John Hoffmann

Associate Creative Director, Padulo Advertising, TorontoPadulo advertising has taken a straightforward approach to its image campaign for retail fashion client Fairweather, says John Hoffmann.'Fairweather has taught us that women today are busy, Hoffmann says.'They don't have time to read lengthy copy...

Associate Creative Director, Padulo Advertising, Toronto

Padulo advertising has taken a straightforward approach to its image campaign for retail fashion client Fairweather, says John Hoffmann.

‘Fairweather has taught us that women today are busy, Hoffmann says.

‘They don’t have time to read lengthy copy in ads,’ he says. `Here’s a great dress at a great price,’ that’s all they have to know.’

Hoffmann says much of the company’s image is built in-store, where the agency can use color, but newspapers are an important component of the campaign.

‘Newspaper allows you to be very immediate and punctuate that image with a price point,’ he says.

Asked to describe the campaign, Hoffmann says it is aspirational, attitudinal and visually strong.

‘Don’t forget, we are selling clothes,’ he says.

‘It’s not like a corporate image, such as IBM, Xerox or Ford. We are selling the overall image, and how we portray that image is through fashion.’

Q. Why did you choose newspapers for this campaign?

A. For their immediacy. With magazines, the lead time is so long, your price points could change, or, quite often, the item could be sold out. There’s a quicker response with newspaper. Plus, there’s great frequency that you can derive from the medium.

Q. Are newspapers underused for image advertising?

A. I really wouldn’t know. Probably with The Toronto Star changing to new presses, advertisers might start looking more closely at that particular paper. I’m quite impressed with the Star’s new format and reproduction.

Q. Excluding your own work, what have been some of the best examples of image building in newspapers?

A. Ikea. The full-page ads they did with a price point – even if you weren’t interested in shelving units, you still looked at them.

The Canadian Airlines campaign, when they re-launched, they definitely created an image for themselves.

They used a color supplement, initially, but then they continued with black-and-white ads. Their style of illustration, their typography – everything was so different, it was really effective.

Q. What qualities do successful newspaper image campaigns have in common?

A. I think they have to have a clear, concise message. Even if you have the luxury of a full-page ad, people can turn the page as easily as they can hit the remote control button.

You have to grab their attention, and the best way to do that is with a strong, factual headline or a compelling illustration.

Q. What specific challenges does the medium present – what are its limitations?

A. I think the reproduction is probably the greatest challenge.

You have to be able to produce an ad, knowing what the limitations are, so you can accommodate that from the concept stage.

For example, using black-and-white photography as opposed to a color illustration. You’ve got to be aware that the proof from the engraver is not the same quality as it’s going to end up in the newspaper. You have to be careful with the material you’re supplying the printer.

Q. Do you think that technological innovations, such as a new four-color process or more flexible layouts, would convince more advertising agencies to use newspapers for image building?

A. I think they might. We have another advertiser for whom we use a great deal of newspaper and the reproduction has been a great problem.

Seeing some of the same work redone with the new presses at The Toronto Star, there is a night and day difference. So I’m very excited about the capabilities.

Q. From time to time it is suggested that one of the main reasons that a lot of creative directors don’t use newspapers for image advertising is because it’s harder to be creative in newspapers. What do you say to that?

A. I’d say that’s true. It is harder. Confronted with that piece of white space, I think that most creative directors would agree it’s certainly a different challenge than television or radio, and maybe somewhat more satisfying.

You don’t have 35 other people supporting you, or limiting you, for that matter.

Q. What trends do you see in image advertising?

A. I can’t predict any trends. Even though there is still a recession, advertisers can’t afford not to advertise.

Some might have switched some of their advertising to newspapers from television. But I don’t think that signals a trend.