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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.)

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