What Radio can learn from the Super Bowl: Ineffective Commercials are Costing Us A Lot of Money!

…and the six keys to money-making effective commercials for radio


A study from research firm Communicus, highlighted by AdAge today, found that 80 percent of Super Bowl ads fail to increase sales of their product, (http://buff.ly/KxkY6r) — mostly because companies get too creative for their own good.  That’s irrational because the one thing every advertiser wants is results. 


The opportunity for radio today is our promise to clients must be to provide excellent results for their advertising expenditure.  However, even the best of radio commercials, just like Super Bowl ads, simply don’t deliver the results that clients expect today. 

Extensive research to investigate the effectiveness of radio commercials has demonstrated that most radio commercials, even the good ones that people remember, are simply not well received by listeners – resulting in them being ineffective.  That may not surprise most readers, but the consequence of this is devastating for the radio business.  Without the competitive edge for radio of being the best medium to deliver results for advertisers, other more sexy media usually attract today’s advertising dollars.

A station may have excellent writers and producers who create very good commercials.  However, commercials will deliver much better results for the client with feedback from their target customers – just as program directors discovered what listeners think of each of their songs they play using professional music research - and changed radio programming forever.  Radio stations today must analyze their commercials to ensure the proper message is delivered with the proper frequency to stand out from today’s crowded sea of media choices.

Here the six main problems with radio commercials.

1.     Most radio commercials are not well liked

Most are either perceived as being confusing, silly, banal or simply unclear about their core message.  Whatever the reason, they generally test low in “likeability” scores. Why is this important?  It’s like going out on a date with an obnoxious but very beautiful partner…they look good but you really don’t like them because they are not a good person.  It doesn’t make for a successful relationship.

So first, commercials must be liked by listeners to be effective.

2.     Most commercial messages are not clearly understood

Clarity is the key attribute for a radio commercial. Only research can reveal what the commercial says to listeners. Today’s messages sent out by a commercial isn’t the one received by the listener. 

Commercials must convey the client’s message very clearly to be effective.

3.     There are too many messages in each commercial

Advertisers can only get one message through at a time – if they are lucky.  Listeners are inundated with thousands of commercial messages every day. People’s Reticular Activating System is their ‘social secretary” that cuts out all those messages and only allows certain ones to get through. Think about the way you drove down a busy commercial street the last time.  You probably remember few, if any, of the businesses you passed - and there were probably hundreds of them. The ones you do remember have one thing that is of relevance to you; the rest are simply ignored. That’s your Reticular Activating System at work.

Commercials must contain only one clearly understood message to be effective.

4.     The messages listeners receive from most radio commercials are not relevant

At least not relevant enough to them to capture their attention. To bypass their Reticular Activating System, a commercial must have something of relevance to listeners.  Moreover, the thing that is of relevance to them must meet three criteria: it must have a direct benefit to them; it must be credible to them and it must be different from other competitive offerings – if not the message becomes just another piece of useless information and is discarded.  It’s a cruel world when it comes to marketing.

Commercials must contain messages that are truly relevant to the listener to be effective - and you can only get this information from target listeners themselves.

5.     Commercials promote the wrong features

The other problem with radio commercials’ effectiveness is clients’ messages often promote the wrong selling proposition. Take, for example, this family restaurant chain: research showed that customers wanted a “wide selection of delicious food in a clean environment” from them.  At the same time, industry research provided by the customer showed that the most important attributes for a family restaurant should be “good food, delivered fast at a low price”. However, because others already owned that position in the minds of the target customers (hello McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc.), if that message was what the client actually promoted, their commercial would not have been effective.

Commercials must promote benefits the listeners’ desire and believe to be true to be effective - not merely what the client thinks customers desire or worse, what they want to “push”.

6.     The commercial’s media campaign is inefficient

We have become conditioned to ensuring a commercial should get at least three repetitions to be effective. That’s true, but unless you perform a frequency distribution analysis for the campaign, commercials probably are getting too much frequency than needed or too little frequency to be effective for the client. That’s because stations generally look at the average frequency a campaign delivers - not the effective frequency a campaign delivers. When a frequency distribution analysis for a campaign is performed, usually the effective reach can be improved, often substantially, over the original schedule planned.

Do not confuse average frequency with effective frequency when designing your media campaigns for clients.

Act on these six points and your station’s commercials will be much more effective for your clients. This is not just altruism: your station benefits as well. Bad commercials are one of the top reasons for tuning out a radio station so it will help your programming by providing relevant content for your listeners.

Radio should be “a merchant of happiness”! Broadcasters are missing the extreme generational shift that’s taking place concerning “the new social capital”, the new definition of power and how you gain it.  Wait until you hear what investor Chamath Palihapitiya says in this Robert Scoble interview.      https://plus.google.com/+Scobleizer/posts/Mutg1ZRjVV6

Kevin Spacey – Netflix Learned – The Music Industry Didn’t

Give people what they want
When they want it
In the form they want it in
At a reasonable price

Local Media WAS Perfect…not so much now

Two minutes with Seth at the Borrell conference earlier this year.

This Weeks Must Watch - 20 Minutes With Seth

Put everything Seth is saying through the “radio funnel” and pay special attention at the 14:14 mark and apply it to yourself.  Enjoy.

This Is How You Fix Your Marketing!

Entire businesses have been built around the idea that your message is a nuisance according to Domino Theory.  Here are 6 different opinions from marketing experts outside of broadcasting concerning marketing and connecting with customers - (if not familiar with them…read their new books or blogs)

Seth Godin had these thoughts about radio 5 years ago when he talked with Mark Ramsey -

Seth GodinRadio may be inherently local.  But then why doesn’t my radio station know my zip code and my email address?  If I ran a radio station today I would say “how do I get every one of my listeners to sign up so I can have a direct relationship with them by phone and by email?  How do I learn what their zip code is and how do I discover what they’re interest in?  We’re going to define ourselves by how many people have come to us and said – here’s my contact info, here’s my twitter address, here’s my Facebook info so keep me up to date…that’s geography based.

Mitch Joel - No direct relationships = no future…“For a brand to truly shape its own destiny, it must lead the relationship with the consumerhttp://www.twistimage.com/mobile/books/

Jay Baer - marketing is all about providing something that customers not only would want to use, but would also find so valuable that it becomes an important part of their lives. http://www.youtilitybook.com/

Dave Trott - Don’t try to be liked. Find out how you’re different. Then be that. That’s where the power is. That’s what’s new. That’s what’s wanted”.   http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Mischief-1-Dave-Trott/dp/095643570X

Gary Vaynerchuk – social allows all of us to act more human…Not all impressions are the same.” http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130711182903-10486099-send-flowers-on-july-12th?trk=prof-post 

Don’t use your marketing budget on anything that is not directly impactful on your current active listeners.  It’s not about mass appeal…it’s about personal relevance. Let me conclude with another outside opinion on marketing. 

Domino Theory - This is how you fix your marketing! Give your customers a reason to talk about you! Give them an exceptional experience, treat them like individuals, and talk with them instead of at them. Educate them. But please, please stop telling them how great you are - they really don’t care because your marketing doesn’t care about your customers.  http://dominothry.com/

Platforms Happen

…it’s always always always about the content in a context that matters to me not you.  Why should I follow you to your latest .com? Give me a reason.  Don’t give me stuff that’s more serving of you than of me.   Radio you have an advantage…you are already trusted with my music choices.  Your online strategy has to be even better than your on-air strategy.  You need to know more about me the listener than my favorite songs.  This time it’s personal.  If you do it right then don’t worry about the platform just make sure you’re available on whatever platform I want to use you on. Make access easy or you’ve lost me it’s not worth the effort.  Finally…advertisers will always follow the crowd so stay focused on the only thing that really matters…ME…the listener and my life and watch me share you with my friends…don’t forget… it’s never about the platform…platforms happen.

Radio Stations Shouldn’t Make Money Until Their Clients Do

Fairytale_a_true_storyOnce upon a time, radio stations all over North America were making lots of money selling commercials to merchants. Every day, advertisers would pony up wads of money to present their products and services to the huge audiences the stations enjoyed.

One day, a mighty recession swept over the land putting many businesses “out-of business” so there were fewer advertisers to buy the stations’ commercials. At the very same time the “new media” were becoming more targeted towards specific market segments. This personalization resulted in these newer content providers finding people of all ages discovering their services.

As a result, radio stations’ revenues began to drop and stations foolishly fired lots of talented people, cut great programs that had attracted listeners and added lots of commercials in order to meet their growing company budgets.  Because of that their stations unwittingly became less attractive to listeners who then began to sample other sources like ITunes, Internet Radio stations, Pandora, etc.  The radio medium now seemed doomed to spiral downward into obscurity from its once lofty perch. Until finally Neil Gallagher and Mike Anthony two relatively unknown passionate people who believed that radio stations shouldn’t make money until their clients do, was able to show broadcasters how to increase the value of their commercials by making them much more effective for advertisers.

Now stations wouldn’t have to air as many commercials to reach their company targets.  Listeners loved it because the radio stations’ commercials were much more entertaining and informative and there were fewer of them so the medium began to grow again.

Neil Gallagher and Mike Anthony have made FairyTales come true for radio stations all across North America. We could be the best people in the world to make yours come true too.

The Collaborative Economy

by Mike Anthony

Broadcasters should be good with this concept. It’s the future of the platform.

Best-selling author and professor Don Tapscott explains the idea of a collaborative economy and how it’s changing the way we work.

You want to see what insanely great is?  Spend an hour with “Billion Dollar Hippy” - Inspiring!