Grace Broadcast Sales

                                                          sound ideas for building business sm

 

Home
Sales Boosters
Creative Services
Audio Production
Copywriting
Looking Ahead
About Us
Contact Us

In The News

 

Grace Broadcast Sales
225 SW Skyline Drive
Pullman, WA  99163

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOT POINTS for The Week of February 15, 2010

WOULD YOU RATHER HEAR ABOUT IT--OR LIVE IT?

 

I'd heard it maybe a dozen times, and it was getting me peeved.

 

This radio spot for a local supermarket chain, where the air personality keeps talking about how the advertiser is "Focused on your shopping experience."

 

On a clinical level, that makes sense.

 

Selling the customer an experience is a valid sales approach.

 

Here's the problem: one must actually DESCRIBE the experience. SHOW it. The listener must LIVE IT in the imagination.

 

DON'T TELL ME I'LL HAVE AN EXPERIENCE--SHOW THE EXPERIENCE!

 

This commercial I'm hearing over and over never actually says anything about the experience they claim.

 

They just keep telling me I'm going to have it.

 

Let's say that (a) someone's trying to sell you a delicious steak and (b) you're not a vegan.

 

All they ever tell you is you're going to have "an incredible eating experience."

 

Who cares? There's no emotional charge in an "eating experience."

 

Now, if they start telling you about how thick the steak is, how juicy, how it's fork-tender USDA Prime Angus rib eye that arrives at your table, sizzling on a cast iron skillet spattering little golden dots of hot garlic butter all over your fresh white shirt--well, they're probably on to something, assuming you like steak more than groats and tofu.

 

But if all they tell you is, "This is one incredible steak."

 

So what?

 

STEAK IS A DEAD PIECE OF MEAT--SIZZLE IS EXPERIENCE

 

Contrast the "dead meat" approach to copywriting with a commercial recently sent to me by the legendary Rod Schwartz in The Palouse.

 

(I have no idea why that particular area of Washing/Idaho/Oregon is called The Palouse. And judging from cursory research, neither is anyone else. Just know that Rod is in Spokane.)

 

Rod is selling homes in a 60 & over community.

 

By the model of the supermarket commercial mentioned previously, Rod's commercial could have spent sixty seconds claiming "the living here is easy--" while never showing HOW the living was easy.

 

WHERE IS ROD'S CUSTOMER?

 

Rod knows. Instead of saying, "You'll have an easy living experience" (which the supermarket copywriter would have done), Rod opens with a vignette that could easily be anathema to someone in their 60s: getting on a ladder to clean the gutters on his house.

 

Then, his commercial describes the better experience: a lovely new home that comes with a maintenance crew. They're happy to get on that ladder and clean the gutters for you (unless, of course, you really feel like doing it yourself).

 

Rod asked me to review this commercial for him as a professional favor, and I agreed.

 

(He may be sorry that he asked, because I pull no punches--including when I think a writer is committing an error that might be deemed a matter of opinion. Even though my opinion is right. I'm always right. And I never lie. Vote for me.)

 

What made the job of reviewing this commercial surprisingly easy is that everything Rod had done was already 95% correct. All that remained was to nail down a few details and turn a few screws.

 

THIS, UNFORTUNATELY, IS NOW THE EXCEPTION RATHER THAN THE RULE IN RADIO COPYWRITING

 

Increasingly, radio copywriting is becoming less instilled with craft and more a product of blather. It is increasingly the province of hacks.

 

That's why we get radio commercials that say, "your experience is better" without even beginning to show the experience.

 

That's why we end up with commercials that are a litany of bullet points dashed off as if one were scribbling a grocery list.

 

That's why we get commercials that are creatively bankrupt, stealing from TV and movies and popular music and even from other commercials.

 

Seriously: there's a commercial airing locally for a jeweler. The jeweler's name, for sake of this story, is "John's Jewelers."

 

Their radio commercial says, "Contrary to popular belief, every kiss begins with 'J.'"

 

If Kay Jewelers felt like suing John's ass, they'd be perfectly right to do so. The person who wrote that commercial is a hack and should be embarrassed.

 

(The station should also have known better than to air it--but it seems that hacks are populating many positions of authority in radio these days--though definitely none of them are subscribers to this newsletter, oh gentle readers.)

 

DESCRIPTIVE COPY PRODUCES RESULTS--AND PROVEN PRODUCERS LAND MORE BUSINESS

 

Yes, in a land where sales managers are pushing account reps to produce more, the major product is not new clients but frustrated account reps.

 

But in the few cases where a shift is made to provide more effective and strategic writing--writing that SHOWS listeners what's in it for them--it's virtually guaranteed that advertiser results will improve, and more clients will result.

 

Radio stations are finding themselves without anyone to generate competent copy, and they're turning to proven producers in a quest to find as much.

 

Which is probably one reason I find myself turning away new business at an alarming rate.

 

I CAN'T HANDLE IT

 

Besides already being up to my eyeballs in my own company's business, these people can't (or, frankly, won't) pay the price.

 

Which means, once again, the door is wide open for anyone who wants to learn how to write better copy.

 

I can't teach copywriting. I've learned as much. As I said, I pull no punches. Most people don't want that kind of gloves-off instruction.

 

But there are plenty of good resources out there to teach actual, good, effective copywriting.

 

For the seekers who commit and go off in search of, it won't happen quickly--but the rewards will be many.

Just ask the radio people who thrive in this economy. Just ask the Rod Schwartzes of the world.

Let listeners live the experience, and you're on the road to profit.

 

As always,

Blaine Parker
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
Park City

www.slowburnmarketing.com
www.spotsbeforeyoureyes.net
Follow on Twitter @blaineparker

 

Follow us
 

Click here to join Radio Sales Cafe, our free social network for radio advertising sales professionals.

Open 24 Hours a Day!


RodSpots
(Rod's blog)

 

Copyright 2005 Grace Broadcast Sales