People don’t “hate advertising”. Quite the contrary. How many times have you forwarded a funny commercial or mentioned a clever ad to someone. Multiple times. No, we don’t hate advertising…we hate advertising that sucks. Flacid, boring blah blah blah, and frankly most local radio ad copy sucks. Heck, most local copy sucks, period. Hate to be crude, but…it’s true. However, ask those local advertisers who’ve built an empire on radio, those who you hear year after year? They’d tell you a different story. So what’s the difference between sucky radio copy and not sucky radio copy?
Follow these 6 simple rules:
1) Arrest the attention: I had a well respected agency tell me once that she needed to “set the stage” before saying something significant. The hell you do. You don’t have time. You have 3 seconds for the brain to assess your message and either be intrigued enough to listen further, or kick it to the curb. 3 seconds. Between texting, talking, glancing at a GPS or whatever it’s a wonder anyone ever hears your ad. Arrest their attention first. Not screaming like a car dealer, but by saying something out of left field for effect, then tie it back to the point you are trying to get across. Email me, and I can show you several examples or even take your ad and do it for you if you are interested.
2) Ditch the details: Tell an authentic, interesting story instead. There was a time when details may have mattered in radio ads. That time dies with this thing called Google. We don’t have to remember details…about anything. Google’s got it. Details are only important to those who are already in the market for a product, and 98% of those who hear it are not yet in the market. Your short :30 or :60 is too precious to spat details that are not important right now. Let the details, (the who, what, when, and where,) be the domain of your website, blog, and search strategy, because when they do fall into the cue, they will search. Tell of the story of the impact your product or service had on someone. Make it interesting, and make it real. To paraphrase Simon Sinek, “people don’t by what you do, they buy why you do it”. Give them the why. Tell them your story.
3) Crush the cliche’ catchphrase: Seems so obvious, but there are scores of ads running right now, in my top 10 market touting “There’s never been a better time to buy a _________”, or “Everything must go!”, or “Family owned and operated since19__”. If you’ve hear it before, your brain has too…and your brain knows better. Broca’s area swats irrelevant cliches like mosquitoes. Listeners never hear it. Ever. There are so many fun, persuasive, and effective ways to say what you are trying to get across without resorting to this. It just takes a little imagination. Email me and I’ll show you some great examples.
4) Abandon the obvious: Heard this one the other day…”Hey Atlanta, it’s about to be springtime! Time to take off those unwanted pounds” Really?? I hadn’t noticed. And who’s this “Atlanta” character, anyway. Just by looking through a different prism we can come up with many different, more interesting angles. Once again, Broca’s area of the brain anticipates the predictable and banishes it to the scrap heap of irrelevancy. Take a unique angle. If you need inspiration, look no further than the fabulous “2o Something Betters” scene from the 1987 classic “Roxanne”.
5) Be Real: We live in a jaded, over-sold world. Our bullsh*t trigger fires at the slightest inkling of “being sold”. Don’t use a polished “voice talent” from a station. In this age of authenticity, nothing is more hokey than a staged radio voice. Be real with your ads. Use real voices. Speak in broken sentences. Shed the sheen of a smooth sounding ad. Your listeners are going to relate much more to an interesting story told in an authentic way than some slick talking DJ voice spatting the same old tired manure.
6) Give up the quest for magic beans: So many advertisers want to hear that we have the magic beans….that we’re the station that “gets results”. Unfortunately too many sales reps have told them about “their station” as if a mass media audience has some magical predilection to buy the advertisers product that other audiences don’t have. While some stations are more credible than others in the marketplace to be sure, at the end of the day Radio (or TV, or any other mass medium) aggregates people. That’s it. That’s all they do. What you say and how frequently you say it separates success from failure, period. There are no magic beans. Focus on interesting, story-based copy. I can help you do that.