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Advertisers’ PowerPoint Visual Design Tips: Calls to Action

Aside from using PowerPoint visuals to prove your point, you can also use them to make a compelling call to action (CTA) at the end of your pitch. After all, people are more compelled to buy what they can see.

According to ad veteran, Luke Sullivan, CTAs work so well because they rely on metaphors, a quick and powerful selling tool.

More than showing what the product is and what benefits it can offer, advertising agencies have used this as a quick and powerful way to communicate to customers.

How It Works

Most people learn by associating images with concepts, which is why we equate dogs to loyalty and red colors to extreme emotions.

Concepts convey your message in one picture so you don’t have to rely on copying and pasting text.

The Harvey Nichols clothing sale print ad showed an image of pelicans crowding around a piece of fish as a metaphor for how people flock to a sale.

This approach, as opposed to showing actual people crowding over one outfit, was a more creative way of emphasizing the kind of customer demand that their brand had.

Presenters can apply metaphors to PowerPoint visual design in the same way.

Once again citing Sullivan, is there a way to graphically represent your own product?

Or can you offer a different perspective on a familiar concept, similar to how Volkswagen used a picture of King Kong in pain to describe their car’s durability?

A Compelling Truth

By using a metaphor to present familiar things in an unfamiliar way, problems can be presented to clients by paving the way for your solution.

UNICEF’s print ads presented the gravity of Chile’s education problem.

Three of these ads had criminals pose as teachers, with children as their students, a parody of the regular class picture setup.

Combined with the tagline “a child who learns is an adult who teaches,” the ads showed that children were brought up by criminals and needed proper education to break them out of that life.

An Invitation to Participate

Cleverly crafted visuals encourage reader involvement.

In his book, Cutting Edge Advertising, Jim Aitchison explains that since they rely on images and stereotypes that people have built up over the years, advertising agencies twist that message so the customer can make the connection for themselves.

For example, the Comedy Central ad let customers fold a page to create funny scenarios, giving them a sense of how funny the show really was, and that if they wanted more, all they had to do was find it.

A Presenter’s Advantage

This process continues as people grow. Building your own standards extends to choices and purchase decisions.

Using visual metaphors in your sales presentations aren’t limited to dated pop culture references, but also include visible archetypes, as with the Harvey Nichols ad, or police cars hiding in bushes, similar to the MINI Cooper ad.

The Takeaway

Use relevant images and present them with a fresh perspective to get clients to invest in your proposal.

To get the best advantage for the visuals in your presentation deck, take some time to talk to the right presentation partners!



Aitchison, J. (2004). Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall.
Always End Your Business Presentation with a Call-to-Action.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 27, 2015. Accessed May 28, 2015.
Sullivan, L. (2008). Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
Where to Find Unique Images for Your Presentation Design.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 18, 2014. Accessed May 28, 2015.
Improve Your Presentations with the Power of the Metaphor.” SlideGenius, Inc.. November 17, 2014. Accessed. May 28, 2015.


Featured Image: “James Whitcomb Riley” from Wikimedia Commons

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