facts. My opinion is that the first ad clearly gives me all the information that I would need, and it also gives me a clear shot of the vehicle. The second ad, honestly, just gives me a headache.

  75. Gareth says:

    This is kind of a “Duh!”

  76. Kitschwheeler says:

    Neither ad would sell — the Jeep is too expensive. And price rules the sales wars, no matter how good or bad the advertising is. That said, I think #1 is hands-down the winner, because if you’re an average American looking for a used Jeep on craigslist, you want to see the price, some features and a picture, period.

  77. Peter McWade says:

    Well, since the ads are on, there is no telling which one would sell. I buy and sell all the time on the list, and I have seen every trick in the book. I’d think that the first, nice, clean look would sell, but since craigslist is more or less a very large garage sale, the second one may appeal to a larger crowd, and it may just sell the vehicle. I post photo albums for folks to see, and I always sell my goods. I might just try these tricks.

  78. Kitschwheeler says:

    I just noticed the too-personal information on ad #2 — “MY outdoor reading and music room.” Really? Yours? Keep the Jeep, then.

    When you sell a house, rule #1 is to take your personal mementos out. When you sell a vehicle, you should do the same. Otherwise, any potential buyer won’t be able to see themselves as the owner.

  79. Mike says:

    Price does not rule the sales war. Sales is about explaining value over price. The question is if either of these ads did that. If price is the end-all, then we as designers and copywriters are out of a job.

    The second one is fun to read; it will get passed around more and have a higher numbers of views. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the first one sold the Jeep, because of the reasons the former Jeep owner gave. The second ad, to a non-designer, will be looked at by other Jeep owners as careless. If I’m buying this jeep for $6,000, I don’t want careless; I want obsessive compulsive. If these were two different Jeeps and the first ad was priced higher, I’d be more likely to call on the first ad first.

  80. Vincent Pappler says:

    I think that the hardest concept for designers to understand is that clients and the public have different reasons and reactions to advertisements than designers do. The first one is too formal, to “designerly” (poor design at that). The second one may not be “clean,” but it’s whimsical, and that goes a long way in reaching people. It transcends designerly tendencies, including a bit of creative copy writing, which works with the layout to make it a success; it’s my choice for the better ad.

  81. TJ says:

    I agree with Marshall Hinsley and the Former Serial Jeep Owner.

    My initial gut feel was for #1 — more integrity.

  82. Del says:

    Both will sell the Jeep!

    The first one to some 45-55 yo wannabe young man, and . . .

    the second one to 18-25 yo “teenager” as his/her first car =)


  83. pia says:

    I looked online, and that seems to be the going price for Jeeps that age.

    I would buy from the top ad. I can find the info I need to compare things without a strain. The second looks over-designed.

    Could use some smaller photos of neat details or info about accidents or dents. As it has bought for the spare parts value.

  84. Indy says:

    Grubby one attracts attention, is jarring — is more successful, in my opinion, because it’s off the beaten track (hah, just like a Jeep perhaps!). An anal-retentive consumer should not be interested in Jeeps in the first place . . .

  85. George Breslau says:

    The 2nd ad shouts a story that arouses youthful fun. Reading the messages unfolds an adventure; the reader can imagine, feel and think how to get there. The 1st ad is expected and would appeal conventionally for the reader to use his own imagination. A smart, younger reader who notices both ads could use the 1st ad to show to a conservative parent who pays bills and pin the 2nd ad where he dreams.

  86. Mikey says:

    To me, the first one is selling the vehicle, and the second one is selling a lifestyle that a red Jeep would fit into. Like most other posters have said, it depends on what the buyer is looking for — a vehicle or a lifestyle.

  87. Ramona says:

    The 2nd one looks like a mess. But it is funny and points out exactly what you’ll get for $6K. The first, while laid out properly, is boring and generic.

    The 2nd, while breaking design rules, does what it’s supposed to . . . it grabs your interest for more than five seconds, it’s FUN (as its feel is that the seller is approachable/human), and it stays with you.

    I’ll sooner point out the 2nd ad to a friend than the first.

  88. glenda puhek says:

    Isn’t the main thing to get someone to stop long enough to actually read an ad? I’d read number 2 first, because along with all the other good comments people have noted, I also feel like it has a “personal” look . . . as though the seller really likes and knows the car.

  89. CadeRageous says:

    Considering the audience — though I don’t particularly like the style — I feel that the second option would be more effective. It’s crude but fun; it feels right on. I’m sure both ads would nicely sell the vehicle, but the first one may get fewer hagglers, if only because the audience that would view it might just be the sort that doesn’t need to.

  90. James says:

    I agree that the second one is more effective, especially if things had different weights. The only real problem with the “grunge” one is that it’s overwhelming. So much stuff going on that if I’m skimming through and have 10 other windows open with potential matches, it might just be too much.

    The spirit and tone and look are perfect, though. The information hierarchy (as I call it — guess other people do, too) could be more clear.

  91. Gord says:

    To the customer, sell the benefits not the price.

  92. Karen K says:

    I don’t need to repeat everyone’s comments. I read everything in the bottom ad but only the heading and price in the formal ad.

    I really wanted to comment that this was my favorite “Design Talk” item so far. I’m looking forward to more . . . thanks.

  93. Bob says:

    The second ad has callouts, so it is very easy to see the nifty features of this Jeep. If the first ad were made with callouts, it might be received as well, too.

  94. Laurel says:

    There’s no doubt that the second ad is more informal and fun, but I think it also is more attractive on a subconscious level. The outdoors depicted in the second ad is a lot wider and gives a sense of freedom that the first ad doesn’t. In fact, the first ad seems claustrophobic in comparison.

    The sun drawn in the corner of the second ad hints at all the fun in the sun the purchaser will have in this vehicle, and the copy reinforces that thought.

  95. Steve B says:

    Ad number 2 wins. Two reasons.

    1. There is a person in the car. Now it’s real. I can see myself in it. It’s actually drivable.

    2. Call-outs put the parts on the Jeep, not in a list. I have to swarm over the ad and spend time with the picture.

    Also, the price isn’t the important thing here; it’s the story. Three owners is a nice touch.

  96. Carey Head says:

    I completely agree with Brett’s observation that the second ad gives reassurance to the reader that is of much more value than the bullet list of features and benefits. Given the age-old use of classified ads for sinister — even homicidal — purposes, as a woman I am more likely to call the Jeep’s seller based upon the second ad and the appearance of a “girlfriend.”

  97. Hernando says:

    The second one may seem to have a lot of copy and perhaps be more of a challenge to read and to eke the necessary info out of, but the direct mail guys know that copy-heavy creative can generate lots of response. That’s why so many mailers are so copy-dense…

  98. Lin Teichman says:

    The “grubby” version is more fun to look at and appeals to the exact audience that this Jeep would sell to. Clean and tidy is for Bentleys, thank you.

  99. Jeffrey Holtzman says:

    If these are both online ads, the first one is actually harder to read. Type is too small.

    The second one works on two levels. Firstly, as being more appealing to someone looking for an old Jeep, and secondly, having the description next to the picture of the feature works well.

    I also noticed the tires got washed in the second photo, which doesn’t hurt either!

  100. Mark Haen says:

    I like the bottom, but take a close look at the girl. It’s negative to have her blacked out like that. I would leave her in or take her completely out. Looks like she got kidnapped!

  101. First off, a potential prospect will likely never see BOTH ads at the same time, so drawing comparisons is futile.

    To answer the question of which is the better solution, we have to look at them individually.

    Solution #1 is clean and easy to read. The year, make and model are clearly represented; the price is clearly stated and in a conspicuous place; the image is nice and large; and the features are clearly represented and easy to read. There is a “just enough” designing that has been done to create a little interest, but does not distract from the ultimate goal, which is to sell the Jeep.

    Solution #2, while it may show the personality of the current owner, and it may be clever, and Jeep lovers may associate with the “grubby,” irreverent approach . . . the fact is, it is hard to read, you have to hunt for the price, and the message is not really clear. Had the creator used a different color for the price or, say, a piece of duct tape with the price written on it, then we would have a clever device that appeals to the grubby ones and serves to call out the price.

    So, what is the goal? to sell the Jeep for $6000… or to make people looking for an old Jeep say “what a clever ad”?

    I think #1 is the ad that will win the sale, due to the information being easy to find. It does not make the potential buyer “work” to find the important information and does not distract from the ultimate goal of selling the Jeep by trying to be witty.

  102. Jodi Miller says:

    The second will sell the Jeep. It is designed — thoughtfully and perfectly for its target audience.

  103. I think the second crazy fun one appeals to the Jeep person and points out the items that are important to the Jeepers, girlfriend excluded, of course.

    Like the fun, carefree feel.

  104. Steve says:

    First one is boring! 2nd, a bit overdone, but, as already said several times, fits the “theme” of a Jeep.

    However, both photos are lousy. Too much DOF and Jeep should be angled so you see some of the front. And perhaps shooting down from a step ladder for a more interesting composition. Or, you certainly find a better location — sand dunes on Cape Cod??

  105. Debra says:

    The first ad looks like a dealership ad, the second looks homemade, and it has a sense of humor, which the other one lacks. I would definitely be drawn to the second one, because I feel that I could relate to the owner of the car. It draws me in to read all the little notes, whereas the one on top does not draw me in and looks boring.

  106. Cris says:

    I can’t help but read the details on the Jeep in the second ad — and it also is pretty seamless in “stitching” a reader into the ad by placing someone (which could be you, since the identity is blacked out) in the driver’s seat; it really defines what a Jeep is for. I think it’s effective in reaching what I would presume the audience for a Jeep would be.

  107. Glenn Kramer says:

    If the same seller left an ad for the same vehicle a week apart, then whichever ad he submitted first didn’t do its job selling the Jeep, and he tried the second approach. I think both are well-designed ads for different reasons. They just take a different approach.

  108. Wormy says:

    I would certainly be more attracted by the 2nd ad (with all the scribbles). It sends out humour, and it kind of adds personality. Would definitely appeal to a younger and adventurous audience.

    The 1st ad would suit better if you wanted to sell your Lexus. Seriously, the sterile, go-by-the-book rule doesn’t sell a Jeep of that price and condition.

  109. Jessica says:

    They’re both designed. The design style of the second would be described as “grunge.”

    You don’t need a computer to make a good design. You can use cut up magazines and still create an effective ad that sells.

  110. Kathryn says:

    Number two without a doubt: not only is it a careful design, but it uses some very subtle principles. One example is that the features list grabs the target audience one item at a time instead of being a block of facts too easily skimmed; each feature will pull according to the potential buyer’s priorities, and every feature will been noted in that order. Very nice job.

  111. sandra Rodriguez says:

    I think both are good . . . depending on who’s buying . . . and I also think both were designed by a clever designer . . . .

  112. Neither one of these ads to me is particularly well designed, although, as they are displayed, the second one is the only one that has the potential to be effective.

    In the case of the “neat” one, the text is too small to read in the size that it is displayed. I think that most of us are drawn to the “grubby” one simply because it is legible. Now, like most designers, I hate it when a client tells me to “make the text bigger,” and we certainly don’t want this to look like a children’s book; however, the first ad definitely fails when it comes to legibility.

    There’s a fine line between function and art and it’s called ‘design.’

  113. da5id says:

    Whoa, too many comments to read.

    I like the 2nd one as well.

    I like how the text leads you around the vehicle pointing out the features. It’s kind of analogous to the way a car salesman would point out a car’s features in real life and the way you would give the car a once-over in person — kicking the tires and seeing what the vehicle is like.

    The list in the first pic is OK, but you’re forever moving back and forward between list and picture, having to find the item the description mentions instead of having the same features pointed out to you by the text (like a salesman would do in real life).

  114. Dreamspeaker says:

    2nd one. You’re selling a Jeep, and Jeeps are fun!

  115. MyDoxies says:

    Definitely the second one. It kept pulling my eye and made me laugh — this was designed by a designer — there is a style here and a lot of thought, too. It appears random, but, it’s not!

    I love humour in advertising!

    Advertisers — amuse me!!

  116. Segun Hunye says:

    Perception is relative. To me the ad #2 may not be as cool as the first, but it is very effective as the buyer is not after the design but the Jeep itself, and the ad #2 suits it perfectly.

  117. mict says:

    The 2nd one is too good designed — in the right surrounding enviroment it will kill all other ads (like the 1st one).

    The 1st one is changeable (fits any car).

    The 2nd one matches more the target group (fits drivers, owner).

  118. anita design says:

    Is this a question of communications over design? The “designed” ad puts the price first — then the features (which are in teeny type). Is this how you sell a used jeep? Nope. The second ad lists all the features, and THEN you get the price . . . the order of information is correct; it tells the story in a way that helps make the sale. Plus — bonus — it tells the story with a personality that matches the target audience. That’s real communications design . . . that’s advertising.

    I think that all adds up to an appropriate, appealing, and powerful design.

  119. Dezinerdad says:

    Years ago I did an ad that was very similar to the “Jeep” ad. We used an old IBM Selectric typewriter and actually typed the ad out to look like a back-room invoice. Readers thought they were getting a deal (and actually they were) on used camera equipment.

    As far as the two ads are concerned, the handwritten ad shows more of the benefits and looks like it’s done by the owner of the vehicle. It forces you to look at the equipment and think of them as the owner did. I like the bottom ad, although they are both well done, and agree the price seems a bit high . . . :-)

  120. Ellen says:

    Who cares what we all think . . . what worked to sell the Jeep?

    Selling a vehicle is different than building a brand. Even classified ads without pix work for selling.

    Keep it simple. Text ad with photo of Jeep. Done.

  121. nichollecaren says:

    I’ll go out on a limb and say the first. Maybe it’s the OCD talking, but I like when information is set out like I’m expected to read it. I’m a get-to-the-point person, especially when it comes to spending money . . . and if it’s $6,000 . . . I hope the point would be presented — fast.

    The price is at the bottom — I probably wouldn’t finish reading all that cute stuff to find out.

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