Radio Results Blog

What Maine Small Business Owners Should Not Put In Their Radio Ads

Posted by Larry Julius on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

Portland_Radio_Maine_Small_Business_Effective_AdvertisingMaine small business owners spend good money to advertise on Portland radio. We have shared dozens of success stories from advertisers like Mathews Brothers, Cathy Manchester Real Estate, WH Demmons, and Dunbar Water.  These are all businesses who have seen their sales expand because of what they say in their radio commercial.

Sometimes, though, commercials don't work. They fail to engage the listener. An unengaged listener does not convert into a paying customer. And nothing disengages a listener faster than a cliche.  What is a cliche? The dictionary says they are a "phrases or opinions that are overused and betrays a lack of original thought."

Comedian George Carlin weaves together a bevy of advertising cliches in a rant called "Advertising Lullaby". He postulates the whole reason for advertising must be to "lull us to sleep."  Below is the text of his rant. Sadly, it seems many commercials still utilize these hackneyed phrases:

Quality, value, style, service, selection, convenience
Economy, savings, performance, experience, hospitality
Low rates, friendly service, name brands, easy terms
Affordable prices, money-back guarantee.

Free installation, free admission, free appraisal, free alterations,
Free delivery, free estimates, free home trial, and free parking.

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No risk, no obligation, no red tape, no down payment,
No entry fee, no hidden charges, no purchase necessary,
No one will call on you, no payments or interest till September.

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Offer good while supplies last, two to a customer, each item sold separately,
Batteries not included, mileage may vary, all sales are final,
Allow six weeks for delivery, some items not available,
Some assembly required, some restrictions may apply.

So come on in for a free demonstration and a free consultation
with our friendly, professional staff. Our experienced and
knowledgeable sales representatives will help you make a
selection that's just right for you and just right for your budget.

And say, don't forget to pick up your free gift: a classic deluxe
custom designer luxury prestige high-quality premium select
gourmet pocket pencil sharpener. Yours for the asking,
no purchase necessary. It's our way of saying thank you.

And if you act now, we'll include an extra added free complimentary
bonus gift at no cost to you: a classic deluxe custom designer
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key ring, magnifying glass, and garden hose, in a genuine
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Yours for the asking, no purchase necessary. It's our way of
saying thank you.

Neuroscientist have seen evidence that cliches are actually detrimental to persuasive communication. In an article published in the Journal Neuroimage, researchers found that when exposed to cliches, "our brains lose interest and show decreased activity in not just the meaning-making right hemisphere but in the language-centered left hemisphere, as well. We [hear] a cliché as though it were literal, without any added mental activity on our part."

In other words, this loss of interest caused by cliches in radio advertising impedes us from becoming immersed in the sponsor's message. As an article from the Curiouser Institute states, "There can be no experience and so no psychological effect without immersion."

One of the most egregious advertising cliches heard on Portland radio involves obvious temporal references like 'Summer is Sizzlin' (you don' say), or 'Christmas comes once a year" (Duh!); "Are current gas prices bringing you down" (No, I love taking out a second mortgage when I fill-up); or "Open every evening until 8 P.M." (really, until now I thought 8 P.M. happened every morning). A more powerful use of words is to state the unobvious to engage listeners: "The Sales Associates at Mountain Furniture don't work on a commission, they are paid on customer satisfaction."; "On average, The Doctors at Memorial Hospital graduated third from their medical school class."; or "The flowers and shrubs at Meadowbrook Nursery are grown from seed in the rocky soil of Maine in order to tough out the ravages of your garden." In each of the above cases, customers would appreciate knowing these things about a business (but they don't need to be told that Christmas comes once a year).

Here is one great way to make sure your radio commercial is devoid of cliches.  Cut and paste a copy of your script into the search box at http://cliche.theinfo.org.This site will help you find most of the sleepy, worn-out and overused language.  You can then eradicate the offending language and replace it with more powerful, original thought.

As you work to make your radio commercials more engaging to your prospective customers, keep in mind the words of novelist and essayist Martin Amis  who said, “All writing is a campaign against cliché. Not just clichés of the pen but clichés of the mind and clichés of the heart

Below are two videos produced by the incoming Jim Elliot, the Chief Creative Officer of  Arnold Worldwide Advertising.  Arnold is the agency behind the Flo commercials for Progressive Insurance among other remarkable work. The videos are great examples of "Things We Don't Want To Hear In A Radio Ad". 

If you are a Maine small business thinking about advertising on Portland radio, then here's some advice on what not to say!.


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Tags: Effective Radio Advertising, Portland Maine Radio, Small Business Marketing, Small Business Advertising, Maine Small Business, Portland Radio