January 14, 2010
For Radio Ads This is Necessary, But Not Sufficient
Radio ads, generally speaking, have three main parts. The open, the body and the call to action or close. For a radio ad to produce successful results it must first earn attention.
That is a word to keep front of mind whenever you're considering anything about a radio ad. So important, it deserves to be on a line all by itself. Also note the use of the word "earn". There is no free lunch in radio advertising. People's attention is very scarce. There is a lot of competition for it. You have to earn every second of attention you'll get. Make all sixty seconds of your radio ad count.
That's why in radio advertising we often say that the "open", or opening line, of a radio commercial is the most important part. However some people seem to take this to mean that the other parts aren't important. In fact, having a good open to a radio ad is necessary, but not sufficient, for success.
When thinking about opens for a radio ad in the context of earning the attention of your audience, it helps to ask yourself what captivates you. Notice what grabs your attention. Also notice how much stimuli there are around you nearly every second of your waking life. Then you'll see that you probably block out many multiples more than what you actually allow your attention to go to. That exercise essentially highlights the challenge when writing and producing a radio advertisement.
When you notice what captures attention, you'll see that it's some combination of a) different, b) relevant, and c) somehow intrinsically important.
These insights are what go into creating what we call a "killer" open for our radio ads. One word of caution: Never, ever, ever sacrifice b) relevance for a) difference. Your radio ad will get ignored faster than you can say "radio ads".
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Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely
Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell
Made to Stick, Heath & Heath
The Power of Persuasion, Robert Levine
Influence: Science & Practice, Cialdini
Words That Work, Frank Lutz
My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising, Claude C. Hopkins
Or Your Money Back, Alvin Eicoff
Being Direct, Lester Wunderman