Many people will tell you that they hate ads. Maybe you do yourself, even people in radio view commercial breaks as downtime that needs damage control, trying to presell content and promote ad-free hours. The trouble is that people don’t really hate ads – they just can’t stand the cookie cutter, been there done that feel, that most commercials have become.

Our listeners are bombarded with advertising every day; they have become defensive about it and will quickly turn off any perceived obvious advertising, resulting in the popularity of ad-blockers on the internet, and paying premiums for ad-free viewing.

This is not viable for FM radio. so what can we do to re-capture the listener, and make advertising a feature again?

  • Enlist your bravest client for a self-aware dig at advertising. Ham it up for the listeners. An absolutely brilliant example of this is in the classic movie Wayne’s World, in which the main characters pull out products and quote their slogans all the while protesting obvious product placement on TV. Listeners love this type of ad, as they are in on the joke and don’t feel pandered to.
  • Try new commercial jingles. Commercial Jingles aren’t what they used to be, modern jingles can be specifically crafted to suit whatever style of music you want. Follow up a funky upbeat song with a funky upbeat ad, the listener may not even tell when the line was crossed. Most people tune into radio for the music, that doesn’t have to stop when we cut to commercials.
  • Make a story. Craft a series of ads that run in order over the period of a few weeks to tell a story, if it’s exciting and engaging enough the customer will hang around waiting for the next instalment. Anybody who is old enough will remember the Anchor Family, a wonderful marketing ploy by Anchor dairy goods, following the drama of a Kiwi family. The association with the brand was subtle, but everybody knew of Anchor as a brand directly because of the ad series.

Advertisements don’t have to be bad, boring or predictable. If your clients are looking for something different, something to catch the imagination, look outside the box, explore what has worked in other mediums and take a risk.

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