BRADENTON, Fla. — The selection of the top commercial of the past 12 months was a real strain for the Hersky Awards selection committee. They are reported to be all pooped out. But they did come up with a winner for the national commercial of the year. And the award goes to Squatty Potty! Yes, Squatty Potty! This is real! It’s a cleverly produced 60-second spot that is airing all over talk radio promoting a portable add-on seat for your toilet. It is done with a wild sense of humor using numerous voices that resemble those people currently running for president.
But there are other major winners, of course, chosen by the selection committee which, you recall, is made up of just one person. ( Note byline above.) Casting aside all those other minor, just-completed awards presentations, the Herskys, devoted to talk radio sales, have no elaborate ceremony. And no one sashays down any crimson carpet in fancy clothes, the designer of which gets a free plug during the TV interview and a photo on the fashion page of USA TODAY. Here, it’s all tee-shirts and flip-flops. And no one makes a speech thanking a distant cousin in Antarctica. And no one walks off a stage waving a tin faux-bejeweled statuette.
Nevertheless, we think you should know that there are numerous broadcasters in the ad sales arena out there doing really good work. For the ninth year they are to be acknowledged and honored here. Therefore, the Hersky award for the best ad campaign of the past year goes to Auto Glass America. This windshield repair company with outlets around the country has been running and rotating a number of commercials which include a jingle; a jingle with a voice insert; a recorded male voice; a recorded female voice; and live copy. And each spot makes the complete case for using its services.
Deciding who gets the award for the best live reading of a commercial by a nationally syndicated talk show host is a challenging one since most national hosts do a great job in presenting them. They handle live commercials the way they do their top-rated programs. Local hosts should get a message from this since many of the locals that I hear seem to think that their opinions and comments are so brilliant that live spots only get in the way and should be rushed through and gotten over with.
Surprise, surprise! This year’s top prize goes to Rush Limbaugh. A good example is the way Rush does the spots for LifeLock, the internet protection service. He delivers the message in an intimate personal manner which he weaves into the broader content of his show.
Another important category is that of national hosts delivering local commercials. This category is important in that it causes the listener to feel that the host is part of the home community. The award winner here is Michael Medved who does the pitch in my listening area for The Mattress Store, a local retailer. The spots are not only run in Medved’s show but elsewhere during the affiliate’s program schedule.
The Internet is now a vital part of our daily lives, and most talk shows and talk stations stream their content via their sites. Many of these sites relegate the sales aspects of their operations to minor locations and, in some cases, even totally ignore them. However, honors go to Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” site where under the “Bill Recommends” heading (which equals any other heading there) is a list of some 20-plus advertisers. And each one on the list links to its own web page fully describing the product or service.
No Hersky award presentation would leave out at least one Nosey, an honor (?) that causes one to pinch his or her nostrils. This Nosey goes to talk stations that have locked-into time slots for sponsored weather forecasts and traffic reports. All goes well if the weather is fine and no accidents have occurred. But should there be a single fender-bender or one storm cloud that requires description, then the race is on to squeeze in the sponsor’s thirty-second message into ten seconds. There are better ways.
Now we look forward to the coming year for the next set of Hersky Awards. All recommendations will be considered and reviewed for possible candidacy.
Al Herskovitz is president of H&H Communications and a TALKERS marketing consultant. He can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.