My wife listens to one of the local radio stations at breakfast. Well actually she listens to the news and ignores the ads - in one ear and out the other. Unfortunately I can’t ignore them so a few observations are in order.
There are some great ad writers working at radio stations across the nation. Unfortunately for every great writer there are hundreds of mediocre (to be nice) writers. Most advertisers assume ad writers know what they’re doing. They don't - because they've never been taught how to write.
This morning I heard an ad for a Ford Dealership. Sixty seconds devoted to telling that this Ford Dealership sell Fords. Three models, a new SUV, a Mustang and another model I can’t remember because I started yelling at the radio. Imagine - a Ford dealer who sells Fords!
Note to all novice writers: Most people are smart enough to know that a Ford dealer sells Fords. Tell us something we don’t know.
Manufacturers build the brand of the vehicle. GM spent over two billion dollars in 2003 promoting their brands. That's a lot of money (see how annoying the obvious is). Seems to me that the local dealer's dollars are better spent persuading me to buy the brand from him (or her).
Forget about compelling reasons to shop this dealer, there wasn’t one reason given to shop this dealer – except that they sell SUVs, Mustangs and some other vehicle I didn’t catch. I predict that some day in the near future the dealer will be putting his radio advertising dollars somewhere else because “Radio doesn’t work.”
Knowing what to leave out of an ad is almost as important as what to put in.
The second ad was for a local bakery selling Kringle, a Danish inspired pastry.
Ad: February’s flavor of the month is Black Forest
Me: (I’m not crazy about Black Forest Cakes),
Ad: a dark chocolate and cherry filling
Me: (hmm, I like their chocolate and cherry filled Kringle)
Ad: topped with bittersweet chocolate chips
Me: (maybe I should buyt one and try it)
Ad: priced at $5.80. And try our muffins...
Me: (Muffins? Who wants muffins? Give me Kringle! Wait. What did they say the price was?)
I spent the next few seconds trying to figure out if $5.80 was a good price for Kringle rather than trying to figure out where I’d placed my car keys.
Can you put a price on delicious? Who cares how much a Kringle costs when it’s covered in bittersweet chocolate chips – the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee.
They almost had me – then blew it with irrelevant information. If you want to sell more Kringle sell the experience not the price and hold the muffins for another time.
It's time for every radio station to require that someone listen to ads before they air and kick back the bad ones. Otherwise let's take the money advertisers waste on this drivel and use it to heat our homes and cut our dependence on imported oil.
I'm here to help.