Sorry, Mr. Advertiser, But I Can’t Take Your Money

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Sorry, Mr. Advertiser, But I Can’t Take Your Money

Person refusing moneyHave you ever walked up to the register to make a purchase and had the salesperson say to you, “I’m sorry but I can’t take your money. What you are buying is just not right for you!” Let’s face it, we all wish it would happen more when women over 20 years old continue to buy pants with words printed on the butt. But in the world of business does it ever happen? Speaking from the advertising agency side I can honestly say I’ve said it numerous times to potential clients who have products that just aren’t right for radio.

“Not right for radio?” you ask.  Well, next time you turn your radio on, listen carefully to who the advertisers are. Hear any ads for lipstick? Hear any ads for a $9.99 Super-duper Slicer & Dicer?  Nope! Just because a product advertises on television or in print does not make it a slam dunk for radio. Always keep in mind that radio only delivers its message through one of the five senses – hearing! Television is both sight and sound. Print is sight, touch and now even smell. It’s common sense that if your product requires visual demonstration or relies on fabulous before and after pictures, then radio probably isn’t the best medium.  (One notable exception is using a tactic called Imagery Transfer, where your radio commercial calls to mind your TV commercial, effectively inspiring the listener to “see” your TV ad as they hear your radio commercial.)

When people are listening to the radio they are more often than not doing something else. So for your radio ad to cut through the clutter, your product or service needs to sell itself with sound. The sound needs to paint a picture. The sounds need to make the listener realize your product or service “solves a problem.” The sound can obviously be the spoken word, but can also be ambient sound or sound effects. If you are a power company that wants your customers to know you are there for them during a storm, you can say it with words or drive home the message with the sounds of thunder and lightning in the background.

So the ruby red lipstick that sells itself better on the pouty lips of a supermodel or the Super-duper Slicer & Dicer that shows how quickly your carton of eggs can become egg salad simply isn’t going to play as well on the radio. You, as a marketer, need to appreciate those subtleties but also need to appreciate the agency that was honest enough to point that out instead of having you sign on the dotted line.

Monica Caraffa is a Senior Account Manager at The Radio Agency. Please follow The Radio Agency’s Blog “Sounding Board” by subscribing to the email or RSS links above. Visit our website