Despite my attempts to mislead you, I think this week's question was just too easy for you. I did try and throw you a red herring – detailing where the advert was placed – but you spotted that the new version on a white background was easier to read and therefore more likely to be read.
Last week, I referred to 'fundraising truths' and one of them is that reversed out type can lose you up to half your readers. Of course, you might choose to ignore that, but you'd need a good reason. I like the way David Ogilvy put it (in Ogilvy on Advertising) - he knew a fair bit about press advertising after all.
"I am sometimes attacked for imposing 'rules'. Nothing could be further from the truth. I hate rules. All I do is report on how consumers react to different stimuli...I may say to an art director, 'Research suggests that if you set the copy in black type on a white background, more people will read it than if you set it in white type on a black background'. A hint perhaps, but scarcely a rule."
I wonder how long the art director who ignored such useful 'hints' would have lasted.
Earlier in the same piece, Ogilvy says "When I write an advertisement, I don't want you to tell me that you find it 'creative'. I want you to find it so interesting you buy the product." Wise words in this particular case.
As an aside, placement on a good page of the newspaper would also have been likely to increase readership. High traffic pages include: the front page (of course), the page with the crossword and the television listings. Placing the advert on a page with a related article would also lift response.
And if you are doing a press ad, this wonderful page on Sofii will provide some inspiration for headlines.