Mention the Name of the Station…

Clients are afraid that the money they invest in their radio advertising is being wasted. Well here’s some news. Often it is! If you cram your commercials with features and not benefits, if you don’t engage your target market, and if you try to get them to visit AND go to your website AND call a phone number (for no apparent reason), if you try to cram ALL your spots or advertising activity into just the peak times… Yes! You are wasting your money.

Used correctly radio is extremely powerful. Most stations have research that tells you approximately how many people are tuning in. But clients want to “test” the radio. But what they are actually testing is the power of their offer to the listener. If you’re offering a key ring for every buyer of a new Jaguar XKS, you’re unlikely to get a great response.

But one of the things that irritates me on a brief is “Mention the name of the station and we’ll give you an extra 5% off”

It really is a bad cliché. And yesterday was the second time in 2 weeks that this “offer” landed in a brief into my inbox.

You want to make me jump through a hoop?

There are some good reasons not to do that in a radio ad. From the clients point of view, I know you want to see where your customers are coming from, but most listeners will not “ask” for that extra 5%. And the way that people listen to radio they may not even associate the offer with the station… why should they! And why are you making me jump through another hoop to get a great deal from you? First of all make it fun… and make the offer better! Your copywriter and sales rep can help you. If you make it fun, silly, entertaining AND a compelling offer (5% just doesn’t cut it!) you will see the response. But don’t penalise the customer who doesn’t know the silly hat he has to wear to get the discount! Make sure it’s open to everyone who does business with you.

From the station’s point of view, most radio stations make a huge investment building and protecting their brands… and although they are happy to let you buy airtime (that’s how they survive) they wont let you associate with their brand in a radio spot advert. They MAY let you do a promotion with the breakfast crew, or a drive time competition… but that is airtime that is controlled by the programmers.

For the listener, it’s just an irritation. If this advertiser wants my business, why do I have to mention the name of the station. It also assumes that the listener CARES about the station they’re listening too, and I’m afraid most of the time, they don’t. They care about the music, the entertainment, the news…. but they are not particularly bothered that they heard an ad on a particular station. And because radio is a visual medium for advertisers (yes, VISUAL) they often have difficulty with advertising recall linking their memories to audio. So why would they remember they heard the offer on Rushton FM? Why would I want to MENTION it? Even if I could!! Just to get an offer that hopefully you will give me anyway to get the sale. Get real!

Remember: You don’t have to TEST radio, it’s already tested and has ratings. What you are testing is the strength of your proposition to motivate the listener to action.

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Valentines Day … a surprise again!

It never fails to amaze me.
Today I have briefs for Valentines Day.
A brief from a restaurant…a brief from a hotel.

It’s only 4 days to go and you’re wanting to be on air tomorrow?

The respective sales execs don’t seem to get it. They’re just happy to take the money. But for these clients it’s just too late.

Radio works with repetition. Your message needs to be hear a number of times before people start to respond. There’s a mathematical formula. It doesn’t guarantee results, it’s not based on science (although some people try to convince you it is) but it seems “about right”that a message needs to be heard about 4 times before people start responding. Thant doesn’t mean no one will respond after the first broadcast…but it seems to optimise at around 4. As long as the message is right (not just the creative approach… but the offer… WHY people should respond)

Andbecause people listen at different times you need to make sure your message is spread to hit those different people.

I now get up at 5.45am. Go to the kitchen to start breakfast… in there with the radio on. At 6.30 I switch to a BBC station for the news. If you always have an ad at 6.35… every morning… you will miss me completely. I am a creature of habit! The same is true for most people.

One of the big mistakes that advertisers make is putting all their effort into maybe a 15 minute section of breakfast every morning for a week… doing a promotion is great, but the selling message will be missed by the majority of the WHOLE station audience. By all means do promotions, but put a foundation down of compelling radio commercials. After a while you can do something and rewarding for the listener as a promotion.

A lot of advertisers think that people listen to radio the same way that they do. People have all sorts of listening habits. When you run spot ads ask your station for a “run of station”or “total audience” package. Or if you work with some stations in the UK, they can model your target group to give you spot ads that hit specific groups, ages and social economic groups of listener. You may be surprised that the answer is not always “peak times”.

The most successful radio advertisers have a compelling and believable offer or message. And although they may not be on the radio ALL the time, it sounds like they are!

Waiting for our favorite radio advert.

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The Phone Number—Does it Work? Brent Walker

I really like what Brett Walker has to say here about phone numbers. Much clearer that I ever could. Maybe I get to emotionally attached to wanting to do what’s right for clients! I am not completely opposed to phone numbers. But usually I can’t answer the question “why should I phone?”. If you want me to come to your showroom… give me a reason to do that. If it solves a problem in my life I don’t need “more details”.

The Phone Number—Does it Work? from Soundscapes on Vimeo.

see also

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What we try to do as Radio Advertising Copywriters….

I was in a traning session yesterday with Tracy Johnson… author or the “Morning Radio” series of books. He showed a number of videos.

This one just struck me as what we try to do as radio advertising copywriters. Especially when the client comes to us with self written radio advertising messages.

I just wish they’d recognise that we’re trying to help them!

Sometimes you hear clients who have written an ad say “but it’s working!” And you think.,.. “Yes, but we could make it work so much more!”

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