Home » Ripping a New Ad Part 2

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

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!”


  1. Janet, I actually had a phone call from a gal compaining that she hates my ads. She says they are too negative and make it sound like all the other stores sell crap. Apparently I struck a nerve with her. Another Roy Williams thing… if your ads aren't getting complaints, they aren't powerful enough.

    Thanks for the comments.

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