By Al Herskovitz
BRADENTON, FL — Who cares why “Brave” beat out “Frankenweenie” for the Best Animated Feature Oscar? Who cares about Anne Hathaway’s coiffure? And who the devil is Seth MacFarlane (alright, alright…even I know who he is)? The Oscars is just about one of a score of lesser awards presentations – the Emmys, the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the Obies, the Tonys and on and on that have swept through the past 30 days or so. They pale in comparison to the one awards presentation that has any worth or meaning or gravitas. It’s 2013 Hersky Awards. For the uninitiated the Herskys honor outstanding achievement in the field of talk radio advertising and sales.
First, the rules…
Now to restate the rules for this sixth year for those who don’t remember. There is no golden statuette of a naked, bald man protecting his vitals with a sword or naked woman leaping after a sphere . The criteria vary from year to year at the whim of the awards committee. The committee consists of just one person. (See byline above.) Since it is impossible for the committee to hear every talk program or station in the country, the awards are pretty much confined to national entities or concepts national in scope.
So, now the envelope please!
BEST LIVE READ. The first accolade goes to the national host who does the best job doing “live read” commercials. This was a tough decision because most top talk show hosts do pretty well at this. However, the prize for 2013 goes to a sports/talk host – J.T. the Brick. J.T. (if I may call him by his first name) does commercials with the same enthusiasm and passion as he does his sports commentary. An excellent recent example is the way he presented the message for Allegra, the over-the-counter allergy product.
BEST HUMOR. Many spots make attempts at humor, but most fall flat especially when they are repeated over and over again. The joke wears thin. But a current one turned out to be recognizable, timely and funny. The advertiser – Motel 6 who for years has used the tag line “and we’ll leave the light on for you.” Motel 6 followed this with the punch line “…..not like a certain stadium!” A real Hersky Award winner.
BEST PRODUCED. The very best produced commercial award goes to Life Lock, the identity protection system. The copy presented all the advantages of the product. The announcer’s deep, quiet voice contained the right amount menace and dread. And certain buzz words such as “theft” and “fraud” and “risk” jumped out. The presentation made the listener pay attention.
BEST WEBSITE PRESENTATION OF SALES BY A REP. The national syndication/network company Dial Global gets our nod for tops in presenting their ad sales offerings on their website. Advertising sales have equal top billing on their headline menu along with their other services. The section gives a full description of what they have to offer including specific sales plans that are broken down in detail. Outstanding!
BEST WEBSITE PRESENTATION OF SALES BY A STATION. Individual news/talk stations have still to get the message that ad sales are as important as any other element they have to offer on their websites. Running national news headlines is a waste of space, since they are available all over the web. Local headlines are a different matter. Photos of the studio and transmitter site mean nothing. Brief bios of station talk hosts are useful. Contest and promotion – also useful. But sales? Generally, almost invisible. However there are stations that do it right. This year’s Hersky goes to WOR, New York where their sales section shows the obvious of course, but much more such as audience statistics, market facts and something I found unique – a score of advertiser testimonials.
BEST JINGLE. Although you catch a few now and then, jingles or singing commercials have all but disappeared from the airwaves. However, music is still used to set a mood or to punctuate a message. Singing tag lines have emerged as a way to emphasize key sales points. A car glass repair/replacement chain, Safelite Auto Glass, ends its commercials with two short singing stabs that underscore the pitch. A 2013 Hersky Award to them.
NOSEY. This year’s ceremony could not end without at least one Nosey Award. Noseys go to commercials that have elements that make you want to hold your fingers to your nose. This Nosey goes to a category of commercials – prescription drugs. I know it’s a requirement, but listing all the side effects of the medicine is positively frightening and in some cases the list of dangerous side effects is longer than the benefits. The prescription may cure toe fungus, but your leg may fall off along with your elbow and ears! There has to be a better way.
Noseys aside, there was some strong competition for the 2013 Herskys this time around with solid writing and good presentations. Now let’s see what next year will bring.
Al Herskovitz is president of H&H Communications and a marketing specialist for TALKERS magazine. He can be phoned at 941-708-6522 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meet Al Herskovitz at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.