Not Everything Has Changed


(By Bob McCurdy) A lot has changed but not everything. When it comes to advertising, many of the tenets that existed prior to Covid remain and might be more important than ever. When it comes to:

Creative: Seventy-five percent of the success or failure of an ad campaign is contingent upon the creative. It is worth more focus than it is given. Think through the tone, language and message. Make sure it really resonates. Write it and let it sit and then re-visit it just like anything you write of importance. Limit the facts and percentages. Does it contain a strong enough narrative? Enough emotional juice? How would you react if you heard it? There is a lot of emotion in the air out there. Channel it to your client’s advantage.

Creative consistency: Just because an advertiser might have been “dark” recently does not mean their advertising can’t contain “links” to previous creative, not the same messaging but the same links, i.e. voice, music, tagline, jingle, etc. Don’t have a client’s advertising start at “ground zero”. Maintain the links.

Simplicity: Always attempt to keep radio creative as simple and as short as possible. The simpler and the shorter the better. Have one main theme with the advertiser’s name peppered throughout the commercial. Keep the kitchen sink in the kitchen. Talk at a normal pace. The idea is not to fit the most amount of words into the least amount of time possible. Remember keep it tight, as long as necessary but as short as possible.

Different lengths, same theme: Consider the use of :30’s and :60’s to “communicate” the offer and sequence in :10’s and :15’s to “remind” about the offer to stretch the budget.

“Dark/Hiatus”: The longer the time between advertising exposures, the less impact of the previous exposures. It is a good idea to remind advertisers if they have been “dark” the past several months that advertising is not like turning on the electricity. Make sure the offer is exceptional and the creative strong and good things will happen.

Competitive advertising: Ad spend within a product category plays a role in the ad effectiveness of all advertisers within that vertical. No business is immune to the effects of a competitor’s advertising. If a competitor has been active the past two months and another advertiser has not and has a limited budget, it might sense to suggest a more creative guerilla-like approach, matching the competition in wits and not necessarily dollars. Be up-to-speed on the competitive landscape via Media Monitors if you subscribe. Lay out the competitive landscape for them. Simple enough, but not enough salespeople do this.

Legacy advertising: Might not be as big of a factor as in the past, especially if the legacy advertiser has been dark or cut ad spend dramatically recently. This presents an opportunity for an aggressive advertiser to seize competitive advantage.

Top of mind awareness: Radio is an ideal vehicle for increasing share of voice as there are usually fewer advertisers in each product vertical trying to “out-shout” each other compared to TV. If you are dealing with an advertiser with a small budget, attempt to have them air on days and dayparts where the big boys are not or consider using shorter form commercials to elevate their presence.

Neutralizing effect: Just as pre-Covid, advertising remains the “cost” of doing business. Advertiser’s need to alert the consumer that they are “back” and avoid being out of mind any more than they already have been. New purchasing habits are forming and they want to become/remain part of the new habits.

The past seventy-five days has dramatically altered the marketing landscape with most local businesses again starting from “Go”. It might be a good idea to keep the above in mind when working with advertisers who have withstood the pandemic tsunami and are looking to rebuild their businesses.

Earth shattering stuff above? No, but the fundamentals are not earth shattering.


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