Recently, I was driving down a highway when I saw one of the worst billboards in the history of billboards. It was for a fitness company and it had several pictures, three different offers, words of all different sizes, and then, in the upper right-hand section, it didn’t have the name of the business, but the initials of the business.
After seeing it once, I ended up seeing it a couple more times on my way to a soccer game. On the way back, I tried to play a game with myself and see how much of this billboard I could truly see in one passing, if I stared at it the entire time (not remotely safe, of course). In the end, I never could quite catch all of the offers. I asked several other people if they saw the billboards and two people said they did, neither one of which could correctly identify the company that was being advertised. One thought it was for a labor union and another thought it was for a nutrition store.
Nothing I can’t stand more than bad advertising.
There’s an auto dealership in the Midwest who has the worst television commercials in America, but they aren’t the kind where they’re supposed to be bad. We’ve all heard some things over the years that are so bad, they’re good. This is bad that is really, really bad. And not only is the creative horrific, the commercials are mostly inaudible. They sound like they’re recorded off the microphone of a really bad video camera from 1996. And they run on TV all the time.
What a waste of money.
I share these advertisers with you to follow up a point I’ve made many times in this space, which is the importance of creative and being a full marketing consultant to your clients. Do not ever let your clients be an example of bad advertising.
Think of the best commercials you can remember and emulate those someway, somehow. Perhaps it’s the creativity of GEICO, the storytelling of Anheuser-Busch, the unforgettable jingles beat in your head from McDonald’s, or the Hardee’s commercials with the dripping burgers (you know the ones).
What about those types of commercials makes them memorable? First off, the repetition. Our local direct customers will tell us they don’t have McDonald’s budget, but regardless, it underscores the principle of frequency of message. Secondly, they bring out an emotion. They might make you laugh, make you a little sad, make you excited enough to sing or however it is those Hardee’s commercials are supposed to make you feel, but something triggers.
Running an ad for your client’s new sports bar that says they have “the best burgers, the best-looking wait staff, the baddest happy hour specials and the coldest beer in town,” kills any chance of that advertiser succeeding with their marketing. Make a listener feel like that juicy, mouth-watering, cheesy burger on that made from scratch, warm bun is going to be the best thing they ever put in their mouth, and they’re on their way to see your client.
Creativity is such a huge part of the sports radio sell and that should extend to the spots we air for our clients. Radio advertising is mostly about the formula of what your message is, multiplied by how many times your message airs. The rest is all in the creativity. It’s kind of like the saying, ‘give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.’ For us, it’s more like ‘sell a schedule to a client, you might keep them for a bit, help a client create a memorable, creative ad campaign, and you keep them forever!’