Stupid Radio Ads

I’ve been on the road a lot lately. Not flying. Driving. This means a lot of radio. I don’t have XM (yet) so I’m still listening to terrestrial AM radio for talk programs.

I am sick of lame radio ads that try to get me to remember a phone number by simply repeating it over and over again. I remember the name of the sponsor ONLY when the number starts playing.

If you’re going to do it right (you do want to do it right, don’t you?) you should try to get me to remember the number when I think of the sponsor’s name. I know, it’s a subtle difference and it’s much harder to do.

All you have to do is remember Ivan Pavlov’s dogs. The taste of meat didn’t cause them to ring a bell. The sound of the bell caused them to remember the taste of meat.

I don’t want to remember your stupid phone number. I have too many numbers to remember as it is. Give me a reason to remember you and when I need your number, trust me I’ll find it.

If you want to write better radio ads, go learn from the best.

In fact, the phone number ads and all the political talk finally squeezed me out. I spent the last two days listing to this.

10 thoughts on “Stupid Radio Ads

  1. Andreas

    You wrote:
    “I don’t want to remember your stupid phone number. I have too many numbers to remember as it is. Give me a reason to remember you and when I need your number, trust me I’ll find it.” I love this line. Greatly expressed.

  2. K. Todd Storch

    Bad radio copy happens for a number of reasons. Usually, it comes down to the business owner and the sales person not identifying the true reason for advertising.

    What is the real marketing challenge that the radio ad is trying to address?

    The ads that you hear the highly repeated phone numbers typically are direct response ads in which they want to sell you some type of “herbal potion”. TV does the same thing with the “call right now and you’ll also receive!…”.

    Well trained sales departments uncover the real challenges companies face and put a compelling, emotional, creative campaign to solve those challenges (or more specifically…challenge).


  3. John McMaster

    Radio is indeed a powerful way to get people to remember phone numbers if you know what your doing. Not that I’m a genius it’s just that I like to study people and what they do. Pavlov was doing something that was very human. I prefer to study Pavlov’s actions than to look at what the stupid dog was doing. Why was Pavlov studying the dog’s action? Well quite simply he saw it as a great way to make himself famous by revealing something we already new. Kinda like borrowing your watch to tell you the time.

    The truth is that most of the human race is to busy racing to finish first, and don’t have the time to sit around studying others who ironically hold the secret to there very success.

    And what is success? It is the pursuit of love, acceptance. As we wonder through life trying to shake off the inhibitions giving to us as a gift by those from whom we learned about life through their distorted eyes.

    And so we seek. As for us the advertising geniuses that capitalize on making others feel warm, loved or accepted for a moment in time. Endlessly ringing are bell and say if you buy this you’ll be loved or accepted. Our reward is a thank you in the form of a sale.

    Pavlov may have served us better if his research had focused on the love his faithful dog pursued as it participated day after day in his self-serving experiments.

    To all us advertising gurus who spend our time in pursuit of answers to what makes us tick. Lets focus on checking our pulse from time to time for the pitter patter of the heart that understands that we are all the same under that clock that we put on to hide our hurting hearts.

  4. Pingback: Radio Marketing Nexus

  5. Chuck McKay

    Diggin’ the Carpenters, Dave? I never appreciated them when the songs were new, but I have since come to realize that when it came to arranging pop songs, Richard Carpenter was one of the true geniuses of his generation. The man’s as good as Bacharach ever was.

  6. Don Preziosi

    Our website might help bring an end to these stupid radio ads. was created to help people find phone numbers and websites for commercials they hear on the radio. So all the advertiser has to do is create a great commercial and have you want to remember: them, their offer, or their product. Then you will easily be able to look up all the commericals that have been aired in the past 7 days. We also offer data feeds so radio stations can post their own commercials on their own websites. Welcome to the next age of radio ads!

  7. Dave Young

    Thanks Don. Interesting service.
    How do you plan to get the stations to implement it?
    Having been a radio station owner, I’m having a little trouble seeing your value proposition, especially if it means more work.

  8. Radio Ads

    I agree but i have seen so many people who are going to new ways for the radio advertisement, i am also trying to write some unique radio ads and i am sure the link you have shared can be helpful for me in this regard, thanks for sharing.


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