RAB Research Archive

This car is a lemon



Imagine your local car dealer taking out a full-page ad with the picture of a car on the lot and the single headline: Lemon. It's what Volkswagen did in the 1960s with great success. Some hailed it as creative genius, ushering in a new era of creativity in advertising thanks to Bill Bernbach.

In Luke Sullivan's book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads, he shares that Bill Bernbach founded the New York agency, Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) on the then-radical notion that customers aren't nitwits who need to be fooled or lectured or hammered into listening to a client's sales message. Here is Bernbach's take on advertising:

The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.

In our haste to get copy on the air, we often don't take the time needed to really uncover the interesting truth about our clients. It's not a lack of skill. Many salespeople "think" they are not good at copywriting. If you've ever told a friend or colleague about an experience you had buying something or visiting a store, you can write commercials. The key is not to write copy. What? The key is to tell stories — tell the truth, but tell it in an interesting and emotionally engaging and memorable way.

In our Radio Sales Essentials course we share the rules of advertising. One of those rules is that people do not respond to ads, they respond to needs, and the purpose of advertising is to help your clients become known before they are needed. This concept and many other advertising concepts are inspired by pioneers like Bill Bernbach.

Your client's messages are not going to be memorable unless they are interesting, emotional and imaginative. We try not to be directive, but rather be suggestive in these sales tips. In this case, allow us this indulgence: Please stop writing copy. If you want your clients to get better results, the evidence is clear. Stories with emotion, imagination and truth will resonate with your audience and help your clients become known before they are needed.

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at jeff.Schmidt@Rab.com or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development





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