By Ryan Ghidoni
Thursday July 14th, 2016
Audio Active Advertising – Episode 25: This is why your radio ad isn’t working
People ask me all the time why their radio ad isn’t working.
The answer is simple.
Because the ad is bullshit!
Are you claiming that your fabulous, contemporary, deep seated, comfortable sofa will drastically improve the life of anyone who is lucky enough to buy it at the sale that can’t be missed?
Do your ads feature two recognisable radio announcers pretending to be normal people who just happen to love your product?
Fake Person 1: Hi Harold. I heard your roof was leaking.
Fake Person 2: It was leaking…until I got the impeccable services of Mr. Roof.
Fake Person 1: Mr. Roof? Tell me all about them and repeat their phone number three times because I’m slow.
Fake Person 1 and 2: Burst into laughter.
Nobody is going to accept the fake testimonial, the clichéd description of the item, or the inaccurate reflection of how it will affect their lives because today’s ad savvy consumer has a better bullshit detector than ever before.
Nobody is buying because nobody is “buying it”.
Roy Williams, author of “The Wizard of Ads”, proclaimed:
“Today’s consumers are rejecting pretense. Born into a world of hype, their internal BS-meters are highly sensitive and blisteringly accurate. Words like ‘amazing,’ ‘astounding,’ and ‘spectacular’ are translated as ‘blah,’ ‘blah,’ and ‘blah.’ Consequently, tried and true selling methods that worked as recently as a year ago are working far less well today.”
Not only are they going to be annoyed by your ad, but they will also avoid your store in fear of encountering more BULLSHIT from your staff. I can think of five places my wife and I won’t shop at because she hates their radio ad. That’s right…women, who make the majority of the purchase decisions, detest bullshit. Who would have guessed?
Then why do so many radio advertisements take a bullshit approach?
Harry G Frankfurt, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton and author of “On Bullshit” (Yes, this is an actual book) writes:
“Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he or she is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person’s obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic exceed their knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic.”
So, simply put…bullshit ads are created when the writer is required to write an ad but does not have enough relevant information about the product.
I believe that bullshit RADIO ads are on the rise as the industry continues to focus on short-term efficiency instead of long-term customer service.
Radio writers are being asked to do more with less time.
Some radio writers have been let go and the TV creative department, who specialize in writing with the support of images, now looks after your radio ad.
Maybe your ad is being outsourced to a hub in another city. Now a writer, with a full local client list, also has to write your ad with no first-hand knowledge of your market.
These situations are becoming more and more common and all of them result in less time being spent on each ad.
LESS time = MORE bullshit
A SIDE NOTE: Thanks to online freelance services like Fiver and Upwork, soon your radio ad from an efficiency driven station may even be written and produced by someone in another country who doesn’t understand the culture or the purpose of your product. They will rely solely on bullshit to create your ad. I love online creative services. You can get a company logo for $5 but it looks like the Starbucks logo with a lion on it and the same logo was sold to 1500 other companies in the last month.
The radio industry needs to improve the writer to client ratio.
Until they do…here is a SOLUTION:
Got a good radio writer? The radio industry still has a bunch of them.
Hire them directly.
Pay them a fair price to work on your ad after hours, away from the sausage factory.
This will give the writer time to get to know the product, how it is used and how it affects the lives of the people who use it. Let them talk to the people who sell it and, if they don’t happen to use the product, give them time to talk to somebody who does. It will take more time on the front end but you will end up with an ad that is accurate, speaks the conversational language of the people who use the product, and actually works.
It may cost you $300 to $3000 every three to six months, depending on how many ads you need, but it will be a small price to pay to ensure that you aren’t flushing your $30,000 airtime buy down the toilet because your ad was created during a busy week in the creative department.
Don’t have a good writer? Shoot me an email at [email protected] and we can instantly schedule a free chat to discuss your needs.
Ryan Ghidoni is an 18-year veteran of radio advertising and has worked with some of the most creative sales reps, writers, producers and voice talent in the business.
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