Smart Dimes Over Dumb Dollars

I believe that absolutely any radio commercial will work. I don’t care how bad it is. I don’t care how clichéd it is. It can be voiced by someone with no vocal skill. It can be irritating. It will work for you.


And that is a big damn if, for a really good reason. A terrible, clichéd, annoying, downright dreadful ad WILL work for you, if you throw enough money behind it for frequency. Obviously, I don’t condone that strategy for a couple reasons.

  • I don’t like bad ads
  • I don’t like listening to bad ads
  • I don’t like wasting my clients money

This is a successful strategy for a surprising number of businesses. We all know the ones I’m talking about. There’s a bunch of them in every market. They’re usually older businesses that have been advertising forever. They almost always blast hard sell, sale based commercials. Young creative folk will openly chastise their campaigns while (some) older advertisers will respond with “Well, it’s been working for them for a long time now.”

I’m not saying that the vet is wrong. He isn’t. I refer to this strategy as spending dumb dollars over smart dimes. You can power your brand into a listeners sub-conscious by continuously playing any message every day, all year. To be honest, these businesses have figured out the hardest lesson in advertising. You need to build towards being on the air every day. Unfortunately, they didn’t learn the other half of the puzzle. You need to run effective messaging.

Yes, the clichéd message is ultimately effective, but at a much greater cost. Frequency (the amount of air time you have) is a constant in advertising. If you play your commercial 1000 times, it will simply air 1000 times. Play your commercial enough times and people will hear it regardless of how good it is. Even if they hate it, it will influence their subconscious when they reach the tipping point of their buying cycle. The message however, is a huge variable.

Spend Smart Dimes!

The message is how you effectively spend smart dimes. Commercials are not made equally. They are unique. Their effectiveness is unique. Their effectiveness can be altered by many things. A great commercial in Edmonton, may not be a great commercial in Toronto. The great thing is, a fantastic commercial will be more effective with less frequency. You don’t need to hammer the message into people’s heads constantly. If you have the money to do that, go right ahead. Any commercial will perform exponentially better with more airtime.

So, what would you rather do? Would you rather spend less time on the message, and more money on airtime, or more time on the message, and less money on airtime?

Airtime is much more expensive than developing a great message. Think of your advertisement as a seed. A seed will grow anywhere if you put enough effort into it. You can grow it in a greenhouse at great expense. Even your kid can grow a seed in a paper towel in a class science experiment. But, it’s much easier for a seed to grow in soil, with fertilizer. A good creative message is the soil, and the fertilizer.

Air Support is designed entirely around spending smart dimes over dumb dollars. I’d be happy to help you with your business any time.