“We Had A Really Nice Ad”

I subscribe to Roy Williams‘ view that campaigns rarely fail because they use the wrong medium; they fail because they deliver the wrong message. But it’s an uphill battle — one of the most common objections an advertising salesperson hears is “We tried [name of medium here] and it didn’t work.”

The other day a jewelry store owner told me he wasn’t interested in meeting with me because “we tried radio once and it didn’t work. We had a really nice ad, and it didn’t bring us any business.”

If it didn’t bring you any business, I asked, what made it a really nice ad?

“Several people called us,” he replied, “and asked where they could buy the music.”

The most depressing part of the conversation is that he delivered the line completely without irony. Someone in my profession convinced him to spend good money on a campaign whose most memorable feature was the music.

Years later, this business owner still believes that this ineffective commercial is how a jewelry store radio ad is supposed to sound. And that — Tom Shane and Woody Justice notwithstanding — radio won’t work for his store.

If he’d been willing to meet with me, I might have showed him what a really, really nice ad sounded like. An ad that sells jewelry, not music.


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