Not A Face for Radio – Part Deux

After sitting down at his desk the tone turned serious.

“I’m getting traffic,” Clyde said, perplexed.

“Considering the amount of money you must be spending on advertising you darn well better be getting traffic,” I replied.


“It’s your ads, Clyde. Your ads. They sound like they were made in your basement on a cassette recorder.”

“Well, they are.”

I detected a subtle sense of pride in his voice. I told him that his radio spots sounded like he was selling discount, low-quality merchandise, not the nice stuff that was out on the showroom floor. Sure, people were coming in. The tenor of the spots along with the low-quality production made it sound like he was having a weekly fire sale. Customers came in expecting a really low price, but even at the 20 to 30 percent discount he was promising, it was still higher than they were expecting to pay.

The perception of this brand was way out of whack with the reality: low-end, low-price merchandise is what the brand represented in the mind of the consumer. Unfortunately, the reality was that the store was selling decent quality products at a medium to high price point — a stark disconnect. The culprit? Surely the sad radio spots Clyde was running played a role.

As far as I was concerned he had two choices, either improve the quality of his advertising or start selling lower-end merchandise.

After an hour or so of spirited discussion he decided to give us a shot at the radio production. Our plan? To keep his voice on the spots
in a minor role — simply stating his name and his very recognizable slogan.

The balance of the spot was carried by a professional announcer backed by a contemporary music track.
We ran the same budget, same time slots, and the same radio stations. The results? Over the period of a couple of weeks, he was getting a whole new customer in the door and he/she was not turning around after seeing the prices and quality of merchandise.

Clyde was happy. I was happy. Brand perception and brand reality started to come into sync. And that should be the goal of any business.

A quick sidebar: During this same period a competing retailer of Clyde’s also was running extremely poor ads, poor to the point of embarrassing. The difference was that this competitor actually was selling crap merchandise — and selling a lot of it. If I wanted low-end goods, that’s where I was going to go. As terrible as their TV spots were, they are still some of the most effective I’ve seen.

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