As I’ve posted here previously on the benefits of performing arts program book advertising (What Do Program Book Advertisers Know That You Don’t?), it’s now time to take a look at how to make your program book advertising stand out from the crowd, and get noticed.

True, after making the decision to advertise in performing arts program books, you are among a smaller group of business’ fighting for the attention of this coveted demographic. Even so, you can’t take this for granted and you’ve got to make sure that your program book ad gets noticed.

As previously discussed, the demographic of the performing arts patron is very discerning, so they need to be enticed accordingly.

After Onstage Publications engages with a performing arts organization to publish their program books, it’s amazing to me how many times I see the number of program book ads that simply say “Proud To Support XYZ Symphony”!

First of all, performing arts program book advertising is NOT a donation. Program book advertising is just this—Advertising! And it’s damn good advertising for the right type of business. So if you’re thinking about adding “Proudly Supports” in your ad, you need to think twice if you are wanting to get results.

So what will get your program book ad noticed? It’s important to think about advertising that you see in higher-end magazines to start your baseline. Advertising in these higher-end magazines tend to be very clean and uncluttered, and so should your performing arts program book ad. And just like these high-end magazine advertisers, you have only seconds to catch a prospect’s eye as they flip through the program book.

A well-planned program book ad layout provides the extra punch, which will make your ad stand out from your competitors and get your message across fast.

Below are 4 key things that your performing arts program book ad should have.

  1. Headlines

A headline should be in large, bold type and can be given added emphasis with screens, reverse types or color. Your firm name should only be used as a headline if it is descriptive of your product or service being sold.

  1. Illustrations

Pictures speak a universal language and attract attention to your program book ad. The subject matter of an illustration should depict the product or service being sold and should always face into the ad (never out of an ad.) Other than credit cards or brand trademarks, one large illustration is more effective than several small illustrations.

  1. Copy

The simpler the program book ad copy layout and overall arrangement, the more reader traffic your ad will attract. Vary the type styles and/or boldness to emphasize more important copy elements. Use open space for neatness and balance to make your ad pleasing to the eye. Program book ad copy should appear in the form of an outline, not complete sentences if you have lots of services, and can be set up by dots, squares, dashes, etc.

  1. Vital Statistics

If your firm name is not used as the headline, it should appear near the bottom of your program book ad. The telephone number, followed by the address should almost always appear near the bottom of your ad, as it is after a prospective buyer reads your ad that they will decide to call or visit your business.

It’s important to note that if you don’t currently work with a graphic designer, and you have no graphic design background, you should not attempt to design your program book ad yourself. By using a professional graphic designer, they will help you achieve the look you are needing for your program book ad. It will be an investment, but it will pay off in the long run.

But, don’t be afraid to ask your local performing arts organization when you are negotiating your program book advertising with them if they can create a program book ad for your business at no additional charge. It’s in their best interest to make your ad look as good as it can so that it matches the quality of their program books. Good selling!


A few of our satisfied clients.

Engage with the engagement experts.

Send us a quick email with your questions and contact info.

Schedule a time to talk with Norm about how Onstage can help your Performing Arts Organization.

Use our program book calculator to find out how much we can save you.