The Sound of Success

It’s a very rare radio client who can successfully voice his or her own ads. But that doesn’t stop them from doing it anyway.

And now more than ever it’s not likely that a sales pro will turn down an order because the client sounds like he’s got a mouth full of marshmallows when he reads. Gone are the days when programmers took a stand against the sound of their radio station being hijacked by an annoying voice or unprofessional read. Radio is a business and businesses have to make money. I understand the reluctance to tell a client that they should stick to repairing cars or selling overpriced clothing or fixing furnaces but not having the stones to tell them hurts us all.

There’s an ad running for a repair shop, read by the owner’s teenaged daughters, who both sound like they’re being forced at gunpoint to say nice things in a cavernous bathroom. Forget that they aren’t “selling” the message and that the script is horrific – the quality of the recording is poor. What is the real cost of going back to the drawing board? Embarrassment. And that’s radio’s problem. Howard Stern once famously called it the “lowest form of show business” and its refusal to stand up for itself is a case in point.

That commercial never should have made it to air. Our News Director would not have allowed a report recorded with such poor quality to go to air unless it was Anderson Cooper getting swept away in the tsunami. Why is it OK when it’s a commercial? We, as an industry, have to stand up for ourselves and say in the gentlest way possible that although, Sir or Madam, you may be the King of Climate Control, you are not a professional announcer and you need one. This is what we do and you, Dear Client, are sounding out words as if you’re learning to read! Imagine if I walked into your business and started rearranging the shelves and adopting a whole new sales strategy. You’d put your foot down and stop me because you know better. Touche, my good man – touche!

2 thoughts on “The Sound of Success”

  1. I promise, I promise, I’ll never do it again! Actually, I can honestly say I can’t recall any commercials like the one you mentioned, however I do know of a couple where the business owner does participate in the spot and they don’t seem any better or worse than any other commercials.

  2. GREAT client ad: Mississauga Toyota. Bad client ad: almost all of the rest. You are so right, Lisa. A pal very recently did an ad in which his/her voice was unrecognizable. The spot WAS recorded, literally in the producer’s bathroom. That’s where the mic was, and that is exactly how it sounded. It’s also where the spot should have ended up.

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