A teaser is a visual marketing aid that is used to communicate a message, thought, or idea; but it focuses only on one main idea supported by a call-to-action element. Its purpose is to simply blow a trumpet that something is coming but not to reveal everything in order to raise a curiosity. A teaser can be designed on any media of any size. It can be on paper ⎯ hard or digital ⎯ or on a video.
The reason for focusing on a single idea is to ensure that your target audience picks up the core message, thought or idea that you want to convey. If the teaser contains too much information, most likely, in 48 hours, the reader will forget everything because there is in our brain a function called reticular activating system that filters information in order to protect its health. What the reader can most likely remember is only that sometime ago he stumbled upon a teaser.
teaser versus brochure
A teaser is not a brochure. The major difference between a teaser and a brochure is that the latter contains all the information that you want your target audience to know; whereas, a teaser contains only one idea, thought or message supported by minor elements such as a call-to-action which may be a button or a link to direct your target audience to do something; or simply a number or email address to invite them to contact you.
test yourself with this pilot teaser
You will find below an example of a teaser; then, follow this instruction.
- Put yourself into the shoes of a high school student. Then, examine the teaser and be conscious of your eyes.
Try to answer the following questions.
- What is the teaser all about?
- What is the main message?
- What is the first element that you noticed?
- Did you feel strain in your eyes while looking at it?
- Do you think that even a high school student would be able to get the intended message?
The teaser is talking about a Holy Week retreat. Its main message is to disconnect, which is the core purpose of any retreat: to disconnect you from your everyday routine and way of life; inviting you to leave your comfort zone and normal environment. That is why it is called a retreat.
All other elements of the teaser are merely to support the main idea. One bit of information, though, must retain in the reader’s mind because it is essential ⎯ the date; which is why it is centered and larger than the other texts but not larger than the main idea.
The main idea could be anything you see on a teaser. However, in this example, the designer wanted to emphasize most the word disconnect because it has something to do with the follow-up teaser.
why put yourself into the shoes of a high school student?
We all think differently. Not all have achieved equal level of education. Not all those who were able to attend school have the same level of understanding. Not because you are older that you are wiser. Thus, if your target audience is the general public, how would you design?
The general rule is: consider the general public like all high school students. Once you have captured them all, generally speaking, then you apply the funneling; but that’s another story. Briefly, it is when you target specific audience from a pool of a wider audience.
So, if your role is the advertiser or producer, in order for you to objectively understand a visual design, put yourself into the shoes of a high school student; not as a producer, advertiser or organizer.
how eyes react to a design
What captured your eyes first? Is it the word disconnect? Then which? Was it the date? Could you notice the flow of information? Did you feel any eye strain?
In visual design, it is important that the eyes are not strained. Elements should follow a path that is comfortable to the reader’s eyes. Colors, sizes and spaces all affect the eyes. Our eyes react most especially to colors because colors are light. Our eyes’s reaction to light is not something that we can control. For that reason, the designer must test himself if what he has designed is comfortable to his eyes; and it is following the intended path.
In order to sustain the interests of your target audience, the pilot teaser must be followed up by a follow-up teaser; otherwise, your first teaser may serve useless as it may already be forgotten. It is important that the follow-up teaser must be related to the initial teaser. Like when writing a business letter or an article, a series of teasers must also be cohesive.
Take a look at the follow-up teaser of our example.
It is already obvious that the follow-up teaser is related to the pilot one. What has changed is the emphasis.
- The main idea or message here is the substance of the retreat which is taken from Matthew 26:40.
- The word disconnect still exists but no longer dominant. It still exists so that the readers can connect the second teaser to the first teaser.
- The second teaser introduces the idea tHis connect, which is the name of the retreat. However, in this example, it serves secondary to the main idea because what is more important is its substance.
- Notice the positions of disconnect and tHis connect. Their positions suggest that they are related; its contrast adds substance to the message. Without the word disconnect, your general audience would have no idea why tHis connect.
- The contrasting images also add substance to the idea of a retreat.
- Emphasis is now given to the call-to-action, which is to call and make a reservation. The date is less emphasized as this was already emphasized previously.
Ideally, it is enough that there’s only a pilot teaser and a follow-up teaser. A third release of your communication should already contain everything that you want your target audience to know. This may be in a form of a flier, brochure, a web page, or an event announcement. Your third communication tool must be sufficient with the necessary information to limit people’s questions and enquiries to a few because what is more important call-to-action is to buy if you are selling a product or services; to reserve a seat if you are holding an event; or to sign up, among others, if you are recruiting members.