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Ads 101 important tips and fundamentals
How to use The UnChoice ads, campaigns and educational materials on this site affordably and effectively



This section includes important fundamentals and tips about how to advertise effectively and how to best use the ads, campaigns and educational materials on this site to reach general or more targeted audiences.

It includes information about how to choose from various types of media and how to select the right ads, media or campaign.


There are also a few "keep your eye on the ball" basics about best practices for advertising and mass-media to get the results you want. Low-cost or free alternatives to advertising are also discussed.

1. Easiest and Quickest Option
For Immediate Use, Choose from our Mix & Match Menu


If you prefer a simpler, faster, free or low-cost option, just choose anything from our Mix & Match menu below, or anything from the Resources page.

This includes small space ads ideal for bulletins, newsletters or any online or print publications. This also includes postcards you can use as ads, handouts or mailers; educational flyers,

These materials are designed for ease of use in varied audiences with little or no advance planning or expertise. Read Low-Cost/No-Cost Ways to Use these Materials for ideas on how to use items from the "Mix & Match" menu or other resources, such as postcards, or flyers, bulletin inserts or ads, classified-style ads, banner ads, etc.


Since this is a relatively new message to most people -- especially evidence about unwanted abortions, post-traumatic stress and maternal death rates -- these free or low-cost options can be quite effective in awakening people to abortion's exploitation, harm, heartbreak and risk to the rights and lives of both the unborn and women from all walks of life. A few small ads run consistently in a small local publication can reach many people and have a ripple effect.

A Word About The UnChoice Campaign


The UnChoice campaign is based on new pro-woman/pro-life evidence from the Elliot Institute and other experts, which radically changes cultural presumptions and attitudes about abortion, while opening doors and saving lives in the short-run as well. This new information can stop abortions today by deterring those who coerce or consider abortion. Its message is unique, urgent and powerful.


You can help spread the message in many ways. For immediate use with little or no planning, see our "Option One -- "Mix and Match" menu of ads and other materials. If you have the time, funding and resources for a full-scale, professional campaign, consider "Option Two -- The UnChoice Campaign." This includes the more nuanced and context-dependent print ads, which should really be run as a group to be effective. Please read this section first and plan accordingly if you choose to run a campaign.


The Elliot Institute is making these materials available free of charge to compassionate individuals and groups who share our concerns. Finally, you can donate to support the Elliot Institute's work, including running The UnChoice campaign in a test market.


Learn more about why The UnChoice campaign is unique and what it can do:


Why The UnChoice campaign is different ... and essential

12 things this evidence-based campaign can do

Why advertise?



The ABC's of Effective Advertising 


Advertising Works!


Advertising can be quite affordable and effective, but only if done in the right way, paying attention to simple, but important fundamentals. For example, you need a minimal level of frequency, a consistently focused message, and a professionally developed group of ads with identical style, design, fonts, colors, message, tone and appearance to achieve a "family" look and lasting impression.


It's also important to communicate with disciplined continuity and steady repetition, with close attention to the fundamentals outlined in this section.


Read this section to learn more about whether you should try your hand at running ads or whether other equally effective options might work better for you. (Learn more about alternatives to advertising.) And remember -- even if you decide not to advertise -- you can always help get this important new evidence to the general public sooner rather than later by donating to support the Elliot Institute's work.


On this Page: Tips for Effective Advertising


1. Deciding which ads, when and how many to run.

2. Create a simple media plan.

3. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

4. A few keep-your-eye-on-the-ball basics.

5. A "starter" menu of ads to use for single- or limited-run usage vs. a major campaign

6. Great free or low-cost alternatives for the ads, flyers and other materials

1. Which ads, when and how many? Is running just one ad a good idea?

Advertising is a great way to reach many people with a compelling and consistent message. However, in the rush to reach people, resist the temptation to run just one or a few ads, once or randomly rotated. To get the results you want -- it's very important to be painstakingly consistent! Select a few ads and stay on-message using a small "family" of similarly themed and messaged ads. Maintain a rock-steady level of consistency, repetition and focus.


Studies show that the one-time "flash-in-the-pan" approach is minimally effective and can even be detrimental if the message is taken out of context; for example, by those who may be unaware of the "bigger picture," such as new evidence of widespread unwanted, coerced of forced abortions.


Most people are unaware of new evidence which:

  • defies conventional wisdom about what people think they already know,

  • competes with false or misleading messages in the media,

  • may hit close to home for individuals and families directly or indirectly affected -- personal experiences vary widely, including unwanted, coerced or deceptively sold abortions, or women who have experienced harsh judgment when they spoke about regretting their own abortion or related issues,

  • may be out-of-context if established disinformation and important "big picture" context goes uncorrected and new evidence goes unsaid or presumed.

In such situations, a "one-size-fits-all" single-run or limited-run message is easily misunderstood or taken out of context.


Fortunately, there are still many ways you can get the job done for little or no money. (Learn more below.) The ads on this site are professionally developed and based on the expertise of the Elliot Institute and other experts who understand these issues. Whatever you do, remember that a minimum level of frequency and repetition are needed for the message to really "stick."


If you read the information on this page and still want to run just one or a few random ads, you can still be effective, IF you use these simple tools:


a) Select from our menu of "Mix and Match ads," suitable for one-time or limited runs and also for general use with various types of audiences and media. 


b) Advertise in smaller, affordable or free local publications, such as church bulletins, newsletters, trade or civic magazines, etc., which are especially effective for small ads. Any publication -- from a school newspaper to a women's club magazine to a senior citizens flyer -- can reach people who need or will offer help.


Or, you can insert an informational ad that takes a "big picture" approach, which places the message in its larger context. Examples of this include the "What Every American Needs to Know" message (ad, flyer or postcard versions), the "Forced Abortion in America" ad or flyer, or anything on the Small Space Ads page.


"Big picture" messages like this show the larger perspective, not claiming to speak for each and every abortion experience. Rather they show the larger trends, which reflect profound exploitation that endangers both babies and mothers.

All of these ads inform people about the big-picture pretext of abortion -- new evidence that most abortions are unwanted or coerced, and other issues -- before presenting evidence about "post-abortion" issues and risks. This pre-abortion evidence, which doesn't claim to speak to or about any or all women, helps keep post-abortion issues in a non-presumptive, informational context.

c) Most ads are also available in black-and-white versions and you can also choose the smaller, quarter-page ads from The UnChoice campaign, which are more affordable than their full-page or full-color counterparts. 

c) Run co-op ads to share the cost, and ask a business sponsor, philanthropist or civic group to sponsor the ads and put their logo or message in the designated boxed area. (Learn more about co-op use, ideas and terms on the co-op ad page.)


d) Plan a fundraiser -- Raise funds and join with other individuals and church or civic, student or volunteer groups, etc., so that you can run an effective campaign. In the meantime -- you can choose from our Mix & Match menu, Small Space Ads, or free or low-cost ideas.


Ways to get the best results and address common pitfalls are listed below, as are free or low-cost alternatives that may be a better choice. Also, the short descriptions on the ad campaign page will help you decide which option works best for your budget, goals, staff, level of knowledge or expertise, timetable and resources.

Read all 6 Steps on this page first. Then, if you want to run just one ad, choose from the menu of designated, effective "Mix-and-Match" ads.


2. Create a simple media plan

A little planning is essential to be effective, avoid pitfalls and multiply your impact. For example, it is better to run just a few smaller, more affordable black-and-white ads (see our Small-Space Ads page) in a small-scale local publication, with higher frequency, than it is to run one or two big, full-color ads that only appear once or twice. 


Before advertising, it's important to sketch out some sort of plan, however basic. Combining a "family" of unified-theme, appearance and similar message-focus ads in several mediums at once helps reinforce your message for a highly effective "one-two" punch. For example, you may decide to run a few radio ads (including free PSA's) and newspaper or civic magazine ads plus billboards around town.

  • Select which media you want to use.

  • Read Which Media? and Who Needs to Hear This? for ideas, plus pros and cons of radio, TV, print, internet and other media, based on who you want to reach and what you can spend. 

  • Narrow your audiencee, for example:


    * Women - college through middle-aged women aged 18-49

    * Youth - high schools, colleges, youth groups

    * Religious or civic groups (include ads in publications they subscribe to)

    * Grassroots activists - political leaders, activists, volunteers, etc.

    * General interest - see Step 6 below

  • Select the type of media they might see or hear, for example:


    * Women's magazines

    * Religious programs and networks

    * Radio talk shows or publications

    * Radio or TV programs targeted to women

    * Civic magazines

    * Student publications

    * Campus radio stations

    * Other affordable local newspapers

  • Set aside a budget. (See funding ideas.) Choose media that suit your budget. For example, billboards, radio and low-cost local church, civic or trade magazines are typically affordable options. For even more leverage, supplement your plan with simultaneous PR outreach in on-line and traditional media. For example, send a press release about the campaign, or write letters to the editor.

  • Gather information. Contact each media's ad department for audience demographics (e.g. gender, age, etc.), time slots and cost estimates. Tell their advertising representative who you want to reach with your advertising. (See Who Needs to Hear This?)  Give them a ballpark estimate of your budget and ask for rates and a simple, low-budget plan to reach the people you want to reach.

  • Make a basic outline of which ads you want to run in which media during the specified time period. Ideally, this outline should cover a one- or two-month period or more.

  • If you need help, enlist the aid of a professional media planner or ad pro to create a plan, answer questions or act as a consultant to review the plan you've sketched out.

3. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

Your media plan should include a high level of repetition, consistency and frequency. It is far better to repeat a few small local ads consistently and often than to run a large ad just once in an expensive publication or radio/TV program.

Studies show that most people must see or hear one ad
up to 6 or more times before it "sticks."

If your budget is limited, aim for at least 3 repetitions and see Step 6, choose small space ads, or consider other ways to fund a bigger campaign.


4. A few keep-your-eye-on-the-ball basics

Graphic design, writing style, strategy and other elements are synergistic and work in concert to help people understand, contextualize and remember. The message and look must be clear, cohesive and consistent.  Avoid mixing ads from different campaigns.

Studies show that by the time you are bored with your message, it is only beginning to take hold with your audience! Repeat the same ads often, even and especially when you are tired of them. (See step 3) It works!

For more tips about what not to do, read: 10 Ways to Blow an Ad Campaign (off-site link)


Although this "10 Ways" list refers to traditional, sales- and marketing or product-oriented advertising vs. more nuanced "issue campaigns,"  the fundamentals still apply ...


Follow them and you'll be effective. Ignore them and there is an "opportunity cost," plus the potential for mixed messages and significant unintended consequences.


This is especially serious when so many hearts and lives have been broken, emotions run strong, lives are at risk and stakes are high.



5. Best ads for single- or limited-run usage ...

More affordable smaller ad sizes or ads from our mix-and-match menu make it possible to run them more often.

Radio ads are also an affordable option. (It's an ideal medium for reaching women and some stations may even run the ads free of charge during off-peak hours. Or, purchase ads at a reasonable cost during programs targeted to your selected audience.) See Which Media? or Who Needs to Hear it? for details.


If you want to run ads this way, choose from the following menu of general-audience ads:



For more ideas, choose from the Mix & Match menu. If possible, run the same ad -- or just a few ads -- consistently and often in the same media. If you can afford to supplement it with other media, you'll get even better results. You can also incorporate low-cost/no-cost options and items from our PR/Events Planning Calendar.

For example: 3 quarter-page newspaper ads plus 1 billboard and 2 radio ads running during the same 4-week period.



6. Great free or low-cost ways to advertise

There are many free or affordable ways to advertise or gain other types of low-cost or free media coverage. For example:


* Ask stations to run the radio or TV ads as free Public Service Announcement (PSAs).


* Plan fundraisers throughout the year to run a big multi-media campaign later, or donate proceeds to help further this work.


* Ask your religious or civic group or local leaders to sponsor The UnChoice" campaign close to home.


* Join forces with other groups or ask a local businesses or individual sponsors to run co-op print ads. The business or organization can be named as a sponsor on the ads, featuring their message or logo. A local counseling center specializing in these issues may also be willing to sponsor an ad.


* Run small-space ads in bulletins, newsletters, or mailings; send out as emails, or use the text and links or banner ads on web pages.


* Distribute business card-size ads and bookmarks or use them as inserts in bulletins or mailings. You can also post them on your web site.


* To leverage your ad campaign, send press releases, story ideas and letters to the editor on this issue to the local media. Check out the Events Calendar for ways to tie in to seasonal and other timely events.


Use healing (rose) ads, "Invisible Women," or What Every American Needs to Know as flyers.


* Check the complete list of  low-cost/no-cost alternatives to paid advertising

Run ads often in specialized or local media, which can be less expensive than big national media. For example:


  • a local student newspaper, magazine or newsletter

  • a local metropolitan or women's magazine ...

  • a national or statewide trade or conservative magazine ...

  • a health-oriented newsletter ...

  • a women's club newsletter

  • a local cable TV channel

  • a local radio station or talk show

  • small ads in the back of women's magazines

  • church and civic publications,

  • simple, text-only classified ads, such as the sample below:




See Small Ads / Bulletin/Clip Art for more ideas.



A final note


In order to maintain the integrity and cohesiveness of this message, alterations are not permitted, with the exception of co-op ads and posters, which set aside a space for your local contact information.


Please read and follow Terms of Use before using these ads.

If you follow the fundamentals, you'll get good results. If you don't, the results can even be detrimental when messages are disorganized, inconsistent or out of context. To learn more about how to avoid common advertising pit falls, read:



10 Ways to Blow an Ad Campaign  (off-site link)



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for post-abortion counseling referrals, call 1-877-HOPE-4-ME or click here.
copyright 2006 Elliot Institute. All rights reserved.