Wednesday, November 20, 2013

There Ought To Be A Law

There are some things that our advertisers do that are illegal and then there are others that should be.

In both situations, it's the listener who gets punished when programmers fail to police these instances even before a fine comes the radio station's way.

Things every creative director needs to be on the lookout for every day:

1.  End dates for copy.  Nothing sounds less "live and local" than a spot for a Thanksgiving Day Sale on the day after the holiday.

2.  Updates.  Every time-dated spot or promo must have a "tomorrow" and "today" version.  Would anyone tell a friend "sale ends November 20th" ON November 20th?

3.  Sirens.  No, it's not illegal to broadcast one on radio, but has anyone not been in a vehicle when one came on, felt deceived after pulling over to the side of the road, realizing they could have caused an accident?  Surely, there's a more original and creative way to command attention than this hackneyed gimmick.  Let's protect the ears and traffic safety of our listener and offer to make something better for the brand, gratis.

4.  "The first listener to get to (remote location) wins..."  Actually, this one could get you sued if someone causes a collision after speeding up to get your prize.

5.  Anything that contains "prize, chance and consideration."  But, you knew that. 

I wish we'd handle numbers 1 through 3 as strictly as we do that one by using the phrase "I can't let you do that."


Paul Caine said...

WestwoodOne will launch our Super Bowl Audio Index, the first-ever consumer-driven index ranking the most creative audio commercials aired during Super Bowl XLVIII. The index will be comprised of all commercials aired on the 700+ radio stations which broadcast WestwoodOne’s exclusive, play-by-play coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII. Each of the commercials will be available for consumer voting through on February 2, 2014. Two awards will be announced across WestwoodOne’s on-air and online broadcast network.

Dave Morris said...

Great advice. And it reminds me of a story.

Once at WKKX-St. Louis, we had a client, Bropf's Mobile Homes. They ran a :60 that was nothing but "Bropf's has doublewides for 19,995. Bropf's has doublewides for 19,995..." for a whole minute. I never knew how long a minute was until I started measuring it in number of complaint calls on the studio phone. So I complained to the sales manager, the PD and the GM. They promised it would be replaced.

Then one morning, 10 days later, the ad was still running. My partner Susan and I were doing our morning show, and the ad ran twice in the 7 am hour. When it ran the second time, hot-headed me, I unplugged my headphones mid-show, walked into the GM's office, laid them on his desk and resigned active immediately. I grabbed a few things and walked toward the elevator, with my program director running behind me. By the time we got to the lobby, I felt terrible for abandoning Sue, felt like an ass for throwing a fit, but the spot was pulled right away.

Unfortunately, it was replaced by a spot with the client singing "I'm dreaming of a Bropf's doublewide... one that costs 19,995..." to the tune of White Christmas. It was June.

Point is, add that to Jaye's list of ways not to shoot ourselves in the foot. Commercials should be screened just like music. If they are horrible, don't run them. Be above it. Tagging Billy Greenwood, Joe Rusch, Jeff Allen Lawhorn, just for the memories. I'm not proud of the old Dave. But it happened so WTH, might as well let the newbies learn from my backfire.

Valerie said...

Jaye, loved this, thank you. Safe Valerie