I belong to a gym, but I’m afraid I’m the sort of gym bunny that is happier sitting in the bar or sauna (if I can be bothered) than working up a sweat on the various torture machines downstairs. Never mind, I find the atmosphere is good for getting work done and coming up with creative ideas for my next class, post or visual for my clients.

Maybe it’s the energy in the air?

So I like going to the gym. I like the people, the food, the coffee and the (cough) cakes.

But I’ve never been to one of their special events. They advertise special days with children’s entertainment, special food at a special price, egg hunts, santa visits and mini discos, perfect for my two little wrigglers.

plonked (2)

So this Friday I was in the changing rooms after a particularly strenuous Sauna and noticed a poster pinned to the inside of my locker for a special Easter meal and egg hunt for the children. My first thought was that it looked like it was for old people. Now, bearing in mind that the gym mostly caters for families and grannies are unlikely to be attracted by an Easter egg hunt, this struck me as a rather ridiculous reaction.

easter menu (2)

The A4 poster was pretty unassuming, a list of courses under a title with some spring-like pictures around the edge. It had even been laminated. But the mixed bag of spring pics were just plonked around the outside as last minute decorations to show that it was an Easter offer.

 “to plonk (v): to take one or more stock photos and insert them directly into marketing materials with no changes and no other intention than to decorate it”

Instead of adding to the message of the poster, they made it look old fashioned, cheap and a little thrown together and detracted from the main point of the poster – to attract the many families that use the gym every day to a well-run event that makes Easter day special.

It doesn’t take much to avoid these mismatched marketing messages and move away from the plonking technique.  Here are some simple ways to stop you being a plonker:

  1. Think about the most important message you need to convey and stick to it. If a picture doesn’t help you to convey this message, then don’t put it on,
  2. Write your words first. Most of the time, less is more. Consider leaving more space around your carefully crafted words so they speak for themselves.
  3. If you need some visuals after this, pick one that emphasises the most important message you need to convey. Make it big and bold, use only part of the image and give it lots of space to create more impact.

Easy peasy, you need never be a plonker again.

image by electricnomad, cc, flickr