Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Radio ads really work (part 1 of 2)

First, a two-part confession:

(i) I have never had the opportunity in my marketing career to use radio as an advertising medium.
(ii) I listen to sports talk radio. Not exclusively, but enough to seriously compromise my snooty, high-brow, elitist literati posturing.

So, I found myself thinking today about two series of ads that I have heard forever on sports talk radio. One is for a mortgage company, Lennox Financial, and the other for Advanced Tax Solutions, a firm that helps people who are in hot water with the IRS.

Here's what I find interesting about these two series of ads: I can tell you the name of those companies off the top of my head.

Not that I'm the market for either of these services, mind you. I have no need for a new mortgage (and I already have a great mortgage guy, Bill Zuetell at Lendmor), and I have been a dutiful citizen with regard to the IRS. I don't think about these services at all. Ever.

But if the need arose, or if someone asked me about these types of services, I am able to come up with the names of these firms and have a good enough feeling about them to call them. That is the definition of effective advertising.

So why do these work? I think there are a couple of explanations.

The most obvious is repetition. These ads have been on for at least a couple of years with the same theme. However, there are lots of ads that have been on the radio for years with the same theme that are not nearly as memorable, so there's something else that works for them.

Each of them has a unique ad design that they have kept constant over the years. The Lennox Financial ad features the company owner describing the current state of the mortgage market and the implications for the homeowner. And he always closes with the same line: "It's the biggest no-brainer in the history of Earth."

Similarly, the Advanced Tax Solutions ads are also a constant, seemingly unchanged over many years. They come on during Irv and Joe and, in fact, are all read by Irv. They always feature client testimonials, with the actual client on the air responding to questions from Irv.

These ads have been on forever, so they should have made an impression in sheer repetition alone. But I'm sure there are other ads that have been on these stations forever that I can't recall as well. Why is that? I'll discuss that in my next post on this topic.
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