September 30, 2011
Three Tips for Improving Home Depot's Radio Ads
Today's radio advertising post is the first in a new monthly series we're starting in which we review radio advertisements from major companies. We'll be reviewing these radio ads through our direct response radio lens, and we'll be posting feedback as well as making suggestions with what we know works in direct response radio.
The first selection in our series is a recent 30 second spot for Home Depot. Click on the link below to listen to the spot, and read through the transcript to note spot specifics.
MALE VO: Now at the Home Depot Renew and Redo Bath Event, get a Savannah 24 inch Cognac Vanity and matching mirror. A $249 dollar value, now just $99 bucks. A price that will transform your bathroom and leave room in your budget for even more improvements.
Like new faucets, lighting, and paint. It all starts at the Renew, Redo Bath Event. More saving. More doing. That's the power of the Home Depot.
DISCLAIMER: While Supplies last, US only, see stores for details.
This Home Depot spot may work fine as part of an overall branding campaign; however, if the intention of this spot was to persuade listeners to take immediate action, i.e. attend the Renew and Redo Bath Event, a well written direct response radio ad would have been more convincing.
Here are three tips from our direct response radio experience that would make this Home Depot radio advertisement more effective:
1. Turn down the Music: In effective direct response radio ads, music is used very sparingly - if it's even used at all. And there is a very specific reason for it - music in a radio ad almost always makes it more difficult to easily understand the words being spoken. At worst the music interferes with hearing whether the sound was an s, f or sh. A t, d or b. Best case it just makes a listener work much harder to understand what's being said. Now, Home Depot uses this music bed across its spots - presumably so people will recognize it's a home depot spot without actually having to listen to the words. Assuming they want to keep the music, we would recommend bringing the volume way down after the first 1-2 seconds.
2. Compel Consumers to take Action: The Home Depot radio ad announces this wonderful savings event, but then fails to directly entice the consumer to take action. The spot takes up valuable time to tell listeners how they can use all of the money they saved. The line we're referencing specifically is, "A price that will transform your bathroom and leave room in your budget for even more improvements." This line is unnecessary because consumers don't need to be told what they can or could possibly do with the extra money left over from their Home Depot savings. In fact, in many cases it is more persuasive to guide consumers into drawing their own conclusions about what benefits will be derived from the benefits expressed in a radio advertisement. In our direct response edit of this radio spot, we would replace this "benefit of a benefit" line with urgency language ("But hurry, because supplies are limited. And this incredible deal won't last long") in order to compel the audience to act NOW.
3. Remove the Jargon: Perhaps the writers of this radio ad can quickly conjure up a mental picture of a Savannah 24 inch Cognac Vanity and matching mirror, but would an average distracted radio listener understand what this product is? Most homeowners are aware of what a bathroom vanity and matching mirror set is - but is the brand name (Savannah) instantly recognizable as high end? Or exclusive? Is the specialized color, "Cognac" something that a person can instantly envision in their upgraded bathroom? In a direct response radio advertisement, it's important to cast a wide net, using language that has a broad appeal. It is also important in any radio ad that the language is extremely clear and language that helps paint a mental picture in a listener's mind. While internal jargon may make perfect sense to a business owner or agency, it can fall flat or be confusing in the ears of radio listeners. Perhaps the space in this radio ad that went towards jargon-ish language would have been better spent on urgency or benefit language.
These are just three of the changes we would make to the Home Depot radio ads. There is much more they could do sharpen their message and point it more precisely at increasing visits to their stores. What we see over and over again in direct response radio advertising is the importance of making your message clear, relevant, and urgent.
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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