Friday, 20 August 2010

Get noticed ! Rebrand !

The amount of mileage I’m doing at the moment has been pretty high. I can’t complain, mileage means someone is wanting to see me about making them some radio commercials !

On my journeys, there’s one thing I have noticed: An apparent increase in the amount of delivery lorries with the name ‘Wilkinson’ written on them. In recent times, Wilkinson has been going through a significant rebranding process. Gone are the sharp italicised fonts and in are softer more curved ‘homely-shaped’ contemporary letters. The same goes with their lorries: Huge, fun and incredibly colourful photographs now adorn the vehicles.

So is it because there are more lorries on the road or is it because the rebrand has just drawn my attention to something that has always been there ? I have to assume the latter. To be honest, Wilkinsons has never been a favoured shopping destination for me, but the new look isn’t half helping to change my perception of the brand.

This new awareness of an existing brand has co-incidentally occurred at the same time when two rebrand briefs landed on my desk. In both cases, both the clients involved are simply getting bored with their on-air image.

“We’re like wallpaper” one of the clients told me. “Sticking with the same sound for all these years initially gave us consistency, but now we’ve got a lot of catching up to do simply because we failed to evolve. People just don’t ‘see’ us anymore”.

The other client told me “We’ve lost our way. Our press looks good, our poster advertising looks good, but our radio: Ugh. We’re throwing all kinds of ideas at the wall to see what sticks. And so far, nothing is.”

When clients get bored with their image, they’ll get bored with their advertising. The less inspirational their advertising gets, the less they’ll spend on it. Which is bad news for everyone concerned. My thought is that we should do as much as we can to not let our clients get bored with what they have. This week, I’m having a catch-up meeting with a client whom I have had for about 3 years. The client hasn’t asked for it, neither is he expecting it, but I will be bringing some new ideas along to re-energise and put a new perspective to the format we are currently using. My hunch is that the idea will be a tads too brave for the client and much of the material won’t be used. But that doesn’t concern me. What it will do is start the thought process well before the sound gets too tired and the client has to invest significant sums to catch up.

Another thing I saw on my travels this week: On the M3, I spotted a car emblazoned with the sign: “Earn at least £3000 a week by working from home. The proven way to gain great wealth by running your own business”.

I would have had more faith in the sign if it wasn’t emblazoned on an X-reg Peugeot.

Complete proof that a strong advertising message will be completely ruined if the environment it is placed on is completely contradictory.

John Calvert. Airforce.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Trust the experts....PLEASE !

Every Commercial Producer has a client that won’t listen to your recommendations.

You know who yours is: That client who thinks they know more about radio advertising than you do....

That client who thinks the audience WILL remember his 2 phone numbers....

That client who thinks the more annoying the commercial, the better results he’ll get.

That client who believes that filling an ad with wall-to-wall words makes his advertising spend go further.

Last week was a great week for Airforce. We made some great stuff and the clients were all happy. Then came the cloud on the horizon. My ‘Won’t Listen’ client rang me and asked for a last-minute ad to promote a sale. The script was duly drafted, approved and recorded.

Knowing the client likes a bit of passion in his ads, the voice cranked himself up and delivered an enthusiastic read.

10 minutes later, the client rang and said “The ad isn’t selly enough. I need the voice to really shout the offers”.

“Shout ?” I asked.

“Yeah, I want to make sure people really hear this”.

I pointed out to the client that the louder you are, the quieter you’ll be.

“I don’t get it”. Said the client.

I explained that people hate being shouted at. If an ad is perceptively louder because of raised voices or over-processing in the final mix, listeners will actually turn down the radio in order for their ears to distance themselves from the audio.

“Well...Could it be done in a way that makes it loud, but people won’t turn it
down ?” He asked.

Give me strength. Radio advertising isn’t exactly a new medium. You’d think that many advertisers would have got to grips with it’s strengths and weaknesses by now.

And let’s not forget advertisers are listeners too. Aren’t they put off by all the crap stuff ? They probably are, but they probably believe that their loud and/or irritating ads are somehow more interesting and therefore the audience will be happier to listen to them.

So how do we help these people see the light ? I’ve often thought that a few fun station promos would help. I remember many years ago, Capital found itself broadcasting a large number of client-read ads. (For those of us who are old enough, remember the Freddie Barrett Liquor Store ads ?) So they created a promo focussing on how dire advertisers could sound if they didn’t employ professional voices. It was funny to listen to if you weren’t involved in the radio business, but it also made advertisers incredibly aware of how stupid they would sound if they voiced their own ads.

We all know that in order to create a belief, all you need to do is tell someone something lots of times. Radio stations can help themselves by broadcasting fun yet informative promos that outline what makes a great radio ad. Over time, not only will they promote the benefits of radio advertising as a whole, but they could make advertisers who insist on misbehaving on air feel very silly indeed.

John Calvert.