Looking To Hire The World’s Worst Graphic Designer

Last week, I received an envelope littered in ‘human handwriting’ font that said this in the footer:

“Dear Mr. Postman, please pay special attention that this letter reaches Mr. Osborn quickly and safely. The contents inside are extremely important!”

Being the cynic that I am, I tossed the envelope aside and tipped my head at the stellar practices of one of my fellow kind. Maybe I know the plotting bastard that sent it. If I did, I’d buy him a drink.

It’s no secret that dumbed down adverts are incredibly popular in the affiliate space.

How many times have you seen the classic 300×250 Before and After banner for a weight loss product? It’s typically etched in less than flattering handwriting boasting one explosive secret that can turn your life on it’s head.

These aesthetically ugly weight loss ads are designed to look like they’ve been slapped together by some proud shedder of the fat, who simply couldn’t keep his mouth shut about the success.

Mainstream markets buy in to the ploy because it seems too amateur to be thrown around by a giant corporation. They’d come up with something much more professional looking, something much more similar to the glossy productions we see on television or in high class magazines.

It’s this contrast that allows an affiliate to break the pattern of banner blindness. By creating ads that are ugly and eye-catching in all the wrong ways, we may lose points in the grandiose stakes, but we don’t lose the most important acquisition of all – the attention of those eyeballs.

Customers instinctively let their guards down when they think they’re mingling with one of their own. They become much more susceptible to the final push towards a sale if they feel like they’re being let in on a secret, rather than pushed towards the crowd. It’s a fine ego act to balance.

Most dating affiliates know that amateur photos regularly outperform those of models in conventional catalogue poses. I could grab my own disheveled face, slap it on a dating ad, and probably enjoy much more success than a traditionally handsome model – simply because mainstream markets are so used to being shown the traditional. They’re blind to it.

I believe this act of ‘avoiding the traditional’ is translatable to all of your online projects.

Does anybody really believe in perfect anymore? Some of my best performing affiliate campaigns are those where I have instantly shot down expectations. Once you’ve burst the bubble, you can re-educate your target market, re-align their expectations and then hit them with a sales pitch that is all the more convincing for your honesty.

Ugly advertising compliments this strategy because it further disconnects the salesman from his traditional footprint.

If you work with an in-house designer, the temptation is always to run with the creatives that look suitably beyond your own Photoshop hackjob capabilities.

Something I always tell any designer who works for me is that I don’t care for visual perfection or art school theory, I only want creatives that reach out of the page and slap the customer in the face. The best way to achieve this is to either be professionally very very awesome… or to use MS Paint.

Anything that falls in to the middle ground is boring, and unlikely to attract the eyeballs that a direct response marketer needs.

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About the author

Finch
Finch

A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.

5 Comments

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  • Yes, the most profitable campaigns are always ones which have had a unique angle or twist and much can be learned. Props to EWA who have good examples of amateur eye catching banners on this very page.

  • dis motherfucker knows how to write.

    Did i hear a book is coming on Amazon?
    “1 Weird Story: Life Of An Affiliate Marketer”

  • Sounds like a letter I received through the post this week from a shitty loan company, trying to convince me to take out a whacking big loan with insane interest

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