Helping out and helping yourself

So you find your company sponsoring an event. And said event is preparing a program book. And the event organizers want you to provide an ad. Fantastic. Do these ads bring in business? Probably not. Do they give you some publicity and name recognition? Possibly. But you have to stand out. Your ad needs to be different than the standard, “Congratulations to the Blank-Blank Society.” Sometimes you can send your logo and who ever is putting together the book with construct something for you. It will not be original, unique or stand out. Your option is to do it yourself, which is not much of an option. What you can do however, is send your logo and your copy. Check first to see if there is an extra charge for layout of your ad. It can differ. Okay, you’re putting on your copy writing hat, now what? Here are some dos and don’ts for small ad copy writing:

  • Don’t be overly clever or oblique. Quotes from Moby Dick at a fish fry for the Boy Scouts will likely go unappreciated. Note I didn’t say not to be clever, just not too clever.
  • Don’t be funny for a serious event. Do I need say more?
  • Don’t have lot of text, be brief, it’s a party. People flip through the book because they are bored and waiting for something, food, drink, speeches–they don’t want to read a novel
  • Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Look at the bright side, no matter how bleak the cause, be positive.


  • Do include your logo fairly large–request this
  • Do say what your company does, “Smith and Associates Financial Services, serving all your business portfolio and investment needs.” Smith and Associates Financial Services, doesn’t say enough.
  • Do mention the event, otherwise you look really self-serving.
  • Do include contact information, web site and phone number. Address isn’t really necessary and takes up space.

That’s all fine, but what do you write in that ad? Look at the appeal letter, it tells you what the event is and what or who it’s benefiting. Is it to honor someone? Look them up mention their contribution to the community. Still lost? Look up the hosting organization’s mission statement, quote or paraphrase from that. In a nutshell, say something nice. For example, you are sponsoring an event for an organization that helps recovering addicts. You don’t say, “Blank Company is glad to help Helping Foundation get those junkies off smack once and for all.” You say, “Blank Company is proud to be a part of Helping Foundation’s efforts to help those who lost their way back to being a part of the community.” See? Be nice. Is it a person? Don’t say, “Congratulations to Mrs. Jones on twenty-five years of service to the community.” Say, “Congratulations Mrs. Jones for providing the least among us with books, hot lunches and winter coats for twenty-five years!” See?

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