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Opening paragraph of an article in a national business magazine….

“What does it take to be a marketing expert? If expertise is all about familiarity, then just about everybody in America qualifies.”

Um, I hate to break it to that magazine, but expertise “is all about” understanding, not familiarity.

The bane of radio advertising, in particular, is that everyone is “familiar” with it.

Radio commercials are just words, mostly.

And because everyone can speak, everyone assumes they can create a radio commercial.

So they do.

The truth is that anyone can create a bad radio commercial.

So they do.

Radio won’t begin to garner a larger percentage of the overall advertising dollar until it earns it — by giving up the indefensible practice of allowing its commercials to be written by anyone, no matter how unqualified.

That includes clients who don’t have a clue but are encouraged to write their own spots….

Salespeople who have been taught how to sell advertising but have absolutely no advertising education or expertise….

And production people who love playing with the cool toys but have never read even one book or taken a single course in advertising.

But I don’t blame those clients, account executives, and production geeks.

I blame those radio owners and managers who don’t care enough about their clients’ welfare to set higher standards.

Why is there so much bad radio advertising?

Because our industry allows it.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Craig Burnett January 26, 2012, 9:24 am

    You’re right, Dan. If I hear one more spot with two female salespeople pretending to share secrets about the client’s product or service with one another, I’m going to hurl.

    It’s really a shame to see how far the bar has been lowered.

  • Ella Morris January 26, 2012, 3:24 pm

    I find this ironic, but am very impressed you took to task a situation you’re own station suffers from. But you are spot on. My Uncle in central Florida that was in advertising. His commercials were amazing, like the Super Bowl ads, you found yourself gravitating to the commercials sometimes more than the production. They made the product three dimensional, with colorful artistic words, carefully arranged to target the audience for impact in less than 30 seconds, and people never had to question what, where, and how to get it. It’s a gift. Now with a multitude of optional and seemingly plethora of listening pleasures, you would think that radio would step it up and get it.
    They don’t. Eventually you get what you pay for.

  • Neal Angell January 26, 2012, 5:56 pm

    I’m afraid too many account reps have a selling philosophy of: “Whatever you say is fine if you sign on the dotted line.”

  • Chris Pollard February 22, 2012, 6:57 am

    Y’know what burns me up worse than all the client-written drivel on earth? The ones who need to ‘REALLY pump up’ this ‘unbeatable’ offer …. and wonder why nobody beats down the door to ‘save the tax’ on some reasonably nondescript product that they don’t particularly ‘need.’

    Then they whine about how traffic was kind of slow.

    Of course it was. What was the offer? Give me a truly exceptional offer, and we can make people stand in line to get in your door. Offer the same crap you did two weeks ago, and two weeks before that, and two before that … etc … and not even great comedy can sell it.

    Want your ads to actually WORK? Give people something worth hearing about – and telling their 300 closest Facebook friends about.