What Goes Into an Effective Coupon Ad

When it comes to coupon advertising design, a well-executed ad is greater than the sum of its parts. Following are the 9 basic parts of a coupon ad. Many of the descriptions of the layout elements also include tips to optimize that element for maximum attention and redemption.


1. Offer: Make the offer value or discount HUGE in comparison to other elements as coupon. Sometimes, if the offer is buy one get one free, or buy one get one 50% off, the HUGE text will only read “FREE” or “50% Off” and then explain the required additional purchase in the qualifier text.

2. Subject: The subject of the coupon is what is being discounted. For example, in a “50% Off Dinner” coupon, “Dinner” would be the subject.

3. Qualifier: Explains additional restrictions or requirements to redeem the offer. Qualifier text can be smaller than the subject, but should still be a little larger than the disclaimer. For example, if the Offer is 32 pt., the Subject is 14, and the Disclaimer is 6, the Qualifier text should be 8-10 pt.

4. Disclaimer / Expiration: Be clear but brief. This text can be small, 4-6 point type. End with the expiration date.

5. Logo: The logo should be clear and prominent, but it does not necessarily have to be gigantic. The color scheme of the ad should match the logo. The logo needs to be high enough resolution to print perfectly. Nothing looks worse in an ad than a fuzzy, pixellated logo.

6. Headline: Bigger is better and shorter is sweeter when it comes to headlines. The headline should be HUGE, brief, and clearly communicate what is being sold in the ad.

7. Sub-headline: Additional information related to the headline or “second headline” that warrants prominent display.

8. Information: Try to limit additional information, only including truly relevant copy that adds to the selling power of the ad. Too much information, and the entire ad turns into a cluttered mess that gets read by no-one.

9. Contact Information: Always make contact information easy to read and find. The best place to put contact info. is in the bottom right hand corner of an ad, where people habitually look for that info.

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