Radio Ads – How long should they be?
Use 15-second ads when: You have an incredibly powerful, simple message. Don’t screw it up by blah, blah, blahing for 30 seconds when you can say it more powerfully in 15. Sadly, many ad writers fall into the trap described so eloquently by French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal: “I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” At least 25 percent of the 30-second ads on most stations would really work better as 15s. But most stations aren’t willing to sell 15-second ads at a price that makes them attractive. Even more difficult is training ad writers how to uncover the vital, core message that can be powerfully communicated in 15 short seconds. Tight, powerful ads are hard to write, but definitely worth the effort. You’re in a business category in which no one advertises but you. When path dominance has been acquiesced to you by your competitors and simple name recognition will likely be enough to make customers think of your name when they need what you sell, don’t be an idiot-buy 15-second ads and mentions. Use 30-second ads when: Your product or service category is clearly understood and you’re making an easy-to-understand offer. Say it plain. Say it straight. Eliminate all but the most essential adjectives and adverbs. Replace clichés and predictable phrases with unanticipated wording. Focus on verbs and use as many as possible. Make one point per ad, but make it powerfully in the script. Whatever you do, don’t write a weak message and then try to compensate for it with powerful delivery (vocal inflection, dramatic music, sound effects.) The ’70s are over.