Notes from 'Drawing Attention' by Stu Heinecke


Notes from drawing attention - Stu Heinecke

-I recently read 'Drawing Attention - how to unleash the incredible power of cartoons inmarketing, advertising, sales promition, job search, VIP contact campaignd and more' by Stu Heinecke.

I enjoyed reading the book and particularly liked his many insights into the uses of cartoons. Here are my notes from the book.

If any of these ideas interest you, or the infodoodle above intrigues you, then please drop me amail and we can discuss things further.

When they work, cartoons are pure magic. There is usually some nugget buried just beneath the surface, a piece of truth suddenly revealed that we all signify our agreement with when we laugh.

People truly are drawn to cartoons, perhaps more than to anything else in print. And if a particular cartoon really hits the spot, people often prize their favourites as keepsakes, clipping and posting them to refridgerator doors and office walls, and keeping them there for years.

Cartoons are supreme attention-getters and they create instant subliminal agreement and decades-long top-of-mind awareness.

Readership surveys conducted by magazines and newspapers over the years have measured the effect cartoons have on readers. the surveys conclude over and over again that cartoons are the best-read and best-remembered part of anything they’re in editorially.

Use cartoons to reach out to people, including difficult to contact people.

Cartoons are precious nuggets of truth revealed in a surprising way.

Composition draws the eye to critical story elements.

Items in the picture create symbolic visual flow; the way a table sits, then leads the eye to the person at the head of the table; the way others seated at the table are looking toward the key character in the drawing all create a sense of cohesiveness to the concept of the cartoon. Without it, the cartoon won’t make sense. It will seem disorganised and leave the reader wondering what the cartoon was trying to say. And it will leave a negative impression of you with the reader.

Humour= Truth

The entire purpose of a cartoon is to reveal truth in a surprising way. Focus on whatever the truth revealed is. That’s the message of the cartoon, and it needs to lead the audience to conclude that what you’re offering them is the answer to a need they have.

A cartoon is a device for getting attention, then planting a point of universal agreement based on the truth revealed in the gag. Don’t focus on injecting the brand or offer into the cartoon which kills the humour.

If the humour is about the advertiser, it’s boring and it won’t work. If the humour is about the truth behind the need served by the advertiser’s product or service, it will be extremely effective, because there is a common point of agreement.

Cartoons need to be constructed carefully or they will fail.

Postcards used in campaigns often made so much of an impression that the recipients kept them in a prominent place,

If you can reach people in a way that gets them to recognise that your solution answers an important need in their lives, your campaign will be effective.

Effective cartoons are about universal human needs, desires and experiences. And that makes them instantly relevant to your mission and to your audience.

***learn and use more psychology in cartoons

Every product or service addresses universal human needs and experiences.

Cartoons are powerful tools of persuasion because they plant a point of agreement subliminally and instantly.

Cartoons breakdown people’s natural defences, allowing you and your message in.

Personalised cartoons - use recipient’s name in the caption.

The effect of cartoons is already supreme; they distill the truth of any matter into a form that is easily taken in and they plant a point of agreement across a broad audience instantaneously. What personalization adds is the dimension of ego-involvement by the reader. Not only does the reader get the cartoon, it gets them. When people receive a personalized cartoon, they act as though they have received a gift. And they recently do respond in kind.


I would always opt to use personalization whenever the medium allows it, because I want the recipient’s ego involved.

If personalization is available, put it to good use.

Cartoons distill an idea to its core and plant it in the reader’s brain instantaneously.

10 rules for using cartoons

  1. Focus on the recipient’s identity, not yours.
  2. The recipient always comes out on top - don’t make them the butt of the joke.
  3. The cartoon must be relevant to the recipient’s lives.
  4. It’s gotta be fun.
  5. Use well-known cartoonists.
  6. Cartoons need context.
  7. Make sure the basics are covered. Who is talking? Does the cartoon make sense?
  8. Never picture the recipient in the cartoon - characters in the cartoon always need to be referring to the recipient as being somewhere else, or talking to the recipient out of frame or on the phone.
  9. Use the refridgerator door test. After following all of the preceding rules,  - Put yourself in the place of your audience and ask yourself: ‘Would I be likely to keep this cartoon on my refridgerator? If ‘No’, start over.
  10. Steer based on underlying truth. The most common mistake marketers make is injecting their brand, identity or offer into the cartoon.

In offices, recipients often keep cartoons on walls and bulletin boards for years.

e-mail marketing

Use cartoons as an engagement device. Remind readers in your subject line that there is a cartoon about them inside.

Knowing there is a cartoon inside the e-mail becomes a powerful enticement to open it and respond.

The nature of a cartoon is to compress issues and topics down to a simple underlying truth.

Encourage the audience to pass the cartoons along to others and you may have the basis of a viral growth campaign for your forum or blog.

*** Use personalized cartoons when mailing to friends.

Cartoons as a counterpoint - choose a cartoon that makes the opposite point to the one you want to make,,, isolating it graphically, then making your counterpoint in the headline and copy.

Cartoons should match their setting.

Use cartoons to reach out to people - make new connections, connect with difficult to reach people.

Nearly every big result in my career, every good thing that has happened to me, has come as a result of contact campaigns.

Cartoons are part of my brand.

We steer our campaigns based on the underlying truth in the cartoons we choose.

Presentations that are entertaining and persuasive are literally just a few clicks away.

Integrate cartoons into your speeches to lend them a lot more impact.

You can even make your entire printed presentation just a series of cartoons if you want.

So he (cartoonist Andrew Foster) started sending targeted cartoons to bloggers with large followings. They responded in kind, by including the cartoon in their posts, creating a link back to Andrew’s site. If a cartoon will cause someone with a large audience to place a link back to your site, that is a big deal and possibly worth a lot in terms of new business.

A poorly-targeted cartoon may leave this audience (publicity and social media) in particular, unhappy with you, and they have the platform to convey their displeasure to a large audience. So don’t disappoint or anger them.

Cartoons can also be used to bring enormous visibility and traffic through social media.

Social cartooning - drawing cartoons in public e.g. drawing on the back of napkins to give to people in bars.

It is more important for social cartoons to be personalized and mischievious than witty.

Go forth and see what kinds of connections develop.

Cartoons are little piece of magic.