Thursday, October 30, 2008

Radio ads really work (2 of 2)

On the last post on this topic, I mentioned that one of the reasons that these two ads work is because of sheer repetition, which is required in almost all forms of advertising. We're all familiar with single commercial events that leave a lasting impression, like the Apple Orwell's-1984-with-the-sledgehammer-through-the-TV-screen ad. But the likelihood of an ad becoming iconic like that is less than one in a million. For instance, can you name another Super Bowl ad from that year? I'm sure there were others that spent a lot of money on high concept ads.

The point is, you can't count on single ad home runs, much like you can't count on videos going viral. You can count on repetition, however. But I've already pointed out that repetition isn't enough. While necessary (if you don't want to bet on home runs), repetition isn't sufficient. So what else makes these ads successful?

They're also successful because they're unique. The Lennox Financial owner/spokesperson has a southern accent, speaks with authority, educates when he speaks, and has an attention-grabbing presence. His simultaneous authority and folksiness serve to make listeners pay attending and trust him. Most chief executives do not have screen or radio presence, but this guy does, and they have made the most of his abilities.

The Advanced Tax Solutions ads are equally unique, but in a very different way. There is no company representative in the ads. Instead, all of the ads are read by Irv. Irv's an old guy, a kind of grandfatherly character of whom you're never quite sure if he's still all there. But when Irv's folksy, clumsy delivery is combined with actual customers describing their situations and the company's successful resolutions, it comes across as very believable.

Obviously, uniqueness works well for these guys. Of course, uniqueness doesn't always work. Remember the Quizno's rat-like things?
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