WOMAN 1: Hey, Jan.
WOMAN 2: Hey, Sally.
WOMAN 1: Wow Jan! Your [PRODUCT] looks great!
WOMAN 2: Thanks! I got it from [BUSINESS].
WOMAN 1: [BUSINESS]? I've never heard of them.
WOMAN 2: [BUSINESS] is my number one source for all my [PRODUCT] needs. They have a friendly, knowledgeable staff with lots of quality, service and selection.
WOMAN 1: Quality, service and selection? Sounds great! I'll have to check [BUSINESS] out. Where do I find them?
WOMAN 2: They're conveniently located at 5468897 You'll Never Remember This Street. Or you can call them at 715-344-9537.
WOMAN 1: What's that number again?
WOMAN 2: 715-344-9537.
WOMAN 1: Great! Now let's finish killing this hobo!
Aside from that last line, I've heard a thousand radio/streaming commercials like this, and every single one of them suck.
The "Two Women having a casual conversation about a business" commercial is as fake-sounding as it gets.
Sometimes they're having coffee. Sometimes they're at the playground with the kids. Sometimes they're in the office. Sometimes they're two guys, or one guy and one woman kibitzing about some corporate entity or other. No matter the "everyday scenario", they're never having a conversation that sounds remotely realistic.
The script is usually littered with bullet points, slogans and crap that only a marketing wonk would say.
You know how most people talk about businesses? Like this.
WOMAN 1: Hey where do you take your car?
WOMAN 2: Fart-Lube.
WOMAN 1: Do you like them?
WOMAN 2: Yeah, they're good.
WOMAN 1: Thanks. Got their number?
WOMAN 2: Google it, jackass.
Note the lack of marketing wankery in that conversation.
The fact that these sorts of ads are usually voiced by local radio talent kills the illusion even more. This isn't the radio talent's fault. They can do a fine voice acting job. The trouble is, once the listener realizes that "Jan" or "Sally" sound just like their favorite morning show host, your cover's blown.
I've heard from marketing directors who should damn well know better that they love this style of ad because it "sounds real". If you're one of those marketing directors, read the precedeing until you "get" the following.
Those spots sound faker than a Kardashian's PhD in Quantum Physics. Stop them. Stop them RIGHT NOW.
Stop it now, or the hobos get it. PHOTO CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons
Instead, get an actual customer to do a testimonial for you. I've produced a couple hundred. Let me know if I can help.
Terry Stevens is a professional radio advertising copywriter and radio host for Midwest Communications in Wausau, Wisconsin. His copy and production work has won several awards from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association over the years. More important, clients who have run his ads tend to make money from them. The precedeing opinion does not necessarily represent that of Terry's employer.