Much has been written, recently, about shorter advertisements. In the beginning, when Marconi (or Tesla) invented radio, the standard format for radio commercials was sixty seconds. But as people’s attention spans have gotten shorter and shorter and the total number of advertisements have increased year over year, the ad community created shorter ads, thinking this was the way to cut through the clutter. The latest trend is pointing to 6 and 8 second advertisements as a way to match the attention spans that most humans possess.
I will tell this to the ad community and anyone who will listen: the problem is not the length of the commercial. The length is fine. It is the content of the commercial copy. As soon as he copy gets too irrelevant, it is boring. That has nothing to do with length. It has to do with delivering a message that resonates with the consumer. Speak to the consumer in words they will respond to, not in commercial babble. Talk about the results of doing business with you, not the features you offer. Every customer wants to know what is in it for them – so don’t disappoint.
Take this simple test. Have you have ever used one of these phrases in your commercial: family owned and operated, been in business 27 years, proudly owned by _____, and much, much more, conveniently located, our people make all the difference, fast friendly service, or my all-time favorite – for all of your _____ needs? If you have used one of these phrases, you have forced your customers to tune your commercials out. You have used words that no one cares about and mean nothing to the consumer. But these phrases continue to be inserted into broadcast commercials, nationwide, because someone heard it somewhere else before and thought they were supposed to use it, too.
The length is not the issue – it is solely the content. You could run a 10 minute commercial, as long as it was interesting and resonated with the audience. I wouldn’t recommend it, but you could. As long as the content is interesting, the length does not matter. On radio, I have always been a fan of the thirty second commercial. It is enough time to establish who you are, where you are and what value you bring to the consumer – that is what people are looking for – what is in it for them. If your commercial contains a whole lot about your business and nothing about what you can do for me as a consumer, it will be tuned out. At that point, it is not the medium that is ineffective but the content that is irrelevant.
Not sure if you have an effective message? We can help. Call Connie Hayes at 806-748-2404 or call me, directly, at 806-748-2405 and we can sit down with you and craft an effective message that can break through and resonate with your customers, both potential and existing. The length will not matter as much as the content. Get the content right!
Christopher E. Fleming
Chief Revenue Officer & General Manager
Ramar Communications, Inc.