Write a headline for your cell phone ad

cell phone ad with text headline

A couple of days ago I changed the picture on my cell phone to advertise for something I want to do more: hike in the mountains.

If you read Change the background on your cell phone screen, you’ll recall that I’d had the same picture of my dog on my phone for the past couple of years. While extremely cute, it was both very stale and objective-neutral.

Friday I went for a hike on a stunningly gorgeous trail near Mt. Rainier in Washington State. One thing I noticed about the hike is that the trail looked exactly like the picture I had pasted into my New Year collage over eight months ago when I was visualizing things I want to do this year. That really impressed me. I mean, I hadn’t been someplace like this for at least a decade, and here I was walking through a landscape that was nearly identical to the photo that has been hanging over my desk!

Wanting to practice what I preach here, I had my hiking companion (my mom – how cool is that?) stop and take a picture of me with my cell phone several times. As I also said in the last article, the trick to making an ad on your phone is just to catch yourself in the act of doing something you want to do more and getting someone to take your picture.

When we got back I chose the photo that best illustrates my goal – with me in the picture – and made it the new background on my phone.

I was immediately impressed by how good that felt. Each time I open the phone – which is many times every day – I have this pleasant little experience of, “hey, there I am hiking.” I’m also:

  • Reminded of a wonderful day in the mountains with Mother
  • Visualizing myself as a hiker
  • Reminded to go hiking again

(By the way, if you have any doubt that other interests are inundating you with messaging all the time notice that I also see not one but two corporate logos every time I glance at my phone, in addition to my ad.)

Write a headline

There’s a second item on my phone’s screen that is configurable, besides the picture. If I want to I can write a short piece of text that will be displayed near the bottom of the screen. It’s called the Greeting on my Samsung phone. This is a great place to write a phrase that will become the headline for my ad.

Here are the steps I went through to change the text greeting on the screen of my phone:

  1. Settings
  2. Display
  3. Greeting
  4. Custom
  5. Key in the text
  6. Done

I like to use a phase for my headline that’s a little ambiguous because it could contain several meanings. In this case I chose the word “Wonderland” because

  • It accurately describes the feeling of a sub alpine meadow, and I want to spend more time in places like that
  • I’m just beginning an ad campaign to support a possible future goal, which is to hike the entire 92 mile Wonderland trail around the mountain (more on that soon).

Because it works

Look around you. Most of the ads you see contain both text and images. With all of the zillions of dollars at the industry’s disposal to test the effectiveness of different advertising methods, one has to assume that we see the image/text combination so frequently because they think it works. With the addition of one word to my cell phone ad I’m now using that same method many times every day to reinforce my own dream of one day hiking the Wonderland Trail.

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  1. Angelina
    Posted September 12, 2007 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I’m that girl you talked with at Sunrise Visitor Center (at Rainier) that weekend! I talked to you about Wonderland Trail. I’m glad that you enjoyed your trip to the mountain and took some nice pictures. I really hope you’ll do the Wonderland next summer.

    I do agree that pictures encourage people to do things. I have my screen saver on my computer composed of all pictures that I ever took of nature, hiking trip, traveling that I’ve done. It makes me feel good about who I am. It also makes me wanna go and hike and travel some more!

  2. Posted September 13, 2007 at 8:21 am | Permalink


    I read your blog whenever I remember to, and I just want to thank you for brainstorming ideas for self-motivating advertising. A friend told me once, “We are all being brainwashed; we need to be careful as to what we’re washing our brains with.” I drank the kool-aid of TBYB!, and now I’m ready to franchise it and sell it to others. Ha ha! Keep ’em coming.


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