DON’T Use That Song in Your Commercial

no-symbol_zysm5LId_LI was recently invited to provide a short voiceover for a business video intended for presentation at an upcoming trade show.  I was offered dinner and wine for two at a swanky restaurant, which I calculated to be worth around $150, give or take. Since the individual in question was in something of a time crunch, I agreed to drop what I was doing and have a look at his project. So, I stopped by their office to pick up the copy.

A few minutes later I walked out, having declined the job.

The script they wanted me to read was (with the exception of one word substituted for “farmer”) a word-for-word ripoff of Paul Harvey’s famous “So God Made a Farmer” speech to the FFA, which reached a wider audience a few years ago as a Chrysler commercial for the Super Bowl.

Of course, it was a great piece of copy. Paul Harvey was a master of wordcraft.

But it wasn’t theirs to use.

I asked the individuals if they’d obtained permission to use the copyrighted script. Obviously, they hadn’t. A short while later I received a text saying they were scrapping the project.  But they’d already used the same script at least twice before, for different corporate video presentations. The regional media and marketing company that produced the video should have known better, but evidently didn’t know – or didn’t care enough to give it a second thought.

To put it plainly, using someone else’s copyrighted material in your advertising is illegal and unethical.

Whether it’s a photograph you’ve snagged off the internet to use on your website or a hit song you’d like to use in a radio or television commercial, if it’s copyrighted intellectual property, you can’t use it legally without going through proper channels to license it for this purpose — a cost-prohibitive situation for all but the very deep-pocketed national advertisers.

A number of radio companies have been sued in recent weeks for unauthorized use of celebrity photos on their websites. In this week’s Small Market Radio Newsletter, publisher Jay Mitchell wrote the following warning to broadcasters:

How Not to Get Sued
If you’ve been keeping up, you know that no one is immune from potentially-crippling legal action from photographers and image agencies targeting websites of deep-pocketed (or so they think) broadcasting companies.

News flash: It’s not just the big groups that are in danger.

While none of our radio web clients have been snagged—we monitor things like that, and as a result, they’re extremely careful—a small business client did get slammed by Getty Images for a picture that was used “FPO” (for position only) during the development phase and left up by mistake when the site went live. (That dumb mistake cost us $500, but it could have been much more.)

The thing is, you can still access pretty much every image you want or need—you just have to know where they come from, and what the usage rights are.

We all use Google to find appropriate images to illustrate our web pages, stories, and promotions. When we do, we usually enter the keywords into the search field, then click on “Images.” There’s one extra step you can take to avoid trouble. After you’ve performed your search, filter the results this way:
1. Click on “Search Tools.”
2. Click on “Usage Rights.”
3. Click on “Labeled for reuse.”
4. What now displays is probably safe to use—but you need to look more closely.

The usage rights of most, if not all, of the images you see are governed by the Creative Commons licensing system. Some images, noted by “CC0,” are in the public domain and completely free of all restrictions. Others are only for noncommercial use, others cannot be altered, and some can be used only with attribution.

To find out more, you have to view the image in context—on the web page from where it came. To do this, click on an image, then click on “Visit page.” Locate your image, then click on it to display the actual usage rights. The image on this page [there was a picture of cats -RS] was located just that way; its rights are listed as “CC0 Public Domain | Free for commercial use | No attribution required”

To play it even safer, go directly to websites that participate in the Creative Commons system—some of which are Flikr, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay and Vimeo. (For more information, visit www.creativecommons.org.)

The image you want—as long as it’s licensed for commercial use—may require attribution. Play fair, give the photographer his or her due, and you’ll never have to worry about getting sued.
—Editor

Longtime radio talent coach and advertising guru Dan O’Day has written extensively on the subject of using copyrighted music in your radio advertising. (His advice, in a word: Don’t. )  But it’s such a common and pervasive problem that years ago he wrote a book on the subject, intended primarily for radio station production departments, but useful for anyone involved in radio advertising.

Just as there are plenty of legal ways to obtain photographs and illustrations for your website or print pieces, so there are many sources for royalty-free music that can be used as theme music for your business. Most radio stations have in-house libraries of such music. Others subscribe to online royalty-free music services (as I do for my own business). If you really want to set yourself apart, consider partnering with a jingle production company — I can recommend several — that will create a piece of catchy music or a song that will be yours and yours alone, as for instance…

So, to avoid finding yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit (even if the possibility is remote, the penalty can be severe), avoid using copyrighted materials belonging to someone else in your advertising.

________________

Rod

Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What You Don’t Know About Millennials

Touch the Code

Millennials – the same as the rest of us?

I was working on a post on this very theme when the weekly Small Market Radio Newsletter appeared in my inbox and I read my friend Jay Mitchell’s summary of the most recent research into the media consumption habits of Millennials. Seeing no reason to reinvent the wheel, I decided just to share the article verbatim.

One thing I’d add: when discussing “Millennials,” there’s a great temptation to lump the entire generation into one category and assume their attitudes, preferences, and worldview are monolithic. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you want to understand Millennials, you need to understand that they are not a different species from, say, “Baby Boomers” or “Generation Xers.”  Roy H. Williams put it this way in the ninth of his “Ten Most Common Mistakes In Marketing,”

  1. Believing that “Millennials” Aren’t Like the Rest of Us

Millennials aren’t a tribe, they are a collection of tribes. They do not behave as a single, cohesive birth cohort. Google “Millennials” and the dictionary definition that will pop up will show the word “millennial” most commonly used in this sentence: “The industry brims with theories on what makes millennials tick.” But when you look at a list of what millennials supposedly want, it’s exactly what the rest of us want. Yes, they’re not like we “50-somethings” used to be, but then we’re not like we used to be, either.

So, without further ado…

Millennial Myths and Realities

Bob Hoffman, creator of the widely read Ad Contrarian blog, says, “I hate the embarrassing obsession with Millennials that has been the fetish of the self-absorbed ad industry for almost a decade.” At the risk of obsessing, Westwood One wanted to examine frequently heard beliefs about Millennial media habits. We turned to Nielsen, Edison Research,
and The Advertising Research Foundation to check the facts on these assumptions. Test your knowledge.
MYTH:
“Millennials spend all their time on smartphones.”
REALITY:
Millennials spend two-thirds of their media time with TV and radio.
Source: The Nielsen Total Audience Report Q2 2015, Monday-Friday. TV Connected Devices = DVD, Game Console,
Multimedia Device, VCR. Adults 18-34 share of average audience Monday-Friday from 6A-12M
MYTH:
“If you want mass reach with Millennials, go with television.”
REALITY:
AM/FM radio is America’s #1 mass reach medium Nearly 2 out of 5 Millennials are NOT reached by ad-supported TV. % of persons 18-34 reached weekly AM/FM radio 18-34 reach TV 18-34 reach.
Source: Nielsen Comparable Metrics Report Q3 2015 / Weekly Reach % from Q3 2014 and Q3 2015 for TV and Radio
MYTH:
“No one under 35 listens to AM/FM radio anymore.”
REALITY:
More Millennials listen to AM/FM radio each week than any other generation.
NUMBER OF LISTENERS REACHED EACH WEEK
• Millennials (18-34)—67 million
• Gen X (35-49)—57 million
• Boomers (50-64)—58 million
MYTH:
“Six out of 10 agencies/marketers believe Millennial radio listening is dropping.”
REALITY:
18-34 Millennial listening to AM/FM radio is up 6%.
Source: Nielsen 48 portable people meter markets, persons 18-34, June 16 versus June 15, Monday-Friday 6AM-7PM. Adults 18-34 +6% June 2016 vs. June 2015
MYTH:
“In the car, the number one thing Millennials do is stream online radio on their smartphones.”
REALITY:
AM/FM radio is the centerpiece of 18-34 in-car audio.
Source: Edison Research, “Share of Ear,” Q4 2015. 
PERSONS 18-34—IN CAR LISTENING
AM/FM radio—67%
• Pandora—3%
• SiriusXM—9%
• Owned music—15%
• Podcasts—2%
• Spotify—2%
• Other streaming audio—1%
• Music Videos On YouTube—1%
MYTH:
“The number one way Millennials learn about new music is from streaming and social media.”
REALITY:
AM/FM radio is the #1 source of music discovery.
Source: Nielsen Music 360 Study; data collected July 18-August 3, 2015 among 3,305 consumers
MYTH:
“Millennials mostly listen to cool indie music from unknown artists.”
REALITY:
Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Country, and Rock are the leading 18-34 radio formats.
Source: Nielsen Audio Today Tapscan Web National Regional Database, Fall 2015; M-Sun 6a-12m
MYTH:
“The optimal media plan to reach Millennials: put all your money into mobile and social.”
REALITY:
The optimal media mix for Millennials is 71% traditional and 29% digital.
Source: The Advertising Research Foundation Optimal Media Mix, “How Advertising Works: Ground Truth Experiment,” March 2016 
-reprinted from Small Market Radio Newsletter (July 21, 2016)

________________

Rod

Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Speaking of “Word of Mouth…”

“Word-of-mouth” is not advertising.  It’s a personal recommendation.  It starts with someone being deeply impressed by a product or service, so much so that when an opportunity arises, he or she tells another person about it.

With this in mind, may I offer you a few recommendations of my own?

  1. Cremo-225x300For gentlemen who shave regularly, I urge you to try a product called Cremo, about which I wrote at some length recently. It comes in several varieties, of which “Cooling” is my favorite; I like the icy sensation that lingers for a few minutes after shaving. If you currently use a foam, gel, or “boar’s hair brush and shaving soap,” as someone recently mentioned to me, I’m pretty sure that you won’t go back to them after trying Cremo. (Unless, of course, you prefer a less-smooth shave and more frequent nicks.) It’s astonishingly good stuff.

2. Ultima Paint Guard PlusFor automobile owners who wax their cars and trucks occasionally after washing them, I can’t speak highly enough about a product called Ultima Paint Guard Plus. You know how traditional waxing works: apply the liquid or paste wax, let it dry to a haze, then wipe it off and buff with a clean cloth, resulting in a shiny, glass-smooth protective finish. Ultima Paint Guard Plus provides the same result, only it eliminates the need for wiping and buffing. What it has saved me in time and effort more than compensates for its premium price, and its protection lasts for months.

IMG_30023.  If you like products that improve efficiency, you might enjoy this. Recently, I replaced a couple of outdoor spigots for our garden and soaker hoses. Instead of buying hose bibbs with standard valve faucets that turn counter-clockwise to open and clockwise to close, I chose to go with ball-valve spigots that go from full-off to full-on with just a quarter-turn of the handle. If you suffer from arthritis, as I do, it’s a little change that makes a definite difference.

ginger beer4. Homemade ginger beer. A few years ago, at my younger daughter’s insistence, I tried South Fork’s ginger beer. It’s non-alcoholic, full of flavor, and really refreshing. I asked our waiter about their recipe. He said there are all kinds of recipes out there and it’s pretty simple to make. So, I asked Google and began to experiment. Two years later, I’ve settled on a recipe that’s easy and bulletproof. Ingredients are: ginger juice (extracted from ginger root), lemon juice, yeast, sugar, and water. After you’ve made it a few times, you might experiment with the addition of other juices and spices for fun. Here’s the full recipe, along with a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way. Enjoy!

So, there are four specific instances of word-of-mouth…recommendations from me to you.

Have any good recommendations of your own? I’d love to hear about them.

________________

Rod-148x150Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Penetrating the Consumer Brain

medical_110006293-011314intThe goal of all advertising is simply to penetrate the human brain*, the seat of all our thoughts, emotions, and choices.

My goal as an advertising professional – and yours as a business owner – is to make your company the first one in your category that prospects think of and feel the best about supporting with their dollars. 

It’s honestly that simple.

And the process of getting there is simple, too.

Just say something that matters to your prospective customers. And keep on saying it.

But here’s the thing: how do you know what matters to them?  Think it’s the fact you’ve been in business for 50 years? That you “service what you sell?” Or that you’re “conveniently located?”

Sorry, but you’re probably the only person who cares about these things.

Here’s a hint: good advertising isn’t about you or your business. It’s about your future customer. How much do you know about her world? What does she care about?

It seems so obvious: what matters to consumers is themselves. They’re preoccupied with their needs. Their wants. Their dreams. Their aspirations. Their spouses. Their kids. Their entertainment. Their adventures. Their trials and tribulations. Their heartbreaks. Their jobs. Their health. And so on.

Don’t get me wrong. Good advertising doesn’t leave you out of the picture; it just puts you in the proper place: alongside your customer as a helper, a resource, even a friend.

“An ad should ideally be like one end of an interesting conversation.”       – Howard Luck Gossage

Here’s a good example of this. 

We’re hearing only one side of the conversation here, but there’s no doubt that this advertiser is all about helping the customer.

Here’s another – from a Realtor® who isn’t even identified until the end of the spot.  Why? Because the message is really all about what matters to the prospect, in this case a homeowner. 

So, who are your ads all about?

Speak to your future customers about things that matter to them, in language they can relate to, with enough emotion to show that you care about them, and they’ll come dancing into your store or business.

A mentor once told me, “Advertising is a simple business made complicated by difficult people.”  Life is difficult enough. Let’s keep your advertising simple.

And make it simply effective.

*Penetrating the brain with advertising means your message must go through the eye gate, the ear gate, or both. Consumers tend to prefer the ear gate, whereas advertisers tend to prefer the eye gate. Why is that?

________________

Rod

Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Made in America. Kindasorta.

usa-flag-sunburst-background_zJJC90wO_L

 

 

 

 

 

In an article from The Detroit Bureau (“The Voice of the Automotive World” – although Crain’s Automotive News might take exception) the headline a couple days ago read:

The most ‘American’ car on the road? Toyota Camry.

For the second year in a row the Toyota Camry is the “most American” vehicle on U.S. roadways, according to Cars.com’s annual American-Made Index.

The index determines the most American vehicle based on factors such as American-made parts content, location of the final build and overall sales. In order to get on the list, vehicles must have at least 75% of their parts produced domestically.

This is the stumbling block for most vehicles. In fact, only eight vehicles made this year’s list, and five of the eight come from foreign nameplates. The last time an American vehicle topped the list was in 2014 when the Ford F-150 was top dog; however, less than 75% of its components are made in the U.S.

Reading this piece brought to mind a commercial I did back in the mid-1980’s, during the Reagan presidency, when “Buy American” was the rallying cry for so many domestic businesses and brands. Lots of businesses had signs in the windows and on their marquees and reader-boards exhorting customers to buy American-made products.

Enter Esselburn Toyota, our local Toyota dealership in Moscow, Idaho. It had been called College Place Toyota, but the Larry Miller group of Salt Lake City purchased it and sent one of their superstars, Ed Esselburn, to run it.  In those days, they were selling as many Toyotas as they could get their hands on. Ed eventually purchased the dealership, ran it successfully for a number of years, then sold it and retired to pursue golf and other interests.

Ed was a fun guy to work with. We built a successful campaign around his “Crazy Eddie” persona – “Call me crazy, call me Eddie, or call me Crazy Eddie. Just call!” and he was a regular fixture on the local airwaves.

In 1986 Toyota was in the news because they were building a manufacturing plant in Kentucky. It occurred to me that it might be fun to try to “Americanize” the local Toyota dealership, and eventually I hit on the idea of having a local barbershop quartet sing a song about Esselburn Toyota.  What could be more American-sounding than barbershop?! And one of its members happened to be the guy hosting our then-new radio auction program. So one evening I stayed up late, rewriting the lyrics to “Lida Rose” (a song popularized by the Buffalo Bills in the movie version of The Music Man), and brought the barbershop quartet in to record it at the radio station.

The result was this:

Corny? You betcha. But the irony of a barbershop quartet singing about a Japanese brand was not lost on the audience, and Esselburn Toyota got plenty of attention for it. Today, 30 years later, it seems a fitting reminiscence as we head into the Independence Day weekend.

Hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

______________

Rod

Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ten Most Common Mistakes in Marketing

Many years ago the Wizard of Ads®, sometimes known as Roy H. Williams, published a best-selling business book in which he discussed the Twelve Most Common Mistakes in Advertising. His insights were praised by advertisers and advertising professionals alike. Eventually they were distilled into a widely circulated 45-minute video presentation, still available on DVD and as an instant video download on Amazon. For a business owner wanting to avoid common pitfalls and expensive advertising mistakes, it’s worth its weight in gold.

In the Monday Morning Memo of June 27, 2016, Williams introduces a shiny new compilation: the Ten Most Common Mistakes in Marketing. Reading it today, it strikes me not so much as a replacement for his earlier list but a refinement, prompted partially by the proliferation of social media (most notably Facebook, about which the Wizard has spoken in some detail here and here. In the latter memo, he referenced a detailed experiment that bluntly concluded “Facebook ads don’t work“).

Accordingly, the lead item in the Wizard’s new compilation is this:

  1. Inappropriate Use of Social Media

The whole world is on FaceBook, but is that the right place for your product or service to be advertised? To get a clear idea of the kinds of offers that are working well on FaceBook, go to the Success Stories page at FaceBook.com. Judging from this list of success stories, it would appear that FaceBook works extremely well for getting people together socially, not so well for hard goods and services. (HINT: I think there may be a reason they call it “social” media.)

Other mistakes he notes in the new list include Over Confidence in the Value of Targeting, Assumption that Every Message is Relevant, Fear of Criticism, Unsubstantiated Claims, and Assuming the Decision-Maker is the Only Person You Need to Reach.  His observations, as usual, are spot-on.

Whatever your business, you should check out the Ten Most Common Mistakes in Marketing. You can download the .pdf version here.

You’re welcome.

________________

Rod-148x150Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.

Posted in Advertising (General), Branding, Business, Copy, Copywriting, Internet, Sales & Marketing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When You Say America, You’ve Said It All

“With the backdrop of the Olympics and a comically botched election, this summer is bound to be what Ricardo Marques, a vice president from Budweiser, calls ‘maybe the most American summer ever.’

“So Budweiser is going to potentially ingenious, potentially absurd branding extremes. The company has kept the same can you already know, but when you look closely, you’ll realize that it has swapped out its own name, ‘Budweiser,’ for ‘America.'” (FastCoDesign)

FAST COMPANY’S take on the Budweiser-to-America “identity swap” is an entertaining three-minute read, about an iconic American brand’s new identity – at least through the remainder of the year.

On the one hand, it takes a strong, self-confident brand to “literally erase their own name off a package and put a country instead…”  On the other, the foamy tsunami of free exposure and buzz pretty much erases any real risk to the brand. Bud fans still know what’s in the can, so they won’t drink any less of the stuff. And beer lovers who normally abstain from Bud and similar mass-produced brews in favor of their favorite micros, will likely buy some America just for the novelty.

Budweiser – I mean, America – is probably going to sell a record amount of their beer this summer, especially with what are bound to be some catchy ads for the Summer Games, solely on the basis of the name-change. Collectors will scoop up cases and stash them, hoping they’ll be worth some money forty or fifty years hence. Remember “Billy” beer? Today you can buy a full 6-pack on eBay for $59.

Of course, opinion is divided as to whether hanging on to Billy was a good move.

So, will you be buying some America?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radio Ads Outperform Other Media In Actual R.O.I.

England map and UK Flag

On air

LONDON: The £592m spent on radio advertising in the UK in 2015 represented a value of £4.6bn to advertisers, according to a new report.

British advertisers using radio there enjoyed a return on investment (ROI) of £7.70 for every £1 spent, according to this June 2, 2016 article from media publisher Warc, reporting on a new study by Oxford Economics for Radiocentre, the industry body for commercial radio.

According to their study, entitled The Value of Commercial Radio to the UK Economy (click link for a full copy),

Despite the “explosive” growth of consumers streaming music, the report noted that this has generally been a substitute for music purchase and is becoming the way that people listen to their own music collection; “radio stations still play a fundamental role in driving music sales…”

The Warc article quotes Siobhan Kenny, CEO of Radiocentre: “Commercial radio’s popularity with listeners is not in doubt with an incredible weekly audience of 34.3m. However the economic activity it supports has never been examined in any detail. The results are impressive…”

Oxford Economics’ conclusions regarding commercial radio advertising’s impressive ROI for advertisers mirrors those of Neilsen research in the United States, whose landmark 2014 study confirmed big returns on relatively small outlays by advertisers. In an Advertising Age article, “Which Medium Scores Highest ROI? It May Be Radio,” an average return of $6.21 was reported for each $1 invested in radio advertising in the USA, according to a detailed study of ten different brands.

Local advertisers using radio don’t have sophisticated and expensive research studies to reinforce the wisdom of their decision to invest in local radio. Still, many are able to measure the effectiveness of their advertising through increases in traffic and sales of advertised products and services, along with abundant anecdotal evidence that their messages are reaching and influencing local shoppers.

From time to time, we’ll share some of their success stories with you here.  Stay tuned.

______________

Rod-148x150Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.

Posted in Magazine, Newspaper, Radio Advertising, Radio Commercials, Radio Copywriting, Radio Production, Sales, Sales & Marketing, Storytelling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cremo of the Crop

cooling-mens-shave-cream-frontcooling-mens-shave-cream-backSome time ago I heard Michael Savage reading a commercial for a men’s shaving product called Cremo and boy, did he sound excited.

Now because I shave regularly and, like most guys, occasionally nick myself, his message caught my attention and the name of the product stuck in my mind.

So later I’m walking down the aisle with all the shaving products and there amongst the cans of foams and gels is a bunch of Cremo. I pick up a tube and start reading some of the best advertising copy I’ve seen:  

Impossibly slick formula dramatically reduces nicks and razor irritation.

Can give you the closest, most comfortable shave and astonishingly smooth skin.

Invigorates skin with cooling peppermint, menthol, and tea tree oil

My right brain responds with, Hey, this sounds really good!  The left brain counters: But it’s more than twice the price of the stuff you’ve been using.

Yes, at nearly six bucks a tube it’s double the cost. But then I notice the “90-day supply” part – and the claim on the back that “one tube can outlast several containers of gels or foams.” So, with both sides of the brain in agreement, that tube of Cremo goes into the cart.

First time I use it, I’m impressed. And it occurs to me that the only part of a shaving product that matters is that thin film between the razor blade and the skin. All the foam that sits above the razor does nothing! The Cremo lives up to its considerable hype and now I’m hooked – as is my new son-in-law, thanks to his observant wife who heard me talking about how good it is and decided to pick some up for her husband. (Word-of-mouth rarely gets attributed to advertising, but here’s an illustration of how it happens.)

Turns out Savage wasn’t exaggerating in this case. Which makes me wonder if the Cremo people are as impressed with their radio advertising as I am with their product. So I contacted the Cremo Company to ask about their success with radio advertising and here’s what Fred Greene, their Director of Customer Care, had to say:

“(R)adio is what we’ve been doing for the past few years when we didn’t have “big” (in quotes–always relative) budgets and it has been so very valuable to our efforts to grow awareness and increase sales.  Of course, where you advertise and with whom matters, but we’ve had an amazing response, registered at checkout and in our Customer Service feedback.”

As a consumer and a radio guy, I think that’s cool. And I’m glad to have heard the ad and acted on it as, evidently, a lot of other listeners across the country are, too.

________________

Rod

Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Please Text and Drive

That got your attention, didn’t it?  

But why did it grab you?

  1. Because the message is short and to-the-point. Easy to comprehend.
  2. Because the message shocked you, at least a little. If you know of someone who died in an accident caused by texting while driving, it’s possibly even offensive.
  3. Because the message is antithetical to everything you’ve ever read or heard about texting and driving. Without the word “Don’t” at the beginning, it’s an invitation to risk sudden death. Not what you’d expect.

And that, of course, is the whole point. Until you come to the realization (as you must) that the real message just the opposite of the obvious one. You can’t help but be deeply impressed by it, with no effort on your part required.

Most billboard advertising that I see in my market is ineffectual. Partly because so many billboards are too far away from the road for motorists (their primary audience) to notice them, and partly because they’re crammed with too many words. Even those who notice them can’t read them.

But this billboard? Just three words in large type, surrounded by white space. It’s meant to be noticed.

And its message is deliberately easy to read and comprehend in its entirety: TEXT AND DRIVE

The only other item on the billboard is the name of the advertiser, Wathan Funeral Home. And that combination of message and advertiser begs for further investigation. So when you arrive home or at the office (or maybe you just pull off the side of the road and whip out your smartphone), you Google “Wathan Funeral Home” and up pops their website, wathanfuneral.com.  And for the next minute or two, you engage with them, giving them one more opportunity to drive their message home and give you something to think about. As I said, deeply impressed.

Here’s the companion video for this exceptional ad campaign, created by Canadian ad agency John St. and outdoor ad placement company Cieslok Media.

________________

Rod

Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.

[contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment