Insider's Advice for Radio Advertising, Part 1

Old Time Radio

Commercial Radio has been entertaining and educating Americans since 1920.
Commercial Radio has been entertaining and educating Americans since 1920. | Source

Ideas for Better Radio Advertising

Although I would hardly consider myself a 'Top Expert' in radio advertising, I believe I have learned a few things in my 11 years of selling radio advertising and writing advertising copy for most of my clients. I continue to sell advertising spots and write advertising copy to this very day, so I am not just espousing theories that I read or heard somewhere. I speak from practical experience and what I've educated myself, both in radio industry seminars and from my college degree in English, psychology and biology.

(1) There are worse things than 'obnoxious' advertising. You may not believe this, but even worse than obnoxious, annoying or silly advertising is ... BORING advertising! Let me illustrate: in the early 1990s, I was working in the insurance claims field while living in Minneapolis. Seemingly a half-dozen times every weekday, I would hear this teeth-gritting radio spot for a Twin Cities furniture retailer. Each and every spot for this retailer featured his background jingle, an Oompah Polka Band singing with German accents and featuring an entire section of accordions in accompaniment. (I came to believe that the polka band was staffed with drunken ex-Nazi sailors.) Throw in the less-than-golden voice of the retail chain's owner in the foreground and, well, you've heard nicer melodies from cats yowling at midnight! Anyway, one Friday evening at a party, we youngish (age 20s and 30s) insurance professionals somehow got on the topic of memorable radio and television advertising spots. Of course, this furniture retailer's annoying radio advertising spots were brought up and our whole group talked about them, made fun of them and we even tried to imitate the teutonic jingle music (did I mention that we'd been drinking adult beverages?). After about five minutes of merriment, we moved on to other topics. Years later, after I had entered the radio advertising field, I thought back to that night and realized what had happened: we had unwittingly given this furniture retailer five minutes of FREE publicity in our gender-mixed group of a dozen young professionals! Not surprisingly, this furniture retailer continued to use this awful jingle for many years ... and continued to add new stores to his Twin Cities area chain, too!

This led me to formulate my First Rule of Radio Advertising: The very best radio advertising spots are memorable and pleasant, the next best radio advertising spots are memorable and unpleasant ... and the worst radio advertising spots are both forgettable and unpleasant. If your radio advertising spot is not memorable, it does NOT matter if the ad is pleasant or not!

(2) Even the smaller or less-popular radio stations can do well for your business advertising. Remember, it's not just how many people will hear your radio advertising message, the key is to find out what it will cost ($X) to reach every 100 or 1,000 (#X) radio listeners with your advertising message.

To illustrate my point: Imagine you own a retail bakery that specializes in wedding and special event cakes. A sales representative for radio station WABC comes a-calling and offers you their 'special standard advertising package' (let's say, 30-second spots airing 24-hours-a-day/7-days-a-week/30-days-in-a-row/2-ads-per-day/60-ads/month-in-total) for just $6,000/month in total ... which equals 60 ad spots at $100 per spot. While considering WABC's offer, another radio station sales rep contacts you from WDEF. She offers you the WDEF 'special standard advertising package' which has exactly the same features as WABC's offer ... except that WDEF is only asking $600/month for their 60 ad spots, or just $10 per spot! So, here is your Pop Quiz: If you own this bakery, which radio advertising is best for your bakery's advertising campaign? See Part 2 for the answer to this common advertising conundrum!

Rural and highly specialized radio stations often have a small but very loyal audience.  But this station may be too rural and specialized for most American advertisers!
Rural and highly specialized radio stations often have a small but very loyal audience. But this station may be too rural and specialized for most American advertisers! | Source

There are advantages and disadvantages to all forms of advertising. including radio advertising, and I recognize that fact. I am not a total enthusiast for radio advertising and I don't want readers to make that assumption about me. But, if radio advertising seems to have one or more advantages for your business or professional practice, you are a reader that I can probably help to use the medium for maximum response!

The second chapter of this Hub article can be found by clicking here.

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There are many ways to advertise successfully ...

Even costumed mascots can help to advertise and promote certain consumer businesses.  (Yes, even including mascots like this guy.)
Even costumed mascots can help to advertise and promote certain consumer businesses. (Yes, even including mascots like this guy.) | Source

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Comments 1 comment

Radio Jingles 5 years ago

yeah exactly, worst radio jingles are the boring ones.

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