One of the biggest problems plaguing radio ads is the lack of information supplied to those who strategize, write, and produce your commercials. There’s nothing more frustrating than a business that is represented incorrectly, especially since advertising is so damned expensive. So, here are the main pitfalls I’ve seen that cause creative to go off the rails before a finger touches a keyboard.

  • Bad Reps – Radio is like any other industry. Some people are good at their jobs, and some people are terrible. Unfortunately you can’t trust just anybody with your creative. It’d be nice to walk into a radio station and trust that you will be represented by a well educated professional. That’s not usually the case. In my experience, most sales forces are staffed with people who have absolutely no ability in advertising. They’re hired to get people to put pen to paper. There is a place for a person like that, but they cannot be the one who develops your marketing plan. If you get stuck with a person like this, try to find another rep, or try your best to work mostly with a talented writer. Take their advice. The easiest way to get around this is to talk to me though. Ok, enough self promotion, on to point two.
  • Too many cooks – Sometimes two heads is better than one. I find that that is true when brainstorming ideas. But, when one idea rises above the rest, you want one talented person to guide the vision to reality. The more people get involved, the more the idea will be diluted by extra opinions. I’d rather get all the flair and imagination from one creative writer than try to cover the views of a large group. Having too many people work on an account is a quick way to lose your path as well. I have one client that originally dealt through a different agency. This agency didn’t make their own creative. So, they worked with a radio station. The trail went like this (Client -> Agency -> Radio Sales Rep -> Writer -> Producer.) The ad was for an Asian restaurant. But, the client didn’t want the creative to reflect anything “Asian.” Well, by the time it flowed through those five people it was full of gongs, Kung-Fu, and other stereotypes. The client essentially paid more to get exactly what they didn’t want. When you deal with one person, it’s much easier to get your point across (in both directions.)
  • Lack of interest from client – Believe it or not, some clients are very lackadaisical with their advertising strategies. They refuse to take the time out of their busy days to supply good, salient information to the creative team responsible for their commercials. Writers generally care a lot about whether they put a good script to air or not. So, they will fight for copy. They’ll call a client a dozen times to make sure the right information is being used. They’ll write commercials in their heads while they’re sleeping. But, when the client on the other end of the phone won’t invest the time to supply information, the writer eventually will just cobble something together. Who can blame them? My point is, make sure you invest a lot of time into supplying information to your creative people. The ad will only be as good as what you put into it. Remember, advertising is an enormous investment and it’s the main way for your company to communicate with future clients. It’s hugely important and expensive. Treat it that way.

There are so many other ways that a piece of creative can die on the table, but these few examples illustrate probably 75% of the common issues. If you get them under control, you will have a better commercial when everything is said and done.