You don’t want to wear the “plus” hat

In my department I am fortunate to work with three very talented writers. They consistently write well and think about the effectiveness of their commercials. We have a little game in the office, if I, or one of the producers, spot the word “plus” in one of their commercials I fashion a hat from newspaper and they have to wear the “plus” hat for the rest of the day. It’s a bit of silly fun, but with a serious message behind it. First of all, the word makes very easy radio clichés… “plus a bouncy castle for the kids, “plus free shoelaces with every pair of shoes”. Secondly it’s a lazy way of linking things and thirdly it helps clients to break one of the rules of effective radio commercials.
The rule is… ONE message per commercial.

This week I wrote a short ad for a client on a limited budget. 20 seconds pushing his Wednesday night event. He approved the wording, but wanted to add in about his Thursday Nights (“plus, on Thursday nights there’s Jazz!”. That’s a different message, a different reason to go and a completely different target audience. It didn’t HALF the effectiveness of his commercial, because to find the time for the message I would have to cut the big reason to go on a Wednesday!
Unfortunately clients are often spending a big proportion of their advertising budget on radio, so they feel they have to say everything, when it’s actually better to do the opposite. Give one message and people will get it. Make that message worth responding to, and let people know HOW to respond and it will work for you.

One message per commercial.

A "Plus" Hat

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