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A Loyal Reader sent me this radio spot.

The reader added, “Instead of answering the question, ‘What’s in it for me?’ it focuses on ‘What’s in it for the babysitter?’
Frankly, I couldn’t care less if my babysitter is inconvenienced if I write her a check for her services. If she doesn’t like it, I can find a new babysitter (and her sarcastic attitude indicates that she’s annoyed with the job, anyway).”

Dan’s Response:

Loyal Reader is correct.

(Effective) Radio Advertising Solves Problems.

As Loyal Reader points out, the only problem illustrated in that commercial is “the check you’re handing me and {shudder} the days it will take to clear.”

Let’s assume that, for babysitters, that’s a genuine problem.

But this radio ad doesn’t target babysitters.

It speaks to people who employ babysitters.

What problem does “pay your sitter easily with Zelle” solve for the employer?

As Loyal Reader suggests, if I were paying that babysitter I’d be looking for ways to make the experience even more annoying for her:

“Because odd-numbered years are unlucky, I’ve dated this check January 13, 2023. Please don’t try to deposit it before then.”

A Few More Structural Criticisms

The opening line of your commercial is the commercial for the commercial.

It’s your one opportunity to command the attention of the targeted listener — in this case, a bill-paying parent (or, more broadly, people who pay personal bills via check).

On a scale of 0 to 100, how successful is this opening line at commanding the attention of “people who pay their personal bills via check”?

Did I hear you say, “Minus 50”??

The Actual Target Audience

This campaign should be trying to reach:

– People who’ve never heard of Zelle but could find it to be a useful money-transferring tool

– People who are at least somewhat familiar with the product but haven’t become persuaded it’s something that would benefit them.

Does the Call to Action send them someplace (e.g., the advertiser’s website) that might show them how much better their lives will be with Zelle?


The Call to Action is, “Look for Zelle in your banking app.”


“Do you use a banking app? No, we don’t mean a debit card. Well, yes, if you log into your bank account online then technically you’re accessing a banking application, but we’re really talking about either mobile or desktop apps. What? No, not actually on your desk. In this instance, ‘desktop’ refers to what you see on your computer monitor…”

…and if the advertiser is lucky:

“You do use a banking app? Great! Go log into that app now and look for ‘Zelle’ and do whatever it tells you to do to sign up for it. Never mind why or how that possibly could benefit you. Just do it! Our 30 seconds are almost” —

— “…an Early Warning Services Trademark.”

Yep. We’re all familiar with “Primacy” and “Recency,” right?

The final words of your commercial have the greatest chance of being remembered, of reverberating in the prospect’s mind even after the spot has ended, of making a lasting impact on the targeted listener.

And what’s the Big Important Thing we really, really want the targeted listener to remember?

Right. “…{mumble mumble} Trademark.”

Overheard in Zelle’s Executive Suite

“How’s that radio campaign doing for us?”

“Great! I just heard it this morning.”

(High-fives all ’round.)

Download free radio copywriting audio seminar here.


successful radio campaign example

The other day in the private group for The Accents Class, someone mentioned, regretfully, that the production of a play by George Bernard Shaw, in which he’s performing, is reaching the end of its run.

“You familiar with The Shaw Festival?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah. Of course!”

That prompted me to share one of a number of radio commercials I created several years ago for one of my all-time favorite clients: The Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Why Are They One of My All-Time Favorite Clients?

Great people to work with. Smart, creative…and not afraid to consider addressing their target audience differently than most theaters ever would talk to their patrons.

Great product — world-class productions of world-class plays.

They Weren’t Too Lazy to Answer My Research Questions.

They made my job as copywriter easy by thoughtfully answering the 37 questions I posed to them.

While they may have wondered why I would ask some of those questions, I had no way of knowing which question(s) would present to me the clue that cracked open the story I would need to tell.

In this instance, it was a question about the most common reasons that prevent theatre-lovers from attending as frequently as they should.

They Didn’t Balk at the Prospect of a Radio Advertising Campaign that Accuses the Advertiser of Having Been Less than Honest.

They didn’t freak out when the commercials I wrote acknowledged and even amplified one of the key objections that needed to be overcome.
Hopefully you’ll be able to figure out what that big objection was.


Learning Accents & Dialects {3rd & Final Video}

In this video, we wrap up my interview with the guy many people consider to be the best dialect coach in the world, Jim Johnson.

* The 3 things you want to accomplish when working on an accent

* Why not all words are created equal

* The overlooked power of accent indicators

* Difference between dialects & accents. (Many people define them incorrectly — especially many “purists.”)

* Playing with Swedish, French, German, Northern Irish, Caribbean, New York Jewish, Pittsburgh, and Yorkshire accents.

Hey – This is the final installment of my conversation Jim, but I’ve got 3 more videos devoted to dialects & accents for you.

So I can let you know when the next one is ready, join the Alert List at https://danoday.com/the-accents-class

dialect coaches,accent coach,dialectscoach


Here’s the second installment in a 3-part interview with the guy who’s become known as “the” person for an actor, voice actor or audiobook narrator to go to for accent and/or dialect coaching.

This 16-minute video includes:

* Game of Thrones —  coaching actors in both “Duthruckie” and “Valerian”

* Two things to avoid when looking for accents on YouTube

* Success milestones you should look for when learning dialects

* A closer examination of the Yorkshire accent

* Estuary accents

* The 3 ways for you to use the IPA (and the problem with the commonly prescribed “Broad Transcription” usage)

* The biggest thing that gets in the way of people doing accents

* Jim decodes my own speech pattern to identify where I grew up

We still have half a dozen “accent/dialect” videos ahead of us. Want us to let you know when they’re ready? Join the Alert List at https://danoday.com/the-accents-class.

How to speak Duthruckie and Valerian



Highlights of this first of three parts of an unscripted, freewheeling discussion of the ways one of the world’s leading dialect coaches “breaks through” the barriers that needlessly restrict actors, voice actors and audiobook narrators from accepting jobs that require convincing accents include:

* His own big breakthrough

* The most common misconception people have about learning accents/dialects

* Misconceptions about using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)

* “The beard nod”

* Jim’s unique way of gathering “native speaker” recordings

* The differing values of hearing native speakers reading vs. hearing native speakers in conversation

* The Accent Wagon

* The most common reason people find themselves struggling with accents

* How understanding the culture can help you perform the accent more easily and convincinglyLearn dialects accents