Advertising Titles That Draw

Eternal truths must be brought into focus through the lens of twentieth century knowledge and discovery. To bring these truths to the vision of the greatest pos­sible number is our problem.

R.A.A. is an associate editor of the Ministry.

No generation needed truth more than ours, and perhaps no generation was more con­scious of its need, but men must have more than mere platitudes. Eternal truths must be brought into focus through the lens of twentieth century knowledge and discovery. To bring these truths to the vision of the greatest pos­sible number is our problem.

Evangelism demands that we "catch men." If we would catch them, we must attract them. We must awaken their interest, particularly by our advertising. Good titles mean much in evangelism. Not the hyperbolic, flagrant, scare-head titles of the tabloid press, however, for such sensational methods attract only floating congregations. "Yellow press" titles usually ar­rest only the superficial. Thinking people are not readily attracted by sensationalism.

The sermon really begins with the advertised title, but the preacher is left with the greater responsibility of making good his promises. Unless he can, he will soon cease either to at­tract or to hold interest. To state a problem—political, social., or theological—is one thing; to furnish the answer is a great deal more. Failure to make good our promise is fatal. we have no right to promise what we cannot give. The appeal to curiosity may have a place in ad­vertising, but in these days when people are dis­couraged and live under tremendous tension, titles that promise hope, comfort, or aspiration are finding a better response than those that merely suggest an answer to some political problem.

Titles that arrest and attract are worded in simple yet colorful language, and rarely con­tain more than four, or at the most five, impor­tant words. Business corporations spend huge sums of money for slogans which represent their product. The evangelist, as God's messenger in this mighty hour, should be just as eager to state in clear and concise, yet comprehensive, terms the great truths that we have to proclaim to a dying world today.

"As the mouthpiece for each sermon the cap­tion must be a good salesman," declares John Booth, and that is true. A good title not only stimulates interest, but it also leads the con­gregation into the theme.

A survey of evangelists during the last decade reveals that the heralds of the advent move­ment keenly appreciate the need for terse but timely titles. Cheap, sensational announce­ments are falling into disfavor.

Out of every fifty who read the announce­ments, not more than one will attend the meet­ings. But forty-nine other people have been impressed either adversely or favorably.

Our evangelists are our front-line men, and the public forms its opinion of our message through their work. May God help us to sense our responsibility, and give us wisdom to rightly represent the message we love.

R. A. A.

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R.A.A. is an associate editor of the Ministry.

March 1944

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