Advice on making strong radio ads


Dan Hill’s firm Sensory Logic, which for a decade has measured the emotional impact of marketing communications, recently completed a study of 10 radio ads to determine the most effective appeal. Of the spots scrutinized, a Comp USA ad was best, a State Farm ad second best, and a Car Sense ad took third place.

"Too often, radio merely gets executed and then broadcast without enough consideration – or testing – to ensure its effectiveness," according to Hill, whose latest book is "Emotionomics, Winning Hearts and Minds" (2007). 

"What makes for a strong radio ad? Some general guidelines include making the intimacy of radio work for you by talking in the first person, as if between friends (instead of shouting, literally or figuratively) and transforming it into a visual medium; make sure people can envision the situation being described," Hill adds.

Specifically Hill offers five guidelines, which were applied to his analysis of the 10 radio ads.

1. Message clarity – will listeners understand what they’re hearing quickly and cleanly?

2. Engagement potential – will the ad cut through based on having emotional punch?

3. Personality – does the ad either showcase a personality or simply have personality, without being too distracting from the offer?

4. Resonance – will it have emotional sticking power because it speaks to real needs and wants in real ways?

5. Wording – will the words connect because they are easy to envision, instead of abstract?