Posts Tagged ‘Simon Sinek’

6 Quick Steps to Less Sucky Radio Ads (or any ads)

Published by admin on February 23rd, 2012

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.

Are You Arguing for Exceptions?

Published by admin on August 7th, 2011

The Quick Skinny:

  • Arguing for exceptions is rooted in pride, one of the 7 Deadly Sins of Local Business Advertising
  • Build your advertising strategy based on the rules that govern the masses: consumer behavior
  • Exceptions to the rule make great stories, but poor strategy

We love exceptions to any rule. Business owners particularly. Chalk it up to iconoclastic entrepreneurial spirit, I suppose.  Exceptions provide the opportunity for them to prove a point…the pride of needing to “be right”…Especially when it comes to advertising.

While discussing ideal local trade area with a business owner (a small law practice) last week, he proudly pointed out clients who had come from far and wide to seek his services, citing two obtuse examples of  clients who had driven from two states away.  “So your strategy is to target people in Mississippi, then?”

Recently, one of my best clients  finally (and reluctantly) acquiesced at my continued suggestion that he remove the phone number from his radio ads (plumbing).  “What if someone needs a plumber right when the commercial airs?” People don’t write phone numbers down and they certainly don’t remember them.  They don’t have to.  When they need his services Google has it, and they know it.  Sure, calling when an ad fires happens sometimes, but it is by far the exception, not the rule.  (Ask yourself how many ads you’ve heard and picked up the phone to call at that moment.)  So why did he insist on wasting the precious 7 seconds it takes to articulate a phone number when we only have 30 seconds to tell his story, his value proposition, and the “why” of his business?  Because he was arguing for the exception.

Are there legitimate exceptions? Absolutely.  Certain economic conditions, like the current job market coupled with the real estate value free fall, have created  a flood of opportunities for real estate companies, attorneys, etc.  who deal in foreclosures and short-sales.    Other examples might be a fit of hail storms creating short-term opportunities for roofers and cosmetic auto repair shops.  A radio ad with a phone number in these cases might produce a flood of phone calls on the spot. But these conditions are the exception and are impossible to plan for long term.

Are you arguing for exceptions?  Most retail businesses (that I deal with anyway) are in the business of selling to the masses. When building strategy, rather than argue for their exceptions, it is wise to follow the rules that govern the masses: Consumer behavior.   Customers fall into the market when they fall into the market.  And when they do, they are going to search the internet, they are not going to wait for a radio or TV ad to air.  More on this strategy at the bottom of this page.  Exceptions make great stories, but they are no way to build long term advertising strategy.