There is a great advertising story that I truly wish I could take credit for. I am not sure of the origin, but I remember hearing it for the first time as a Master’s student in advertising back at The University of Texas at Austin. Since then, I have applied the story to our radio advertising clients and every facet of radio marketing. The story is that of the dog and the pill. The story illustrates the fact that if you want your sales message to be absorbed from your radio advertising, you must package it well.
And so the story starts off by asking…Have you ever owned a dog? Have you ever had to give your dog medicine (i.e. a pill)? Most of you who have ever had o give a dog a pill realize that it’s just not as simple as feeding the pill to the dog. The dog will spit it out…mush it up…pretend to swallow it, then spit it out again, etc. Face it…the dog does not want to take that pill! So, how do you get the dog to take the pill? Ah, ha! Wrap it in something tasty. Wrap the pill in something with flavor! Cheese…bologna…peanut butter…you name it. The dog gulps down the tasty treat and doesn’t care at all about the fact that there is a pill inside. Mission accomplished.
What does this have to do with radio advertising and radio commercials? Everything! To radio listeners, commercials are like that pill. They are forced to swallow it, and they really don’t care for it. Your radio commercials get in the way of the content they enjoy – music, sports, talk, etc. Mentally, radio listeners will spit out your spot. They will take your all important radio ad and mush it up and leave it on the floor with little or no desire to pick it back up. The key – is to make it tasty! Wrap the sales message in something that gives the listener value. Humor works well (if it’s funny), but other thought provoking items like stories, testimonials, etc. work too. The important concept here is that the radio advertising message has to make some sort of a connection to the listener, or you have just wasted their time (and your limited radio advertising cost budget).
But make sure that wrapped in that yummy morsel of radio creative is the PILL! Make sure that the spot is not just funny for the sake of being funny or is so out there creatively that the message gets lost. Always remember that a radio commercial’s main goal is to support a sales effort.
Think about your next radio ad campaign. You have the pill. How will you wrap it up for your customers?