Have you got an idea for a plumber?

The sales exec walks into the office.

“Have you got an idea for a Plumber?”

This time it’s Plumber… but equally she could have  inserted Double Glazing Company, Solicitor, Carpet Shop, Furniture Shop etc.

An idea about what?

Many sales people have a mysterious understanding of the creative process. We actually need to have an idea about what we’re supposed to have an idea about. That’s what the brief is.

I could have a plumber joke in my head. I could have an idea about dancing lemurs in a bathtub. I could have an idea of people playing music using bathroom fittings… BUT they are all irrelevant if they don’t help the client to communicate THEIR message.

Give me the brief and I will give you the ideas.

Oh and the more time you give me the more ideas I may be able to generate. More ideas = more reasons to advertise = easier sales.

Dancing Lemur (not in a bath, that would just be silly)

 

Dear Client….

Mostly I bite my tongue…. but what I WANT to say sometimes….

Dear client….

I spent three years at University learning techniques of radio production. My first job was with the leading radio station creative department at the time, where I learned from some of the top names in Radio Advertising then and still today. My ads were ripped apart and reconstructed by the best. I’ve gone on to work with learn from and mentor some of the UK’s biggest talents in Radio Advertising I’ve spent the last 23 years reading everything I can find on Radio Advertising and studying technique and seeing what ads work and don’t work. I have a few awards, and qualifications from the USA and Canada in copy writing for radio advertising and radio sales. I go in reading, listening researching and looking at how I can grown and know more. I make my best effort to write copy that will help clients meet their objectives, I love my job and love hearing my work on air… I love feedback from happy clients and relish the challenge of those that are not happy with their results (few and far between if they take my advice).

But yer… if you want to write your own ad… feel free. 🙂

Client tips on getting the most from your Radio Advertising

There are a few tricks any tips to getting the most out of your radio advertising campaign:-

1. Be on in plenty of time

It’s amazing how many people talk to the radio station a day or two before their event. You should give writers and producers time to create your advertising. The less time, the less thought will go into your advertising and that’s not a good thing. Three or four days to get the copy sorted, than after approval a couple of days for production. (These days it CAN be quicker, but leave time for possible issues… like your company name pronounced wrong)

2. Be on FOR plenty of time

Radio works with reach and repetition. You need your message going to the most number of people for a good number of times. Ignore the magic number of 3.25 times a listener needs to hear your message, it may need to be more times if your offer isn’t compelling. Whatever the magic number for YOUR ad, you need to be on for a while before people will start responding.

3. Give your campaign time to work.

Stick with it. If you get no response from the first few ads, give it time. Factors that will influence this are things like buying cycles, and how good your offer is!

4. Don’t throw away your creative approach

Maintain a sound for your company. Maybe keep the same music or voice. The sound effect (sonic brand trigger) at the end. Your copywriter should be able to do variations on a theme.

5. Be consistent

You don’t have to be on the radio all the time, but you need to make it sound like you are. When you do big promotions or events with the station you already have a relationship with the listener. Some big companies dip in to radio from time to time and the listener, because they have that personal connection with the station, can be left wondering, “what are you doing here?”

6. Be compelling

If your offer, deal or promotion doesn’t excite anyone outside your company, why would it excite or motivate the listener into action. You will only get a response to your radio advertising IF you give a good enough reason to respond. “Buy our tyres because we sell them” is not a compelling message.

7 Don’t say you’re friendly… sound friendly

“We’re a friendly family company” Mmmm. Mike Bersin uses the illustration of a guy who goes into a bar, walks up to a lady and says “I’m friendly”. How long do you think she’s hang around? Don’t say you’re friendly.. make sure your ads are warm, friendly and inviting…. if that’s the image you want.

8. Reflect in your other media.

I know you probably want to “test” radio. Well test how well it works when you do the mix… and watch how well your press starts to do when you reflect the campaign on radio and TV if you can afford that.

9 Tell your staff

“I’ve come about the buy one get one free offer on tyres?!”
Blank look
“The one on Radio Rushton FM?”
Blanker look (can a look be blanker than blank?)
“Tyres? 2 for 1?”
“I’ll have to call Mike… but he’s on holiday.

Please, let your sales staff… ALL your staff know what you’re running and the deal.You’d be surprised how many don’t! And train them to upsell!!

10. Say when it worked!

Feedback to the Radio Station sales team and writers when a campaign has worked. Put it in writing. Trust me, a client who gives this kind of feedback I love working for… and go the extra mile for. Then if it doesn’t work for them in the future they have my undivided attention.

Hatred of the Hyphen

I hate the hyphen. Well, I hate it when it comes to websites in radio ads. It seems like advertisers don’t think through when they’re buying their websites how it would be communicated. Try reading out simon-rushton-radio.co.uk/contacts. And that’s a fairly simple one!

Also there’s the companies that like word number puns in their we addresses. Way2getahead.com sounds really snappy… but the listener may get confused. Way to get ahead? Way 2 get ahead? Weight to get ahead? Ok maybe the last one is a bit extreme.

If you do business through your website then there is an answer. Come up with an easy to remember, radio friendly web address for your company. You can buy a web address quite cheaply and then just forward the surfer to your website (avoiding those terrible flash animated landing pages)

Many years ago I had a client who was a pub/restaurant and their web address was something like… the-red-lion-canterbury.co.uk. Terrible! But their offer was a downloadable voucher for a buy one, get one free steak dinner. The solution? For the duration of the campaign they used the address “I want a big fat juicy steak .com” Nice, memorable and related to the offer! Simples!

A Steak Dinner

Start From The Right Place…

The man stops his car and asks the pedestrian… “can you direct me to the Maternity Hospital”.
The old man scratches his chin and replies… “Mmmm, if I was going to the Hospital I wouldn’t start from here!”

I am sitting at my desk scratching my head. I’ve been given some client written copy which has (surprise surprise) two women talking to each other. One of them has incredible knowledge about the client’s products and services… and… as usual… can reel off the phone number. I would love to meet this lady, she has amazing mental capacity.

I have been asked by my client, a production house, to “tidy up the copy”…. or “make it into a 30”.

The problem is, to get to where the client needs to be with a script, I wouldn’t start here! The device being used is one to shoe horn lots of FEATURES about the client. Frankly the listener doesn’t CARE about all the things the client does… they care about the problems in their lives.

If I have a problem with transport I want to know that I can get a car for just 50 quid a week… i don’t want to know that they also do parts, servicing, MOTs, etc… how does that solve my problem.

Many clients try to say EVERYTHING and the listener hears nothing.

It’s best to keep the brief simple and irresistable. From there, with a good radio creative, you will get great radio ads.

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Suite 101

Yesterday I was interviewed for Suite 101 by my former boss, mentor, former Head of Creative at Radio Clyde, quoter of Burns, and all round good guy Dan McCurdy.

Dan M Curdy


You can find the interview here.

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Voicing a Commercial… How Hard Can It BE!!

The client has a great voice.
It’s true. Deep, rich and resonant.
But in the studio, and faced with a $3,000 microphone he turns into a quivering wreck.
He’s discovered that being a great voice over is not just about a great voice.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing voice artists and they are worth what they get paid. (although many will complain they don’t get paid enough by local radio stations)

The fact is, it’s not easy.

They have to read a script and make it sound like it’s not read.
They have to squish 34 seconds of verbage into 29.5 seconds.
They have to do take after take for the agency “producer” who wouldn’t know a great read from a jar of strawberry jam.
They have to deliver the same read, time and time again, with small adjustments, and remember what the producer didn’t like from the last take.
One moment they’re the voice of God, the next moment a talking dolphin.
And, they have to market themselves to writers and producers who already think they have enough talent on their books.
All with a smile.

So when a friend tells you you have a great voice and should be a voice over, by all means give it a try. But just because you can play chopsticks doesn’t mean you should give up your day job and become a concert pianist.

This month I will be attending VOX 2012 in the UK. It’s a change to meet the people whose mouths I am lucky enough to put words into.

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The Top 10 Worst Infomercials

It’s good to see that bad copy writing and terrible acting is not restricted to low budget, small station produced radio commercials.

Personally I don’t know how I survived those boring hours on the toilet without a Potty Putter.

Ladies… what would a Kush mean to YOUR life!?

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The Spot Ad is Dead… Long Live the Spot Ad

Here lies the spot ad

I have heard that the spot ad is dead.
Funny that.

I also heard it 20 years ago… because someone had read a marketing book that said it. (although they
couldn’t remember the name of the book)

I heard it from an advertising agency exec, so it must be true!

Here is the truth. SOME agencies (note: not ALL agencies) just don’t know how to do good radio advertising. They look for the easiest way possible to get their clients on air. In some markets the easiest way is to hand a list of features to a radio presenter and get them to read it out on air. Or get an “activation” done with the argument that the product needs to get “closer to the people”.

There are some activations which are really excellent, and some presenters that do it really well. BUT if you just use a 1 or 2 week activation you are not using radio well. Like a tower block build with no foundations, after a while you’re just left with a pile of rubble.

Clients who use radio WELL are the ones that are on all the time (or it feels like they are) and have a foundation of regular spot ads. Spot ads that are “controlled” word of mouth. They give a clear and creative message… they don’t try to cram in features, but give a benefit to the listener. They don’t rely on whether the presenter is having a good day or not. They don’t have the potential damage of a presenter saying “Nokia” when they meant “Samsung”. They have the advantage of reaching a wider audience with a cleverly managed schedule.

I am not saying, don’t do promotions, activations and competitions with your station. I am saying you will get MUCH better results if you have put down a month or two of heavy spot advertising before you do. You will have more of a relationship, and more recognition with the listener.

The truth is, spot advertising can be hard to do well. It’s often beyond the experience of an Agency. Or they see it as below them. So they take the easy option.

But great radio spot advertising is still throwing out some great creative ads, results drivin, award winning ideas and great executions.

The Spot ad is dead? Tell that to Coca-cola, MacDonalds, Budweiser… etc. etc.

I don’t think I’m ever going to get a job with an Advertising Agency now!

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