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Don't Make the #1 Mistake in TV Advertising!

Don’t Make
the #1 Mistake
in TV Advertising!

I’m sitting here watching TV at 2pm on Saturday, August 10th, 2013.  As I head to the frig to refill my drink, here’s what I hear:

  1. Dubstep music is playing as I dance down the hall to the kitchen.  I guess I’m too old.  I am so not into dubstep.

  2. Salonpas JetSpray – What a weird name.  How did they ever settle on that?  That’s gotta be a product from another country that was brought to the US. 

  3. hp moonshot – Sooooooo, what am I supposed to do?  Buy a Moonshot?  Buy hp stock?

  4. Chase Ink Card –  I don’t believe in credit cards.  Next.

  5. No No Hair Removal System –    I wrote and produced an ad for their competition.

So, what did you get?  What went through your mind for each one of those products or services?

…and are you even curious what the dubstep music was?  It was another ad.

Silence Is Never Golden In Advertising

Besides thirty seconds of music, beyond the musical interlude it provided between the show and the commercials, I have no idea what the product or service is, and have exactly 0% chance of making a purchase.  (Actually, I do know.  I’ll give you the link at the end.)

(As I write this, another commercial comes on with Gary Numan “In Cars” as the background music.  I see a couple kids in a toy car.  The kids are cute.  I danced to the music in my teen years.  No sale.)

There are dozens of ads on TV and all they have are images and music.  Or visuals and sound effects.  Yes, those ads are artistic, and beautiful.  Some of them are very moving.  But, like David Ogilvy says:  “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

Without a voice over or an actor explaining the features and benefits of your product or service, you’re missing the boat.

I remember reading one smack-in-the-face from an advertising pro saying: TV ads with no voiceover are displays of ego by the ad agency.  The agency has the audacity to think, “I’m going to stop what I’m doing to give you my undivided attention to watch your pretty images because they are pretty” is nothing but pure unadulterated narcissism on the part of the agency.

Wow.  I’m glad I don’t write TV ads to be guilty of that.

Include a Voice Over – Every Time

All the other ads in that stop set, I heard the product or service:  relieve sore muscles, internet servers, credit cards, smooth legs.

I got it.

Even with my back turned to the TV and not fully attentive to the commercial, I got the message because of the voice over.  It followed me even when I wasn’t engaged in the ad.

Quick experiment:  Do you have the TV or radio going right now?  Have you heard any ads?  You might not be able to quote them back verbatim, but you know you heard some, right?

Now – how many newspapers, magazines, flyers, direct mail pieces, telephone books (yellow pages) are within the same auditory radius of the TV or radio?  How are they impacting you right now?

They’re not.

Radio is an intrusive medium.  TV can be an intrusive medium.  Print and internet – you don’t even have to walk away or turn it off to ignore it.  TV and radio:  you have to interrupt what you’re doing to turn it down or turn it off.

Is your advertising providing entertainment for your audience?  Or is it moving them closer to purchasing from you?

With radio – you have no choice.  Your ads must contain a well written script with a compelling and convincing voice over.

  • Gut Check:  How many of your TV ads have no voice over?
  • Action Steps:  Send me a copy of your ad and we’ll get it changed.

Leave your comments below and find a great voice for your business.

P.S.:  As promised, here are the two “voiceless” ads.  Dubstep music ad.  Ad with “In Cars”.

Photo courtesy of hartman045.