Good Radio Commercials Require Great Theater of the Mind
Radio commercials are MORE effective because they don’t include the pictures you see in display advertising or video you would see in TV commercials. You disagree? If so, that is understandable. That statement was more about getting your attention than actually being 100% accurate. However, the reality is that for some advertisers and some messages, that statement is actually very true.
Picture this: You are driving down any major artery in the Washington DC area and you see an ad on the side of a bus shelter. The ad has a picture of a house on fire. In front of the house you see an ambulance, fire trucks and firefighters trying to battle the blaze. At the bottom of the ad there is advertising “copy” that is attempting to get you interested in buying insurance for your home, insurance that will protect against fires. The tactic of this ad is to scare you into buying their insurance.
What does the normal person think about the house they see in the ad? Their first thought is, “That isn’t my house!” That house is huge, mine is small. That house has a 2 car garage, I only have a one car garage. That house has white siding, mine is brick. How could you make that ad more effective?
Consider this example. You are listening to the radio and a commercial begins with background sounds of a house on fire…the crackling of the wood, arriving sirens, and fire fighters talking into their walkie-talkies. After painting this vivid picture in your mind, the commercial proceeds to scare you into needing the insurance company’s product through carefully written advertising copy. This ad, unlike the bus shelter, has gotten your attention.
Why did this ad get your attention while you dismissed the ad depicting a house on fire?
In the second example you needed to use your imagination. You were required to think about a house on fire. And if you need to picture a house on fire, what house are you going to imagine? Your own!!!
In the first example, you were quick to dismiss the ad because the house shown wasn’t relatable to you. The picture of another house gives you the quick out. “Well that wouldn’t happen to me. That house is different than mine.” In the first ad, you never made the emotional connection that is so important in advertising.
Advertising is most effective when an emotional connection is made. When you connect using emotion, the consumer pays closer attention. And when that happens, your message cuts through the clutter and makes a lasting impression.
To help develop advertising that creates an emotional connection, we have published three other articles you should download:
How to Create Effective Commercials: The Simple Formula for Success
Write Advertisements About Your Customers, Not about You
Radio and TV Commercials That Work: Grab The Attention of Your Target
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