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. www.airforce.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. Now I have to admit that when I took over LBC's Comm Prod department in 1979/80 I 'inherited' the Freddie Barratt ("Barratt's Liquormart") ads from my predecessor - although he ran some ads on Capital he was a semi-permanent fixture on LBC for many years before that. Fortunately for my sanity he stopped advertising shortly afterwards - I think his business ran into financial difficulties.

    A few years later some bright spark in sales decided to put on the local ratecard something along the lines of "You could even voice your own commercial to keep production costs down"!

    It took ages to get the point across that voicing your own ad is only an option if you happen to be a household name who happens to be head of a well-known business - e.g. Sir Richard Branson.

    I lost touch of the number of clients who found out the hard way that voicing commercials wasn't as easy as they imagined - especially as many of them had never heard their voice on tape before.

    What often happened was that the session was abandoned and re-scheduled - complete with professional VO.

    I was quite happy to have the client in the studio to watch the ad being made - good bit of PR for the station and it also meant we could get approval on the spot - but sitting at the back of the control room, not behind the mic.