An Insiders Secret to Radio Commercials

During my 20 plus years in the radio bs, I mean radio business, I have discovered that there are lots and lots of people who can create radio bs and if they are in the sales and advertising part of this business, then that is dangerous. The bs I am referring to is the opposite of truth and integrity.

A question that is sometimes asked, is how long should a radio commercial be? 1 minute? Half a minute? 15 seconds? This week I found an article written by Roy Williams, the self proclaimed Wizard of Ads that answers this question. If you want more information on any of this, go ahead and contact me. Depending on your needs and location, we’ll either get together in person, via the phone, or internet….

Here’s what Roy says:

How Long Should Your Ad Be… 60s, 30s, 15s, or Mentions?

Thu, September 27, 2007

2-men--ruler.jpgBy Roy H. Williams

Shakespeare would argue for ten-second radio ads, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” But W.C. Fields would suggest sixties, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.” I agree with both.

When people ask, “What’s the best length radio ad?” I always think of Abe Lincoln’s answer when asked, “How long should a man’s legs be?” Long enough to reach the ground.

In other words, an ad should be exactly as long as it takes to say what needs to be said.

Use 60-second ads when:
1. …your message is complex. Better to write a 60 that makes your message clear than a 30 that leaves doubts and questions.

2. …you need to include specific details to help persuade. Specifics are always more believable than generalities. Close the loophole. Answer the question lurking in the listener’s mind. But don’t bore your audience by answering questions no one was asking.

3. …you’re in a business category that’s new and not easily understood. If first you must create the realization of need before you can sell your solution, it can easily take 60 seconds.

4. …you need to “baffle them with bull.” If you sell a generic commodity and your strategy is for people to buy from you simply because they like you better, you’re going to need a world-class creative team. These ads are, without question, the hardest of all ads to write. But they can also be the most entertaining. These are the times when your production people can shine like the sun. Inspire them but don’t instruct them. Buy them food, give them praise, remind them that they’re geniuses and yes, everyone misunderstands them but you. Production people live to create ads like these, but you’ve got to give them time, encouragement and freedom. And maybe beer.

Use 30-second ads when:
1. …your product or service category is clearly understood and you’re making an easy-to-understand offer. Say it plain. Say it straight. Eliminate all but the most essential adjectives and adverbs. Replace clichés and predictable phrases with unanticipated wording. Focus on verbs and use as many as possible. Make one point per ad, but make it powerfully in the script. Please, for the love of God, don’t write a weak message and then try to compensate for it with powerful delivery (vocal inflection, dramatic music, sound effects.) The seventies are over.

Use 15-second ads when:

1. …you have an incredibly powerful, simple message. Don’t screw it up by blah, blah, blahing for thirty seconds when you can say it more powerfully in fifteen. Sadly, many ad writers fall into the trap described so eloquently by Blaise Pascal, “I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” At least twenty-five percent of the thirties on most stations would really work better as fifteens. Tight, powerful ads are hard to write, but definitely worth the effort.

2. …you’re in a business category in which no one advertises but you. When path dominance has be acquiesced to you by your competitors and simple name recognition will likely be enough to make customers think of your name when they need what you sell, don’t be an idiot, buy fifteens and mentions.

Use mentions when:
1. …you sell a commodity in a crowded marketplace and your strategy is to go for Top-Of-Mind-Awareness. (I’ve long suggested that radio stations fund a TOMA study every two years. You’ll be amazed at the impact a “marketplace snapshot” will have on your advertisers.)

2. …you merely want to add additional frequency to a schedule that is delivering barely-sufficient frequency of your thirty or sixty-second message. But don’t fool yourself by calculating a reach and frequency analysis that lumps the mentions into the same schedule as the thirties and/or sixties. The schedule of full-length ad must deliver sufficient frequency on its own. Mentions are merely gravy for these schedules. Like gravy, they’re really not worth much when there is insufficient meat on the plate.

The most common mistake is allowing the budget to dictate the length of the ad. Never try to squeak by with fifteens and mentions when you really need thirties and sixties. Sacrifice reach, not ad length. Buy a less expensive day-part or a smaller station.

Make your message exactly as long as it needs to be.


The truth about women!

My last post of random facts mentioned 1/3 of men prefer their dogs to their women, I wonder if the reverse was asked what the results would be?

1) Which do women prefer, their men or their women?
2) Which do dogs prefer, men or women?

Anyway, I promised you the truth about women and this comes from Michele Miller,

Biggest Mistakes in Marketing to Women

Wanna make two gynormous mistakes when it comes to marketing to women? Then:

1. Believe that low, low prices are the most important thing to her.
2. Believe that you’re marketing to her and her alone.

Here are some recent purchases I’ve made:

When Price Didn’t Matter

  • Spending $5.03 on a small container of veggies at AJ’s because the deli manager took the time to come out from behind the counter and find me in the store to tell me they were freshly steamed.
  • Spending $15 more for a pair of fitness shoes on NB Web Express, because they have a free return policy (they even print out the return slip and place in the box) and they write personal thank you notes to their customers.
  • Spending more than you want to know (you’d need smelling salts) on my Fuji road bike because when I was first shopping, the salesman at Bikes Direct spent 20 minutes talking about what my needs were and how I’d be using the bike before he even suggested trying one out.

When You Marketed to Me Through My Husband

  • Recommending a local chiropractor to no less than three girlfriends because of the excellent experience Husband has had (and I’ve never been to see this doctor myself!)

When I Made Purchasing Decisions That Affected Others:

  • Choosing Halloween treats for my WonderBranding class, opting to buy from a store that had listed driving directions on its website.
  • Making hotel reservations for friends for the upcoming Wizard Academy reunion – choosing a hotel because I love their beds.
  • Recommending my vet to a gal at my gym because of the fantastic experiences I’ve had when taking Penny the WonderDog.

Stop thinking you are marketing directly to women and that you always have to reach out for new customers. Your existing customers are the straightest line to profit and word-of-mouth influence. And don’t think that because you’re talking to man you have to act differently. Remember, he probably has a girlfriend/wife/sister/mother/daughter he’s going to turn to when he has a rotten experience, and that can be the worst kind of marketing-to-women strategy.

(Click here to go to Michele’s website and get excellent tidbits of information like this sent to your e-mail free of charge. Especially if you are a guy like me!)

Your woman or your dog……

Volume 2 Issue 40 – September 26, 2007


Almost 20% of pre-K through high school students speak a language other than English at home, according to the Census Bureau.


36 million Americans over age seven rode a bike at least six times in 2006, down from 53 million who did so a decade earlier, reports the National Sporting Goods Association.


Boomers account for 60% of spending on packaged goods, but only 45% of households, according to Unilever, as cited by Crain’s New York Business.


There are an estimated 12,000 street vendors in New York City, 853 of which have city-issued permits and 5,400 are on a waiting list to obtain permits, says the NYC Dept. of Consumer Affairs.


One in three men say if it came down to loving their woman or their dog, they’d go for the dog, according Men’s Health.

The good news is that 2/3 of men prefer their women over their dogs. It’s all a matter of perspective.

You can get Random Facts like these in your e-mail. Ask, and I’ll tell you how.

Connections, the truth behind "Networking"

Sometime some where, someone will invite you to a “networking meeting”. And if you are lucky, it will be a good meeting for you to attend. How do you get lucky? Create your own luck.

Also, you should understand what these networking meetings are all about.

When I returned to sales a few years ago I would see and meet prospects, one at a time. A couple of 45 minute meetings in the morning, a couple more in the afternoon and I was limited to between 4 and 6 of those types of meetings a day.

Then a couple of times, I was invited to a networking meeting. The first was by a client that wanted me to address his group on the subject of advertising. I decided to focus on something that everyone in attendance could implement that week that did not cost them anything. Instead of advertising, I spoke about marketing. I picked a topic that everyone would have in common, and that is how they handle their incoming phone calls from current and potential customers. After that meeting, A couple of the business owners thanked me for helping them consider something that they were overlooking that could help them get more business.

Since that first meeting, I have done business with 4 of those business owners. I spent money with 2 of them, and 2 of them spent money with me. That was the result of one introductory meeting and appropriate follow up.

About 9 months after that first meeting , I was invited to be a guest at another meeting with a different organization. This time it was a more structured meeting with an organization that had membership requirements and had a different goal in mind. That different goal is what I believe makes todays networking organizations work for their members. What is the different goal?

The goal is to network. Many so called networking groups have their members trying to sell to each other and that’s about it. Instead, the most successful networking groups are all about forming connections and relationships.

Here’s how it has worked in my life. I offer a service. If there is someone in the group that knows someone that can use my services, then “connect us”. This is a referral. Yesterday while I was meeting with a business owner, he mentioned to me an area of his business that he wants to expand but he does not have any experience in that area. It just so happens that I know someone that may be a good fit to join his company and help him expand. I told Mr. Business Owner about this “someone” and even gave him an extra business card of this “someone”. Today, I am going to send an email to both of these people to connect them and if I need to, I’ll even arrange a meeting with the 3 of us.

What do I get out of this? Maybe nothing. That’s not the point. Maybe both of these men or one of them will be a future customer of mine. But more importantly, I may get a referral from one of them sometime in the future for someone that does need to spend money for advertising and marketing. That’s why the networking that is the most successful is about Connections and Relationships, not just a transactional sale.

These relationships take time and energy. Yet, it was demonstrated to me last week, and the week before too, what happens when you develop relationships like what I’m talking about.

Last week at lunch, I had two people from my past come up to me in the restaurant and want to set up meetings for ways that I might be able to help them. There was a lawyer, a Realtor, a banker, and a semi-retired business owner, that all came to me.

Even yesterdays meeting was as a result of networking, where the business owner called me.

Make connections, build relationships, and over time the money will follow.

Banks, are they all the same?

I read the latest blog post from Chuck McKay (He emails it to me), last night right before shutting down my computer and thought about a friend of mine in the banking world that is different from the rest. Her name is Deb Moser, and when I first met her a couple of years ago, I was impressed by the difference she brought to her profession. She is a rarity, and I hope her colleagues and superiors know what she does to set herself apart from all the other bank folks out there.

Contact me and I’ll pass along her contact information and tell you why I believe she is exceptional in a world of banking mediocrity.

Now, here’s the e-mail I got last night from Chuck McKay:

Hi Scott,

Are you influenced by your bank’s advertising? Please enjoy…

A Banking Story – The Ten Day Hold

I’ve just had an unpleasant experience with my bank.

Interesting. I called it “My” Bank. Why did I do that? Merely because its the institution I’ve used for several years?

I remember why I chose this bank to begin with. I’d just moved to a new community to take a job with a company which required direct deposit of all payroll checks.

I chose this bank because it was directly across the street from my office.

Not because they offered free checking (they didn’t), or for the vast number of their ATMs (which they didn’t have in this community). I didn’t even choose them because they were “big enough to handle my needs but small enough to care.” The bank in question was owned by one of the biggest bank holding companies in the U.S., and since then they’ve been acquired by an even bigger company.

(Side question: “My” bank changed owners two years ago. Are they still mine? Probably. I haven’t noticed any significant changes other than the signage.)

Nope. All of the reasons banks put in their ads about why I should choose them meant nothing to me. I chose by location, and accepted everything which came with the package: the hours of operation, the fees, the interest rates… all of it. After I went into business for myself as a marketing consultant I opened a business account with the same bank.

Flash forward with me.

A couple of weeks ago, I, an otherwise satisfied customer, closed out a brokerage account and deposited the funds into “My” bank account. I hadn’t brought a deposit ticket with me, so I had to ask the teller for a blank deposit slip and to look up my checking account number.

I was told there would be a minimum ten day hold on this check, so that it could clear the issuing bank. Knowing this to be standard policy for many banks around the country, I merely nodded, took my deposit receipt, and left for my office.

On the eleventh day I called to ask about my deposit. I was told the hold on my check was for ten “business days.” Oh. Business days. OK. Because of the weekends, another four calendar days, I guess.

On the fifth day following, also known as the eleventh business day – called by most people the seventeenth day after – I checked my balance online and found the check had still not been credited to my account. I started looking for the bank’s phone number. It took far more effort than it should have to locate the national 800 number for the bank holding company.

I spoke to Rita in customer service. “Rita,” I asked, “what’s the point of requiring me to punch my account number into the phone, if you’re just going to ask me to repeat it when you come on the line?” Rita had no answer, other than their system couldn’t transfer the number with the call.

I asked that she explain why the funds from my former brokerage account had not been credited to my checking account. Rita assured me that the hold up was the fault of the issuing bank. I politely suggested that wasn’t likely, but that I would follow up with the brokerage.

The brokerage house didn’t leave me on hold.

Nor did their system drop my account number when transferring me to a human in account service. Ron looked up the check, and assured me that it had cleared their bank three days after it had been issued (in other words, two days after I deposited the check).

Some serious Google searching for another few minutes and I finally located a number for the local branch, which I dialed. I got the branch manager’s voice mail, hit “zero,” and was transferred to the receptionist. After checking, she told me that my funds would be available the following day.

Why are those funds not available now?” I wanted to know. I was told that until midnight, they wouldn’t know how much money they’d received in the transfer from the other bank. (No, I am not making this up). “You’re a bank. You don’t know how much money people are sending you?” I asked, incredulously. Again, I was told my funds would be available after midnight.

So, the following morning I logged on to the bank’s on-line banking service to find the deposit had been made into my business account, rather than my personal account. I assumed a trip to the branch was in order.

Picture this layout:

Walking through the door puts the tellers on the left, the office cubicles on the right, a waiting area with couches and coffee on the back wall, and the receptionist desk in the middle of the big open area.

I approached the receptionist, who was busy ignoring me and curtly answering questions on the phone. I recognized her voice (and attitude) from the day before. The receptionist explained even though the customer had personally brought a check to the bank yesterday morning, that didn’t immediately put funds into her account. Her deposit wasn’t counted until midnight, and the check she was attempting to cover had been presented for payment yesterday afternoon. (Again, I’m not making this up).

Finally, when she asked how she might help me, I dragged a chair from an adjacent desk and settled in. I showed her both checkbooks. I explained that the deposit had been made in the wrong account, and asked her to make it right.

As she silently whacked the keys on her terminal an older woman, using a cane to steady herself, walked to the desk and asked, “Miss, can you tell me how much longer it will be?” The receptionist stated in a cold, professional voice, “I’ve told them you’re out here.” The older woman said “We’ve been waiting forty minutes. My friend gave me a ride, and she has another appointment soon.

Without making eye contact the receptionist said “I don’t know what to tell you,” and went back to ignoring the woman.

When my transfer was complete, and the new receipts printed, I left. The older woman was looking at her watch. The receptionist was avoiding eye contact with the gentleman who’d been waiting his turn to speak to her.

I’m trying to decide whether to call the branch manager.

On the one hand, if I was the manager and didn’t know of poor customer service, I’d appreciate having it pointed out. On the other hand, this woman’s desk is in full view (and earshot) of six teller windows and four loan officer cubicles. I suspect all of the other employees have seen this behavior regularly. If that’s the case, why doesn’t the manager already know?

Should I call? Do I care? Will I move my accounts?

Truthfully, I don’t believe that the next bank will be any different.

What’s the difference between Bank of America and Sun Bank? Between Wachovia and Chase? Between Fifth Third and Wells Fargo? Can anyone articulate even a slight difference?

I can’t, and I’m paid to find and exploit those differences.

Bank advertising is so homogeneous we could probably exchange logos and no one would notice. (Except maybe for WaMu. Their ads are much more memorable. They don’t offer anything their competitors don’t, however. In the end they only have more clever advertising).

We can’t find the differences because there aren’t any. They all keep the same hours, pay the same interest rates, charge the same interest rates, offer the same free checking, and have coffee in the lobby. They all have the same automated tellers and charge the same fees for using someone else’s automated teller. All are “big enough to serve me and small enough to care.”

I should hope so. Who’d do business with a bank that can’t even reach the minimum criteria for entering the game. Telling me that you’re just like everyone else in your industry effectively makes you invisible.

I suspect many people choose banks as I did: they pick the one on the closest corner. And if that is the case, the only way any bank will gain market share will be to build on more corners.

Of course, the capital outlay required for this strategy will severely cut into operational profit, and the shareholders will probably revolt.

If I’m right, people don’t change banks because they perceive any advantage in the new bank. They only change when they’re upset enough to refuse to do business with the current institution. Advertising under these circumstances can only try to attract the attention of someone who’s getting ready to abandon her current bank.

That person is likely to choose the next bank based on location and convenience.

Isn’t it time for concierge banking?

Isn’t it time for someone to open a bank that caters to the needs, perhaps even to the whims of the customers? Wouldn’t you be willing to accept a lower interest rate on your savings in order to have a bank call and say “If you can get a deposit to us before midnight tonight, we won’t have to bounce this check?

That only happens to me a couple of times a decade, but I’d be intensely loyal to a bank that cared that much about me.

Because when all of your competitors are pretty much the same, its not your advertising that drives market share. Its the way you do business.

I’ll be reinvesting the funds from my brokerage account. None of my investments will be in bank stocks.

And I still haven’t decided whether to call the branch manager about the receptionist. What’s your opinion? Should I bother?

The latest bunch of random stats focused on our youth.
Volume 1 Issue 8
September 12, 2007


One in three parents think it’s more likely their 6-10-year-old will be elected president than eat the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, according to General Mills and Kelton Research.


60% of 12-18-year-olds spend an average $417 each on an overnight group trip, according to Student and Youth Travel Association.


More 13-24-year-olds take illegal drugs to cheer themselves up than download or share music for free (43% vs. 17%), according to MTV and Associated Press.


18% of high school students took material from someone’s computer or website without permission, according to a University of San Francisco study.


40% of teens aged 16-19 worked a summer job this year, according to the Department of Labor

Youth Markets Alert (YMA) identifies the latest trends among U.S. children, tweens and teens. Download a free sample issue to discover how twice-monthly case studies, research, contacts, and industry sector analysis connect you with young Americans’ $200 billion in spending power.

Another local Blog to check out

This time it is written by Emily Osbun Bermes. Emily is the founder and president of Solstice Coaching & Consulting, a Ft. Wayne based organization that is making a difference in the lives that they touch. Emily, Guen and I met for lunch to discuss some ideas and then I sat down to read the blog that she told me about. Hopefully, she will have the time to keep writing. In the meantime, there are 11 posts on line that you should read and see how it affects your perspective and outlook.

(Click on the underlined portions and you’ll go to their website and blog)