Engagement As A New Way Of Thinking

A recent survey from Adobe found that a resounding number of respondents view marketing and PR as B.S.  We shouldn’t write off that poll result as unjust.  I feel, in many cases, commercial messaging continues to be less “engaging”.  Marketing extraordinaire Heidi Cohen recently offered tips to debunk marketing myths mentioned in the Adobe surveys on her blog.  Meanwhile, I want to talk about the content of ads.

The problem of “bad” commercials is being tackled by Philadelphia radio station owner Jerry Lee.  He announced this week an “engaging commercials” initiative.  Yes, this effort really is as simple as it sounds.  His goal is to make sure commercials on his radio station are engaging.  His plan involves playing a commercial for a third-party who will confirm whether or not the ad is engaging.  A common problem, not just with radio, is a rush to get commercials in front of potential customers without thoroughly conceptualizing, writing, and producing them.  In radio,  there used to be a production team working on commercials at each cluster in a market.  That task is now reduced to one or two individuals.  Compounding the issue is that many large clients are dropping their own creative teams and ad agencies, opting instead for free creative services offered by radio stations who are now focused on quantity and not quality.  You can see where problems could result from such an arrangement.  Isn’t it silly that an effort to make commercials engaging is now considered revolutionary?

My last blog entry talked about examples of poor placement of radio commercials during Thanksgiving weekend.  While the messages may have been effective, their untimely delivery prevented them from being successful.  Another example came when I noticed a billboard on the side of a bus as I was sitting at lunch on Monday.  The ad for a live event was simple and intriguing, but totally out of place since the event took place in mid-October.

image created by Shane Goad, modifying an original photo at http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/640438

It sounds simple, but the challenge is to create messages that stand out from all the others.  This is nothing new.  Yet, it happens rarely.  Success will still come to those who deliver a relevant message to a specific audience in a timely manner.


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