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January 11, 2019 10:21 am  #1


Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

I’d never heard of Tracy Johnson before Friday, but I like what he had to say about radio commercials.

A lot.
 
In an article linked on FYImuscinews.ca, the consultant argues that radio is eating itself alive by playing too many poorly written commercials in a row, driving listeners away, even as stations believe they’re actually appealing to them.
 
“The copywriters disappeared years ago,” he writes. “They’ve been replaced by account executives writing commercial copy for clients. It’s horrible.” Boy, do I second that emotion. Not only is the current Participaction spot, for example, ("feel better, live better, sex better, breathe better" etc. etc.) unlistenable and irritating, but it's always played twice in the same break! And then there are the Tom Mihaliks of the world

But it’s his next point that really grabbed my attention, and I made this point here in a post from 2017 – in an effort to satisfy quarter hour PPM norms, everybody goes to commercials at the exact same time.  
 
I listen to a lot of talk radio and I find their format clocks are all the exactly the same – an adjacency (or two) after the news, spots before the top of the hour and breaks all day at :15 and :45. I’m sure it’s the same on music outlets.
 
“I know they’re trying to game the ratings system, but what we’re really doing is running listeners off the medium. One station plays commercials. The audience tries to escape the pain, and all other choices are playing the same spots.”
 
His suggestion: “Play fewer spots overall and distribute them differently…And don’t play them in one or two breaks. It may be good for the Nielsen PPM game, but it’s horrible for the art of radio. Not to mention the benefit of our other customers: the advertiser.”
 
I normally don’t have a lot of time for consultants. But I think he’s right about this. Still, I doubt anyone will listen to his good advice. They'll all be too busy playing commercials at the same time.  

You can read the rest of his suggestions here

 

January 11, 2019 10:39 am  #2


Re: Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

I like Tom.  He shoots from the hip.

 

January 11, 2019 10:51 am  #3


Re: Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

I hear he's a nice guy. That doesn't change the fact that his commercials are an instant tune-out for this listener. 

Oddly enough, he's effective in one way he didn't expect. If my radio is in another room and his spot comes on, I will actually get up and rush to change the dial. That's how unappealing these commercials are. (Perhaps he should partner with Participaction, since it gets me up and moving!) 

Not that the ones he's not on are any better. There's one running on both RB (voiced by Ted Woloshyn) and 640 (voiced by John Oakley) that starts with something like, "It's a known fact that Tom's Place is the undisputed #1 seller of suits in the world!" Really? Undisputed by whom? The entire world?

These are demonstrably and totally unproven claims worthy of a certain White House occupant. I consider them false advertising and while there's considerable latitude given in all spot claims, this goes way beyond the limit.

Despite what it seems, I actually try not to think about this stuff too much. But everytime his ads come on, it just reinforces this negative opinion. I've nothing personal against Tom or his Place. I just wish he'd tone down the rhetoric and stop acting as his own spokesman. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2019 11:11 am  #4


Re: Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

RadioActive wrote:

But it’s his next point that really grabbed my attention, and I made this point here in a post last year  – in an effort to satisfy quarter hour PPM norms, everybody goes to commercials at the exact same time.  
 
I listen to a lot of talk radio and I find their format clocks are all the exactly the same – an adjacency (or two) after the news, spots before the top of the hour and breaks all day at :15 and :45. I’m sure it’s the same on music outlets.
 

What's funny about this is that PPM in Canada doesn't measure by quarter hours. So this isn't even gaming the system. The argument here would come down to whether you're better off being in commercials at the same time as your competitor or not. I'd argue that if you're new or an underdog, be in music/talk when the bigger station is in spots to encourage sampling and get those extra minutes here and there.
 


 
 

January 11, 2019 11:27 am  #5


Re: Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

I agree. You might just capture someone who hasn't really tuned you in on a regular basis and likes what they hear. In fact, if the programming you're offering is interesting enough while they're escaping the other guy's spot bloc, they may stay with you instead of turning back. 

That was the point I made in September 2017. "In the 60’s, uber-P.D. Rick Sklar used to schedule news at :55 to the hour on then Top 40 giant WABC, calling it “news five minutes sooner.” He knew all the kids looking for the hits would tune into rival WMCA, but when they hit the top of the clock and heard the newscast on that station, everyone would come back. The numbers showed that was exactly what was happening."

Granted times and technology have vastly changed the industry. But if it worked then, why couldn't it work today?

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2019 12:17 pm  #6


Re: Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

... and now the real question. even though you can't stand tom's spots, would you "consider" going to tom's place if you were looking to buy a new suit?

 

January 11, 2019 12:36 pm  #7


Re: Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

RadioActive wrote:

I hear he's a nice guy. That doesn't change the fact that his commercials are an instant tune-out for this listener. 

Oddly enough, he's effective in one way he didn't expect. If my radio is in another room and his spot comes on, I will actually get up and rush to change the dial. That's how unappealing these commercials are. (Perhaps he should partner with Participaction, since it gets me up and moving!) 

Not that the ones he's not on are any better. There's one running on both RB (voiced by Ted Woloshyn) and 640 (voiced by John Oakley) that starts with something like, "It's a known fact that Tom's Place is the undisputed #1 seller of suits in the world!" Really? Undisputed by whom? The entire world?

These are demonstrably and totally unproven claims worthy of a certain White House occupant. I consider them false advertising and while there's considerable latitude given in all spot claims, this goes way beyond the limit.

Despite what it seems, I actually try not to think about this stuff too much. But everytime his ads come on, it just reinforces this negative opinion. I've nothing personal against Tom or his Place. I just wish he'd tone down the rhetoric and stop acting as his own spokesman. 

I'd rather listen to Tom ramble on for an hour than be subjected to one more 'My Pillow' shill.
 

 

January 11, 2019 12:42 pm  #8


Re: Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

the original hank wrote:

... and now the real question. even though you can't stand tom's spots, would you "consider" going to tom's place if you were looking to buy a new suit?

Likely not. It's simply too far away from my current location and there are plenty of other places (or should that be "Places?") where I could go first.  

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2019 2:28 pm  #9


Re: Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

"What's funny about this is that PPM in Canada doesn't measure by quarter hours. So this isn't even gaming the system. The argument here would come down to whether you're better off being in commercials at the same time as your competitor or not. I'd argue that if you're new or an underdog, be in music/talk when the bigger station is in spots to encourage sampling and get those extra minutes here and..."
 
Numeris PPM does track and report AQH while AMA is now the gold standard. Sweeping quarters is still in the game. 
P.S. Tracey is one of the best.

Last edited by Bristol (January 11, 2019 2:29 pm)

 

January 13, 2019 2:43 am  #10


Re: Spot Remover: When Ads Subtract From Radio & How To Fix It

I am thankful that the spot to discourage people from driving when stoned featuring sound effects of seals barking like they have bronchitis is no longer on the air.

The ad had the seals, (or some humans making seal sounds), yelping several seconds too long, the yelps themselves sounded unpleasant, and it was a station changer.

I agree that there's a problem in general with the copy, and another problem is writing overly "clever" ads that need a VOICE ACTOR to make it work, when what's available is the guy/gal next door read you get from most radio hosts.

I think everyone on Newstalk 1010, and GNR am640 who has to read an ad for My Pillow, Frank Leo, or one of the long term disability or employment lawyers deserves a bloody 🏅 medal.