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Advertising can be an important communications tool when used wisely. In all cases, you must ensure that what you are saying, how you say it and where you place your ads are carefully considered.

You need to make sure your message is targeted to the right audience and the cost is worth the results. The right message can help to build pressure on employers and politicians.

Look at your options: community papers or metropolitan dailies; radio or in rare cases, television; billboards or transit ads; web sites or magazines.

Remember, if your message is being covered in the media, you dont need to buy ads to get your position out. And with rare exceptions, there are cheaper and more effective ways to reach members.

  1. Consider these options before using paid ads:

    • Get it free by making it a public service announcement.

    • Get on community cable TV with your message, again for free.

    • For more impact reach your audience directly, and at a lower cost, in their homes with a mail drop or direct mailing.

  2. You may opt to use paid advertising when:

    • Your target group is too large to reach any other way.

    • Your target group is concentrated in a small media market area, e.g., a community newspaper delivered to a specific neighbourhood or within a targeted cultural community.

    • To counter managements advertising. Caution: avoid getting into a costly war of words.

    • To boost sagging member morale during a key struggle.

    • To improve your unions image with the general public.

  3. Use as few words as possible.

  4. Use a large, bold headline that attracts the readers attention.

  5. Use a dramatic photo or eye-catching cartoon or graphic.

  6. Consider using members as spokespeople in the ad (as well as cable TV message or public service announcement). Make sure they reflect the diversity of the membership.

  7. Buy as big an ad as you can afford. Most small ads are missed. An insert in the weekend paper may be cheaper than an ad and more effective

  8. Consider paying extra for prime positioning so your ad gets more easily noticed.

  9. Be prepared to back up your facts in your ad copy. Some media wont let you make claims.

  10. Consult with CUPE Communications if you need help.