Need a New Ad in a Hurry? Try Radio

It was Monday afternoon, and the stock market had just closed. Down nearly 778 points. I was in my car, listening to one of my news/talk competitors, KXL Radio in Portland, Oregon. Within about 15 minutes of the closing bell, as everyone tried to figure out if the end of the world was upon us, Talk Show Host Lars Larson had to do a live spot for a mattress store.

He began the pitch this way (I’m paraphrasing here): “Now that the stock market’s just had the biggest one-day drop in its history, you could probably use a good night’s sleep. And you can get one, on a Sleep Number Bed By Select Comfort.”

I’m not much of a Lars Larson fan. And every advertising dollar that goes to KXL is a dollar that I didn’t get.

But sitting in the Starbucks parking lot, I had to applaud. Because Lars had beautifully illustrated an advantage radio advertising has over just about every other medium — the ability to quickly change the message to reflect changes in the marketplace.

Over the years, I’ve quickly come up with new creative when storms hit; when the product a retailer was advertising ran out; when concerts sold out; and when a representative of Oregon Department of Justice informed me that a car dealer’s offer was illegal. In each of these cases, a new commercial was on the air within hours — and sometimes within less than an hour — of the change that prompted it.

Newspaper can’t do that; neither can direct mail, or television. The Yellow Pages? Fuhgeddiboutit. Each of these media has advantages of its own. But if you need to change something in a hurry, you can’t beat radio.

My name is Phil Bernstein, and I approved this message.


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