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Using My Super Powers

My boys and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earlier this evening. We are Marvel Studios junkies. Even the bad ones were good enough for us. I’ve always been fascinated by super heroes, especially their powers and how they use them. I am firm believer that we all have super powers within us. Maybe not the ability to fly or super-human strength or making fire shoot from our eyes. But we have talents that, when harnessed properly, become amazing powers.

I have learned that one of my powers is the ability to take complex subjects and make them understandable.

Independent retailers have to master a number of skills to be successful.

  • You have to be good with your Products – knowing your products inside and out, knowing how to relate to customers, knowing which products to sell and how to sell them.
  • You have to be good at Marketing & Advertising – knowing how to get the word out to people that you are the place to shop.
  • You have to be good at Financials – knowing how to manage your cash flow, maintaining profit margin, keeping expenses in alignment with sales.
  • If you’re a large enough store you have to be good with People – knowing how to hire, train, and manage a quality team.

Those are the main legs of the retail business – Products, Marketing, Financials, and People.

I used to say I was good at three, just don’t ask me about Financials. Then the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) asked me to do something unthinkable. They asked me to write a book about the financials of a toy store called “Financials Made Easy.”

They said if anyone could do it, I could. I told them if they changed the title to “Financials You Can Understand” (because no one could make it “easy”) then I was their guy.

In four months I learned and understood more about Financials than I ever thought possible. The book is one of my favorite writing projects because I had to take a topic I barely understood myself and translate it into the language of non-accountants everywhere. (My accountant friends who helped proof-read the book for errors were amazed as much as I was at how well it turned out.)

The book is proprietary property of ASTRA. You have to join ASTRA to get a copy. But the knowledge I gained in the process helped me tremendously at Toy House and also in my teachings through Jackson Retail Success Academy™ and PhilsForum. Later that year I did my first workshop on the topic. One of the attendees said her accountant had been trying to teach her this stuff for years, but this was the first time it finally made sense.

I have now presented several times on the topics of Retail Math, my least favorite and least experienced topic. I’ll be doing both a beginner and an expert breakout session on elements of the book at the upcoming ASTRA Academy in June.

I tell you this because I want you to understand the reasoning behind writing the book Most Ads Suck. Unlike Financials, I love Marketing & Advertising. I took over that element of Toy House in 1995 and began experimenting, trying different things to see what worked. I began studying advertising and reading different authors who spoke on advertising.

My radio sales rep Linda McDougall gave me Roy H. Williams’ first book The Wizard of Ads. I was hooked immediately. I ordered the other two books in his trilogy the very next day. I also became a huge fan of Seth Godin and joined his now defunct website triiibes based on his book Tribes where I met people as passionate about marketing and advertising as I was. I started using stuff I learned from Roy and Seth and Malcolm Gladwell and Gary Vaynerchuk and Daniel H. Pink and Guy Kawasaki and others.

Not everything I learned worked for me. I had to mix and distill and tweak and measure and test. But when it did work, it was magical.

I wrote this ad in a few minutes one Sunday afternoon in July 2008 …

I couldn’t believe it. They were taking customers into the men’s bathroom. Yes, my staff was taking men and women, young and old, into our men’s bathroom. And they were coming out laughing, smiling, oh yeah, and buying, too. I guess when you have a product this good, you just have to show it off however… and wherever… you can. The men’s bathroom… Gotta love it!  Toy House in downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile.

I didn’t ever think about not running it. It told a story. It made you laugh (emotion). It grabbed your interest. Yeah, it mentioned the men’s bathroom, but not in a bad or seedy way. Yeah, it never mentioned the product (if you remember the previous blog, you know that feelings are more important than facts.) Yeah, it went viral big time.

The ad ran in August 2008. Two times a day, Monday through Friday, for four weeks. That’s it.

The first day it aired, the DJ started talking about it live on air, wondering what was going on in our men’s bathroom. The second day, all the DJ’s on all the related stations were talking about it – including one of the stations that wasn’t even running the ad! By day three even the local TV talk show host was speculating on that ad. All fall my staff and I would get asked at the grocery store or the gas station about what was going on in the men’s bathroom. In March 2009 one customer stopped in and asked me because, “All we talked about at the adult table at Christmas Dinner was was going on in your men’s bathroom.” And she lived two hours away!

When people are talking about your ads weeks and months after they aired, you made memorable ads. When people are asking you about your ads even when you’re not in your store, your business is at the top of their minds. When people talk to their friends and family about your ads, you know you made an impact.

That ad wasn’t a lucky accident. It was years of study and testing. It was years of trial and error. It was millions of dollars spent learning what moves the needle and what doesn’t.

The book Most Ads Suck (But Yours Won’t) is me using my super powers to take something as complex and nuanced as Advertising, that I have spent twenty years studying and actively doing, and make it understandable. This is me at my best helping you become your best. I am asking for your support to help launch this book.

My super power is to make it understandable. I’m counting on your super power to make it happen now.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS The principles in this book don’t just work for radio ads. The principles apply to billboards, print ads, television, direct mail, email, social media, pitches to investors, political speeches, and anywhere else where you need to persuade someone. If you haven’t yet pre-ordered the book through my Indiegogo campaign, there are plenty of links above.

Making Your Ads More Effective

Next Thursday I will be doing a seminar for the Marshall Area Economic Development Authority called “Making Your Ads More Effective”. This is one of my favorite presentations because it includes a few lucky (brave?) souls who submit advertisement they have used previously and I give those ads a makeover. It is also one of my most vulnerable moments.

That’s always been the fascinating thing about being a speaker. I get to stand on stage and tell you what to do with your business. Then I walk away. I get paid whether you do anything or not. I get paid whether what I say helps you or not. You don’t always know if the speaker knows what he or she is talking about. You don’t always know if the speaker has walked the walk or if this is just some interesting theory and you’re the guinea pig. You don’t know if what the speaker is teaching actually applies to your situation or not.

Any good speaker will convince you with pre-determined data and facts and anecdotes and testimonials that what they are teaching works. In this case, however, I take it a step further, using not my own stories and data but your stories and data. For me, that makes it even more fun and challenging.

My next book just went to the editor yesterday and is based entirely on this presentation. The book title is, “Most Ads Suck (But Yours Won’t)”. It includes six principles I have uncovered from years of trial and error and years of study that make ads more memorable and effective. It includes scientific information, stories, and observable phenomenon taken from the real world of advertising. It includes samples from a wide range of companies from around the world. It includes everything I will be teaching to the fine people of Marshall this coming Thursday morning. It show how you can apply these principles to your web copy, your social media posts, your print campaigns, and your broadcast media.

The last time I presented this information, one member in the audience was an MBA Professor who acknowledged that none of this was being taught in their program but every one of their students needed to hear it. (We’re working out those details.)

In a few days I will be launching a crowdfunding campaign for this book to help cover the costs of editing and formatting and layout and cover design and printing costs. To entice you to help fund this, you’ll be able to pre-order copies of the book with your donation. Those of you willing to donate a little more can even get a free webinar or phone consultation or remake of your own advertising. Those of you willing to donate a lot can get me to visit for either one-on-one consultation or to do a workshop or seminar in your town.

The amazing thing to me as I was doing research for this book was how many of these principles the major companies who spend millions of dollars on advertising get right, and how often they also get it wrong. Some of the principles are common sense. Some, however, are counter intuitive. As I get the manuscript back from the editor I will be posting excerpts through this blog. In the meantime, if you’re curious about what the book and the presentation are teaching, contact the Marshall Area Economic Development Authority and see if they’ll let you in the door.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS One of the six principles is to make sure your ads only make one point. Don’t try to clutter your ad with too many points. The average casual listener will barely ever remember one, if that. This is one of the biggest mistakes I used to make in my advertising. Once I solved it, results started soaring. As homework, I want you to listen to the ads on your car radio. Seriously listen and see how many points each advertiser crams into each ad. Leave me a comment below with some of the worst offenders you hear.

Write Your Ad to One Specific Person

Christmas Eve, Nineteen Sixty-Five. He didn’t know if he would make it. Nine months of active duty, he missed his family. And he was an uncle now. His sister had a baby girl, a precious little child for which a stuffed animal from an airport gift shop just wouldn’t do.  
As his dad picked him up in the family sedan, he asked, “We got time to stop by the Toy House?”
“Of course, son. Welcome home.” 
Merry Christmas from the Toy House in downtown Jackson where Christmas magic happens.

I talk a lot about speaking to the heart of your customer. But which heart? Too often we try to include as many people as possible in our ads. We write them to reach the widest audience. But the wider we cast our net, the shallower the net can go.

If you really want to snag the best customers, you have to go deep, not wide. Write your ad to one specific person in the language that he or she will understand the most.

The ad above was written to anyone who has a loved one who has served in the military. They got that ad. They got it deeply. Others may not. You might not. But I wasn’t writing to you.

My buddy Rick says (and I paraphrase)… You can blast your ad to Everyone, but in the process you won’t reach Someone. I would add that you’ll end up moving No One.

Write your ad to Someone, not Everyone, and speak to that Someone’s heart.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS The best example I’ve ever seen is the store Bras That Fit. Yes, they sell bras in hard-to-find and custom sizing. Yes, they sell primarily to women. Yes, they sponsor an ESPN Radio talk show. Sports. Men. Bras??  Their message is simple… “Hey guys, tired about hearing your wife complain about her bra not fitting?” They are targeting a very specific group – married men whose wives complain about their bras – and it works!

PPS Before you write anything, know exactly who you are targeting and what you want them to do. Tim Miles calls that the Relevance. Speak to me in my language and the ad instantly becomes relevant to me.

Do Sex and Humor Sell?

Some like to rip theirs off quickly in the heat of the moment.  Others run their fingers down the seam, taking it off slowly savoring every second.  Pulses quicken, breathing deepens, the anticipation is almost agonizing.  Usually it’s the teddies, occasionally polka dots.  Always there is a smile.  There’s nothing like Free Giftwrapping at the Toy House.  What were you thinking about?  Toy House in downtown Jackson.  The giftwrapping’s free, the smiles priceless.

I ran this ad back in October 2009 and I got some flack for it. Yet it brings up two important questions about advertising.


DOES SEX SELL?

Should a toy store (or anyone else for that matter) be using sex in their ads?

You’ve all heard the adage, “Sex sells!” I agree, but would add the following disclaimer, “but only when the sex is related to the message.”

Take that same statement and replace the word sex with humor. It still applies.

Every Super Bowl someone uses stupid humor or blatant sex to get your attention, often with backfiring results. You remember the sex/humor, but not the company. Sex and humor are attractive. Sex and humor get your attention. Sex and humor make a larger impact. But if they don’t tie into your message, you get all the attention and none of the benefit. Use them with care.

ARE COMPLAINTS ABOUT MY ADS BAD?

What is your first goal with your ad? If you said draw traffic, you’re wrong. Your first goal is to get someone’s attention. Your second goal is to move the needle so that someone takes action.

You have to remember that your ads are like magnets. Their ability to attract is equal to their ability to repel. The more strongly you attract one type of customer, the more likely you will turn off another type.

If someone is complaining about your ads, then you know two things. You got their attention and you said something strong enough to repel (and attract). You’re moving the needle!

Just make sure you are attracting the right people.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS Don’t write your ads just to get complaints. Write your ads to make powerful statements that you can back up with your actions and don’t worry about the people who complain. Haters gotta hate.

What Will it Take to Move the Needle?

Most people trying to persuade others to their point of view will bring out mounds and mounds of data. Stacks that reach as high as the ceiling fan. Piles that will collapse all but the most stout table. And if that isn’t enough, we’ll pile on even more.

But does the needle move?

Data is rarely enough to move the needle. Data usually only emboldens the base. The two sides in the Climate Change debate have more data than they can process. Yet there are still two sides.

Data won’t move the needle for your customers either.

You’ve heard it said when someone changes their position on something… “I’ve had a change of heart.” That’s all you need to know right there. If they said, “I’ve changed my mind,” you expect they will change it right back when the mood hits. But when they’ve had a change of heart, it’s much more powerful.

The one thing that really moves the needle, whether it be politics, science, or retail, is the heart. Emotions and feelings move people. Data doesn’t.

If you want to persuade people to do business with you, you have to move the heart. Don’t tell me what you do (data), tell me why it matters (emotion). Don’t tell me what you know (data), tell me how it helps (emotion). Don’t tell me where you are (data), tell me why I want to find you (emotion). Don’t make me think, make me feel.

When she was three she galloped down the aisles on stick horses.  At six, she brushed the mane of her My Little Pony.  At nine she used her own allowance to start her Breyer Horse collection.  And on her sixteenth birthday, she drove the car here just for a book on how to draw horses.  Now on her way to college, her parents wanted a gift.  I handed them Horse-opoly.  They smiled and said, “How did you know?”  Just a guess.  Toy House in downtown Jackson.  We’re here to make you smile.

Speak to the heart.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS That was a radio ad I ran back in October 2010. Note, it doesn’t tell our hours or our services or that we have more horse-related toys than anyone else in town (data). Instead it told a story of a girl who grew up before our eyes, who just happened to like horses.

No One Likes to Listen to Your Ads

Could you stand up to the microphone at a poetry slam and read your radio ads?

How fast would you be booed off the stage?

I read fourteen of my radio ads the other night. One after the other. Didn’t get booed. Lots of snapping of the fingers (the way you applaud a great line at a poetry slam). Lots of real applause at the end. One audience member wanted a copy of the ads to make posters.

The language of the poet is the language of emotion. The poet uses words to make you feel.

The only thing you feel after most radio ads is the need to change the station.

But what would happen if instead of commercials, your favorite radio station did a string of 30-second poems? What would happen if each of those poems was written to make you feel something? Would you listen? Of course you would!

If you want your ads to be heard, write like a poet.
If you want people to be moved, write like a poet.
If you want a new way to reach a new audience, go to a poetry slam. They’ll let you know if you’re hitting the mark.

No one likes to listen to crappy ads. Make your ads move people.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS This morning I did a presentation on Branding to a group of high school students taking a CEO class. When I got to Q&A, the first question was, “Do you have any radio ads to read?”

Why Your Ads Go Viral

I just watched an interesting TEDTalk about Why Videos Go Viral from Kevin Allocca, a YouTube Trendwatcher (yes, he watches YouTube videos as a profession).

He explains there are three things that make a video go viral.

  • Tastemakers
  • Participation
  • Unexpectedness

The same three things are true of your advertisements.

TASTEMAKERS

If someone of importance takes note of your video – a “tastemaker” whom people follow – then others will take note. In advertising, you have to speak to the people who influence the decision.

McDonald’s has made a mint by advertising to the backseat influencers. A clown and funny characters and toys have been so effective at reaching this audience that people concerned about our children’s health have pushed to ban the golden arches from putting toys in their Happy Meals.

We have a local bra store that advertises on the local sports talk show. Yes, she advertises bras and lingerie on a radio show heavily skewed towards men.  Her message? “Guy, are you tired of hearing your wife complain about her bra not fitting? Send her to Bras That Fit.”

They are speaking to the influencers, the tastemakers.

Your ads should be targeted to the tastemakers, the people who have the influence to send customers your way. Sometimes that is the customer herself, but sometimes it is someone within her circle that has the power to influence her. Let me ask you what would be more effective? A radio ad to a woman about bras, or her husband saying, “Honey, you’ve been complaining so much about your bras. Why don’t you try out that store…?”

PARTICIPATION

What do the Harlem Shake, NYAN Cat, and the Friday Song all have in common? Besides millions of views, they have thousands of knockoffs and spin-offs, and copycats. They have audience participation.

People love to be involved. People love to be included. People love to be loved. In fact, the most seductive word in the English language is a three letter word and it doesn’t include an X.  The most seductive word is…

YOU

Do your ads speak directly to the customer (or influencer)? Do your ads talk about the customer twice as much as they talk about your company? Do your ads include the customer as an insider, as a participant? Can your customer see herself doing what you want her to do? When you talk more about her than you do yourself; when you paint a picture of her doing what you want her to do, when you include her as part of you, then you are creating participatory ads.

UNEXPECTEDNESS

How many times have you watched a video and wished you had those three minutes back? You aren’t sharing those videos. There has to be something exciting and unexpected for you to hit the share button.

Let’s face it. The expected is so… boring. The expected is so cliche, uninspiring, blah, blah, blah. We are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages a day. We have learned to filter anything that looks or sounds like an ad. We have learned to ignore the mundane. We have learned to pass over the unexciting.

Your ads need to be unexpected, too.

The most effective radio ad I ever ran started with these words… “I couldn’t believe it. They were taking customers into the men’s bathroom…”

After hearing that, you know everyone wanted to hear more. Can you say something totally unexpected to get their attention? Can you then tie that into one interesting point? Can you surprise and excite and delight people in a way that makes them want to hit the share button?

The same principles that make a video go viral also affect the effectiveness of your advertising. You might not get a few million views, but if you follow Kevin’s advice, you can make your advertising budget a heck of a lot more powerful without spending a penny more.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS Roy H. Williams, aka The Wizard of Ads, calls this the Impact Quotient of your ads. Here is a free download called How Ads Work Part 2 that I wrote to give you examples of how to make your ads more memorable and impactful.

Ripping a New Ad Part 2

Time to take another critical look at some radio ad copy. This is my ad for November…

The Toys They Play With
It wasn’t on his list. In fact, he’d never heard of it. Christmas morning, it did not get the same exclamation of joy as those other toys he thought he wanted. But when the excitement of those TV-advertised toys turned to disappointment because they barely engaged him longer than their ads, he picked up this other toy. Guess which one he’s still playing with. There are the toys on their list and the toys they play with. You know which ones we carry. Toy House in downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile.

Like before, let’s break down this ad on the five points that turn okay copy into great copy. As a reminder, the five points are:

  1. Make only one point
  2. Speak to the heart
  3. Speak more of the customer than you do yourself
  4. Back up all your claims with evidence
  5. Tell a story

Make Only One Point
The point on this ad is clear. The toys we sell have more play value than the ones your kids see on TV. Those are the types of toys you should buy.

Speak to the Heart
This ad has an emotional appeal because it talks about Christmas and both the excitement and disappointment of the toys/gifts of Christmas. Telling it from the perspective of a child adds to the emotional tug. Telling a story that speaks to a fear all too familiar to many parents – getting a bunch of toys that just aren’t as fun as they looked on TV – also resonates emotionally.

Speak More of the Customer Than You Do Yourself
In this ad, neither the customer nor the store dominates the copy. The boy does. Story formats, however, help the customer picture herself in the midst of that story. Therefore, this ad speaks implicitly just as often of the customer as it does the store. Informational formats should be more explicit and focus more heavily on the words you and your.

Back Up All Your Claims
The claim in this ad is that toys do not meet the expectations set up by their TV ads. In this case, you either agree with that statement and the ad resonates with you, or you disagree with that statement and therefore disagree with the premise of the ad. I am not trying to convince you of that statement. I only use the claim to define my audience. I am willing to take that polarizing stand because I know that the people who believe that statement will like what I have to offer. Those that do not, will not be interested in my ad or my business.

Tell a Story
Going back to my favorite form of advertising here. Stories beat facts every single day. We are skeptical of facts (hence the importance of backing them up). But we love stories. We are more willing to listen to a story than to hear a bunch of facts. Stories get attention. Stories move people to action. Stories make people feel. Wouldn’t you like your ads to get attention, move people to action and make them feel something?

Don’t let your radio ads sound like everyone else. Do and say something different.

-Phil Wrzesinski
http://www.philsforum.com/


PS Based on the five criteria, I gave my last ad a B. How would you rate this one?

PPS I have to give my son, Ian, credit for the inspiration for this ad. Ian told me that one of his favorite Christmas gifts was the large stuffed dog he got in 2005 that still stands guard over his bed every night. As he says… “It wasn’t even on my list!”

Radio Ads That Don’t Sound Like Ads in 30 Seconds or Less

The other day I was on a Facebook page with other toy store owners. The subject came up about writing radio ads.

My biggest advice about radio ads is to make them not sound like other radio ads. Say something unique that grabs the listener’s attention and then tell a story from that. So I took a line from everyone’s comments in that thread on FB and tried to make a radio ad out of it.

I’m posting them here for you to see the creative process. You can say just about anything in the opening line and craft an ad around it. The more outrageous the opening line, the more people will pay attention.

My best ad ever started with the line… “I couldn’t believe it. They were taking customers into the men’s bathroom!”

For your amusement and motivation, please read on… (and remember, I took a line from everyone’s comments and used it for my opening – I especially like the Margarita ad)

The one investment guaranteed to pay off is your child’s toys. Before you laugh, hear me out. The quality of the toys you buy is what shapes your child’s ability to think and learn. And it isn’t just about educational toys. It’s about toys that foster creativity and imagination. Invest in those and your child will reap benefits one hundred times greater than the money you spend. Come see me at Toy House and I’ll find you the best investment for your child.

Ask not what your toy can do for you, but what you can do with your toy. That’s the problem with most toys. They do so much your kid rarely gets to play. Except for the toys at Toy House. We specialize in toys your kids actually play with, toys that foster their creativity and expand their minds. Don’t buy toys that do, buy toys that make your kids do. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it later.

We have a great Christmas party every year. The best part is that the kids are off playing, leaving us adults alone. Of course, when they get toys from Toy House there is so much more play value that they want to play with their toys. In fact, at our Valentines’ Party they’re still playing with those toys. Toys for Christmas that last through Valentine’s. You will find them at Toy House.

Given the current stock market roller coaster, I would tell you to invest your money in your child’s toys. Buy toys that will expand his imagination. Buy toys that will spark her creativity. No matter what the economy… imagination and creativity are the two skills your kids will need to compete in the future. And you’ll find the best selection of these toys at Toy House in downtown Jackson. That’s one investment guaranteed to make you smile.

I never used to have time for Margaritas. I was always busy trying to find new things for my self-proclaimed bored kids to do. Then I found Toy House. They taught me so much about how to evaluate the play value of toys. Now I buy better toys and my kids keep themselves busy. And I have time to relax with my friends sipping our favorite drink. Go to Toy House. They’ll teach you everything you… and your kids… need to know.

I was so freaking uninspired. My kids never played more than a couple weeks with all of the toys I bought. I figured, I would try that little toy store down on Mechanic St. Talk about mind-blowing! They showed me how to pick toys that matched my kids skills and interests, how to find toys that had longer lasting play value. You might think being a smaller toy store, it wouldn’t have what you want, but Toy House has the kind of toys my kids play with for months on end. Thanks Toy House. You rock!

It’s not like buying underwear. Your kids will wear whatever you buy them (if you can get them to wear any at all). But buying toys takes a little more thought. The right toys will grow their brains and put them at the top of their classes in school. The toys that simply entertain them with asking them to do much if anything will create selfish little brats that will cause you to meet with their teachers way too often. So go to Toy House and get top of the class toys. Unlike the underwear, your kids will actually want to use these.

Have fun with your radio ads. Say something interesting and outrageous and people will pay attention. It isn’t as hard as you think.

-Phil Wrzesinski
www.PhilsForum.com

PS For more on advertising, check out the Freebies section of my website. Seven FREE eBooks to help you spread the word about your wonderful business.

Four Steps to a Killer Radio Ad Campaign

You’ve tried radio advertising. Bought some package the sale rep offered. Ran a few ads that sounded “professional” and got little return out of it.

That’s because you didn’t do it my way.*

Here are the four steps to running a Killer radio ad campaign.

  1. Figure out your core values.
  2. Pick one core value that will have the deepest connection with your customers (and one that your competitors most likely don’t have).
  3. Write a killer emotional ad that touches on that core value.
  4. Keep the ad running changing only the copy, not the core value, now through Christmas.

Core Values

These are the values both you and your business hold dear. Values that you will never change. Values so strong that you would rather close up shop than change them.

My store’s core values are Fun, Helpful, Educational, and Nostalgic. Ask me to drop any of those and it is a deal killer. If you are struggling to figure out your core values, download my free eBook Understanding Your Brand and the accompanying worksheets.

Deep Connection

Believe it or not but it isn’t income, education or marital status that drives loyal customers into your store. Your best customers are there because they share the same values or belief system that you do. Those shared values are the bond between you.

The deeper that connection, the stronger the bond.

When you pick a value to use for your marketing, either pick the one that is the most emotional or the one that is least likely to be found in your competitors.

For example, as a toy store, one of my values is Fun. But all of my competitors also have some claim on the concept of Fun because we all sell toys. Nostalgia, however, runs much deeper and more emotional. Education is a missing component in the big box competitors, and Helpful has never been their strong suit either. So I tend to focus on those values in my ads.

Killer Emotional Ads

Remember that the goal of your ad is to move someone to action. That someone is the person who shares your values. Write an ad directly at her heart. Speak to her and only to her. Speak about her values and how you understand them. Speak to her concerns, needs, and beliefs.

Forget about everyone else who might be hearing your ad and just write it to that one person. You will be amazed at how many of those “one persons” there are out there.

Killer emotional ads do not sound like any other ad on the radio. That is good! No one likes ads so we tune out anything that remotely sounds like an ad. Here is an example of a killer emotional ad…

He left Detroit 9am Christmas Eve… Someone somewhere had to have the one toy his sweet little six-year old wanted. Six cities…seven stores later, he stood, travel-weary, across the counter from me. “I suppose you don’t have any Simon games either.” As I handed over the last of our Simon games he smiled and said, “God Bless You!” Believe me, He already has. Merry Christmas from the Toy House in downtown Jackson. We’re here to make you smile.

Keep it Going

Radio advertising is not a sprint. It is a long distance run. If you want this campaign to give you great fourth quarter results, you have to start running now.

At the same time, radio ads can get boring really quickly. One superbly written, emotionally-driven, killer ad can turn boring in only a matter of weeks. So you have to write a whole bunch of ads all around the same value. Figure out how to say the same thing five different ways and you have the makings of a killer campaign.

There are eighteen weeks until Christmas. Five ads all about your strongest core value running three to four weeks each will connect you powerfully to your best customers and get them to choose you over your competitors this fall.

Killer.

-Phil Wrzesinski

www.PhilsForum.com

*PS My way is really Roy’s way, as in Roy H. Williams, aka The Wizard of Ads. He taught me. I did it. I saw the results.

PPS For more on how to use radio the right way, check out this post I wrote in 2009.