Our thanks to syndicated talker Lars Larson for this week’s advertiser success story. Lars has been working with Sleep Number Bed for two decades and he reached out to Radio Ink to let us know how consistent radio advertising and great storytelling with live reads can be a gold mine for advertisers.
(By Lars Larson) Today, my wife Tina (Sleep Number 35) and I (Sleep Number 65) mark exactly 20 years of taking our night’s rest on a Sleep Number Bed. I have been doing live read radio ads for the company on my national and Northwest regional radio shows for that long. As many of you know, the folks at Ad Results don’t keep me on as a Sleep Number endorser because of my charming personality. They want and deserve results, and for two decades they have been getting results from my stories about the superiority of Sleep Number Beds.
When I do live remotes, several dozen times a year, listeners kid me about my Sleep Number and they ask, “Do you really sleep on that bed?” and I tell them that, unless I’m on the road in a hotel, I do. That’s the secret of successful endorsements.
Alpha’s KXL and Compass Media (my national syndication company) give me the latitude to decline endorsements that don’t fit. For the most part, I don’t do spots on my shows (which also run in recorded form on my flagship station KXL outside the live hours of my show) unless I use the product or service. Sleep Number (20 years), George Morlan Plumbing (NW chain, 18 years), Marquis Spas (manufacturer and retail 16 years)…all of them make things that my family and I actually use and enjoy.
When I tell my audience “Call American Financing for mortgages, I’ve used them several times myself,” that is both true and a more powerful endorsement. My audience knows that, because I not only include it explicitly in the spot (that means sales must give me the latitude to change copy so it reflects that), but when I’m asked about it on the air or in person I tell listeners ‘It’s true.'”
Now, it is true that I have done spots for a company that runs a chain of upscale retirement living communities (Russellville Park, 10+ years). I haven’t yet been sent off to the “Old Talk Hosts Retirement Home,” but in cases like those I tell my audience that I’ve gone to the places in person and checked them out and vouch for the service they deliver.
Just about the only thing I’ve told sales I WON’T do are spots for pot or porn (and sadly, there’s an abundance of those businesses in Oregon and Washington). My audience knows that I can, and do, turn down the lucrative talent fees I could earn by endorsing things I don’t believe in or use.
I take some pride in the fact that, working with Alpha’s GM Lisa Decker and Compass Media CEO and founder Peter Kosann, we bring real value to advertisers through real endorsements from a radio guy who can truthfully say to listeners, “I use this, I like it, and I recommend that you use it too.”
And, don’t forget…Tina’s sleep number is 35 and mine is 65…for 20 years and counting!