Sync & Swimm

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Archive for the category “radio”

20 Random Advertising Thoughts


  1. People only show up to the party when you invite them.
  2. It takes a MINIMUM of 3 impressions (Closer to 6 in 2017) before someone acts on an offer.
  3. ….AND that’s only if they have a need.
  4. All advertising needs 4 Keys.  Reach, Frequency, Consistency and GREAT Creative.
  5. $500 campaigns don’t work.
  6. Crappy creative doesn’t work.
  7. People only care about one radio station…… WII-FM  “What’s in it for me”?
  8. Most people don’t listen……Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!
  9. People really have no idea how they heard about a product.
  10. Most people automatically say…..“I saw you on TV” when asked.
  11. Radio MULTIPLIES the effectiveness of all other media.
  12. Radio also stands on its own as a media.
  13. You really can’t brand with print or social media.
  14. Social media is a conversation vehicle—Not a branding method.
  15. All advertising can work if done correctly.
  16. Cold feet is the #1 reason for a campaign not to work. (Stopped before it caught on.)
  17. Not following the 4 Keys is the #2 reason.
  18. People don’t care about features—Only benefits.
  19. Programmatic digital campaigns will end up embedded in HORRIBLE articles/websites.
  20. All that really matters is if the advertising makes the cash register ring more often.

How You Learn Something New

To learn something new you need to hear it, see it, and do it….Right?  What if you just heard it? Over and over again. People learn the most through the ear. It may take longer, but once the message has wrapped itself around your brain, it never leaves…EVER.

Don’t believe me? Take this little quiz and see how you score.  I guarantee you get more than 90% correct.

  • A Diamond is _________
  • A _______ is a terrible thing to waste
  • An ________ a day keeps the doctor away
  • It takes a __________ and keeps on ticking

So, you think these are advertisements that everyone knows and it’s much harder to brand yourself in the modern age? Well, keep going.

  • ______ ______ Yahoo?
  • Got _______?
  • So easy even a _____________ can do it
  • Every kiss begins with _______

So how did you do? I’m not even going to give you the answers because I know most of you scored a perfect 100%. The “Apple a day” slogan was a campaign from the early 1900’s, and here you are in 2012 reciting it without thinking. A catchy phrase, with repetition and little bit of alliteration, can stay with you for a lifetime. Does your business stand out? What are you known for?  Will people remember you in 50 years?

I suspect you could make a lasting imprint with just a bit of thought….You do want to be all that you can be…Right?

The Sounds Of Brilliance

All great ideas start out as nothing more than a thought of a dreamer.  Sometimes the dream stays trapped in the cerebral confines of the visionary,  never to  flourish.   Other times the dream is mixed in with the one ingredient that makes it all come together…action.  Without action and forward momentum, ideas just shrivel up on the vine, never to produce any fruits of brilliance.

The world is always looking for something different, something better, something out of the ordinary.  Tim Westergren had a better idea.  Tim was a musician who couldn’t get his songs played on the radio. That scenario probably sums up 99.9% of every musician who ever lived.  Did Tim whine,  complain and say how unfair life is?  No, Tim did the one thing that mediocre minds can’t comprehend—He reinvented the very industry that didn’t want him.  Much Like Mark Zuckerberg did with Facebook when no fraternity would pledge him. 

Tim Westergren started Pandora Radio based on an idea to change the music industry…forever.  The real irony is now terrestrial radio is killing itself to have an online presence to rival Pandora.  It would have taken forward thinking  to embrace Pandora when they were still in the idea stage.  That would have required risk, and many times  the fear of loss is much stronger than the hope of gain.

I am  a huge fan of live, local radio.  It is one of my true loves.  However, I’m not so closed minded to think Pandora doesn’t offer another incredible entertainment experience.  Like a big stack of  your  favorite cd’s. ….and that’s the real point.  People embrace  more ways of entertaining themselves.  Radio listenership is actually  up, even in the era of Pandora. When several restaurants open up next to each other, most of the time they all do better because that area has become a destination… If you watch TV, you can still go to the movies. The world wants choices.

So what’s the next great idea that the purveyors of the status quo think is a joke right now?  I’m sure it’s out there, and it’s probably right under our nose.  Never underestimate a dreamer with a plan to take action, and has something to prove.

Big Game Commercials–Fumble or #Touchdown?

As the Superbow—ooops, “the BIG game” inches closer, the Monday morning quarterbacks will talk of football, and….. commercials.  Will Volkswagen be able to top the young Darth Vader spot?  Maybe, but in the quest to be the most creative, some companies try so hard on the creative, they forget to sell.  The problem with Super bowl advertising is it only allows for two parts of the advertising puzzle–REACH and CREATIVITY.  Great advertising that sells needs all four keys–REACH, FREQUENCY, CONSISTENCY, and CREATIVE. 

Like a Dad who only sees his kids on the weekends, companies try to OVERCOMPENSATE with the Creative–Plenty or reach, plenty of creative.  Surely if you miss the other two elements, just make up for it with more creative, right?  Well, maybe.  If the creative actually sells product. 

Effective advertising does one thing; it motivates a consumer int0 action.   It should contain one or two key messages.  Not a list of things that the customer will forget in five minutes.


(1)-If you do not engage the consumer, nothing else really matters.

(2)-The only way to connect is to make the commercial about the customer.

(3)-Failure to immediately appeal to the listener/viewer’s self-interest will leave your ad unheard.

(4)-Pierce the heart.  Logic doesn’t sell, emotions sell.

(5)-Leave behind a mental image that can be shared and talked about at the water cooler.

You would think for 3.5 million dollars for 30 seconds of airtime, the commercial should sell a few units, right?  So enjoy the game, watch the commercials, and try to remember the companies who advertised the next day….If you can…TOUCHDOWN!


Thou Shall Not Commit the 7 Deadly Advertising Sins In 2012

The New Year is here!  What are you going to do to make this a great year for your company?  At some point every business has to advertise  along the way just to stay even.  That could be Yellow Pages,  web listings or  just a free Facebook page.  If you want to grow and get your “unfair share” of the money being spent in your category, you really need to find creative and cost effective ways to make sure potential customers choose you over the competition.

Advertising is the way to separate your business from the pack.  As I have written about on several other blog posts, the four keys to advertising are: -Reach,  Frequency, Consistency, and Creative  (Copy).

Now we will take a second and talk about the 7 deadly sins of advertising.  Break them and you could be wasting money.  Money that could help  your business thrive in 2012.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Advertising

1. Failure to attract the customer’s attention: The world suffers from information overload–What are you doing to stand out? 

2. Failure to appeal to the listener’s self interest: Don’t kid yourself, most people don’t care about your product or service–They only car about what you can do for them.

3. Failure to use words that paint pictures: Tell stories, paint pictures, make what you have to sell connect with the potential customer on an emotional level.

4. Being so creative that you forget to sell: What do you remember about the most funny and creative commercials?  If it’s not the product being advertised, there is a major problem.

5. Failure to give someone a reason to act now: Allow someone to put off a decision, and chances are, they will!

6. Cliché ridden copy: Don’t say the same old crap we’ve all heard for the past 30 years..Be interesting, or don’t waste your money.

7. Too much copy: Stick to one or two points.  Laundry lists only work when you go to the laundry.  Stay on topic; don’t overwhelm the customer with too much information.

There you go,  easy right?  I will hit each of these topics in more depth in the upcoming weeks. Good luck and I hope your business has a great 2012!

I Can’t Talk To You While I’m Yelling!

The workplace has a way of reinforcing bad habits. Let me explain.  All leaders and managers, (myself included) have moments where the standard civil approaches at problems don’t work.  I call it the “breakdown of 3”.  Whenever a subordinate does something wrong continuously, the breakdown usually plays out something like this. 

Strike #1: The first incident usually doesn’t go too badly.  Maybe a sarcastic comment or two–The manager hopes that the person is just having a bad day.  “I’ll overlook this one, because Mary is usually such a good worker”.

Strike #2: The 2nd infraction causes the redness under the collar to burn a bit more.   In hopes of keeping harmony in the workplace, the thoughtful and caring leader will bring it up again, but won’t push it too hard.   A pattern is starting to develop, and patience is beginning to run out.  Here is where disaster can be avoided if the leader would take the time to sit down and have a heart to heart with the employee.  This is what should happen, and sometimes it does, but most of the time real dialog doesn’t occur.  Big mistake.  This is the pivotal moment, but because we are all so busy a REAL conversation is put on hold—-UNTIL:

Strike #3: The evil doer pushes the last button.  It always comes at a horrible time when the stress levels are already at a breaking point—Strike 3 is usually the point of no return.  I’ve been there many times, along with every manager I’ve ever worked for–Even the great ones.  So the yelling begins…..AND where life actually gets better in the workplace–For everyone except the manager–You see, the manager feels guilty, horrible, out of control, and like a failure, because they lost their cool.

This is where the meltdown actually creates a pattern where more blowups will occur.  The bad behavior of the leader actually makes things go back to normal–quickly.  All the other workers see how bad you yelled at Mary, so they start going out of their way not to make waves. Mary will hold a grudge if you don’t patch things up, but let’s assume a deep conversation does finally take place—Now Mary never wants it to go into meltdown mode ever again, so her work improves.

A leaders bad behavior is now reinforced. This can quickly turn a leader into a tyrant. In order to break out of the cycle,  dialog has to take place before strike 3.  A leader needs to take time each week to solve problems and have open feedback with everyone on the team.  No favorites, everyone treated equally.  Lack of communication is  the root of all  workplace evil–

And for the record, lack of communication usually happens in companies where communications is the main business–Welcome to radio!

(Gregory Peck knows how to communicate…(Although he does snap at the end of the movie 12 o’clock High)–

Deep Down Inside–You Like Commercials!

I write and sell radio commercials for a living, so maybe I listen a bit differently than you do.  I love powerful, well written commercials–I raise the volume when they come on!   Arbitron just conducted a major study about how long listeners stay through commercials.  Guess what? Radio keeps 93% of its lead in audience during an average break!  This was groundbreaking because the perception for years has been that a radio station loses more than 50% of its audience after the first spot. 

…”The new study, using data from 18 million commercial breaks, 62 million minutes of commercials and 866 stations for a year, showed, among other findings, that one- to three-minute commercial breaks deliver audience levels “practically the same as the lead-in audience”; Longer spot breaks of four to six minutes-plus delivered an average minute audience nearly 90 percent of the lead-in audience; Commercial breaks in morning drive deliver 97 percent of their lead-in audience; and among teens and persons 18-24, radio delivers nearly 90 percent of its lead-in audience during commercial breaks, while among people age 65+, radio delivers 98 percent of the lead-in audience during the stop sets….”

These numbers represent “average” commercials and stop sets.  When you factor in more creative commercials the lead in audience is even higher.  The real problem with radio commercials is radio.  As an industry we write crappy, clichéd, uninspired drivel, that you have a heard a thousand times.  If the average station can keep 93% of its audience with most of the junk I hear, can you imagine what we could do with some powerful, compelling creative?

Radio commercials need to paint  mental pictures…pierce the heart…create emotions…offer something compelling…

Nothing is quite as powerful as the spoken word…All commercials all the time!  (Hey, it worked for Christmas music)

Arbitron Commercial study

She Blinded Me With Science!—Or Was It Art?

You can buy advertising anywhere.  Radio, billboards, TV, Google, Facebook, direct mail, cable, gas stations, park benches, sky writers—Hell, you can even put your logo on one of those blue hockey pucks in a urinal.  Yes, you can advertise just about anywhere, but should you?  The answer is relatively simple–Advertise where you can afford to hit the largest audience with the most frequency– consistently!—That’s the Science.   Oh Yea–Be Creative!  That’s the Art.

 To put it more directly, there are four keys to good advertising—Reach—Frequency—Consistency—Creative.   The first three are the science—The last one is the art.   Break anyone of them at your own peril.

(1)-Reach enough people with your message to make a real difference.  Broadcast is the best way to accomplish this.

(2)-Reach them frequently. Find loyal audiences that allow you to get a lot of repetition.  This is essential to make your business desired before it’s required.

(3)-Whatever medium you choose, you need to do it Consistently.  Mindshare is fleeting – you must maintain it or it will disappear.

(4)-Use high-quality, emotional & compelling Creative.  Nothing can kill a marketing investment more quickly than poor-quality or flat creative. 

Advertising can take your business to new heights.  It just has to be used properly.  The four keys are the easiest ways to test your current campaign, and to ensure success for future advertising endeavors.

Go unlock some advertising magic…


We Write Ads or People Die

This time of year is magical, frustrating, and wonderful all rolled into one.  Will you hit your 2011 budgets?  How much will they raise your goals for 2012.  Christmas parties, endless Christmas music, and my daughter changing her Christmas list to Santa ten times a day.  So how do I cut through the clutter and clear my mind?  I write some ads!  Good ads.  Radio ads that are memorable and make you raise the volume  in your car.  Ones that make you think.  Ones that make you relive a piece of your life that made you smile. 

Writing ads is how I relax..I know it’s crazy.  Try it sometime.  Think of a great stories you tell your friends at holiday parties.  The ones that make them laugh and gather around.  Take those stories, condense them down to 60 seconds, and go create some magic on the radio.

In the meantime, get inspired and enjoy my favorite YouTube clip on the power of the copywriter.

Radio: There’s No Esteem Like Low Esteem

Radio has a perception problem, but it’s not with our customers (listeners), it’s with ourselves—Check out this latest data from Arbitron about listenership using metered markets.  Radio Delivers

 Radio listenership has actually grown over the last 20 years.  Radio is still the way most new music gets to the masses.  Radio is still a major part of people’s lives, and as a business a successful station still commands 30 to 50 percent margins.  Unheard of in any other industry.  Radio has an issue with self-esteem

The problem lies with us.  When new facts and figures come out about the power of live, local radio, we don’t believe the data.  It’s like we beg the popular girl in high school to go out this us, and when she agrees, we find ways to talk her out of it!

If I pull rating information from 15 years ago our FM had an overall weekly Cume (overall listenership) of about 85,000.  Today we have closer to 100,000.  Keep in mind Springfield, Ma lost population during this time, and we actually dropped almost ten market positions. 

So, we have more listeners and more revenue than 15 years ago, yet the radio industry still feels it’s not worthy to sit at the grownup table.  This inferiority complex has been going on since the 50’s.  Why would anyone want to listen to local radio when they have TV? Why would anyone want to listen to radio when they have satellite?  Why would anyone want to listen to radio when they have Pandora?

The answer then and now has always been the same.  Content is king.  Crap content is still crap no matter how it’s delivered.  If radio would concentrate on serving the local community with great content, they wouldn’t have to worry about every new form of entertainment that comes along.

The problem is the industry feels guilty.  Most stations offer canned voice tracks that don’t engage a local audience.  So when a Slacker or Pandora comes along, the radio industry feels threatened that this will be the tipping point.  The time when listeners finally realize, “wow—local radio doesn’t really care about me anymore”

Live, local, relevant radio will survive when collectively it cares about the product and serving their cities of license.

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