Monday Memo: Do You Copy? | TALKERS magazine : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Monday Memo: Do You Copy?

| November 4, 2019

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you were the advertiser, how would you feel about being #5 in a 6-spot stopset?  It’s a problem that now seems baked-into radio’s business model.  And “commercial-free” imaging which offers temporary relief from those dreaded spots only makes it worse.  Even saying it glass-half-full (“30 Minute Non-Stop Rock Block”) still implies that a pile of pitches yonder will make-up for lost time.

Good commercials get results.  REAL good ones are actually welcome.

  • What radio does real well – when done well – are endorsement spots. On YouTube search “Holland Cooke Make Money with Endorsement Spots.”
  • What we know sure DOESN’T work: 65 seconds of copy rushed in :60, caricature DJ delivery, over music. As the late, great Nick Michaels preached, oh-so-slowly: “Loud and fast is a thing of the past.  Low and slow is the way to go.”

 Magic words: “YOU” and “YOUR.”

  • Car dealers are notorious for inside-out commercial copy: “Our bankers have given us until Sunday to move forty cars off the lot!”
  • Voice in the listener’s head: Why is that MY problem? Instead, invite listeners to “Drive in today, and we’ll hand you the keys.”

Note how effective these two words are in national spots we see and hear:

  • “You can sleep heartburn-free with Pepcid AC.”
  • “Only pay for what you need” (Liberty Insurance, home of LiMu the Emu and Zoltar).
  • “Why not get paid for the things you buy anyway?” (Discover Card)
  • “Banks compete, you win, at Lending Tree dot com.”

GREAT local example: “Everything we sell here you can buy somewhere else. The difference is us,” says Jim Weller, of Weller’s Utility Trailer Sales, a 52-week advertiser at client Delaware105.9.

Forgive me, but “less IS more.”

Attention is currency.  So short sentences rock.  And sentence fragments.  See?Every time I am in Las Vegas – already a wall of enticements — I am struck by how messages compete:

  • “100X odds craps!”
  • “Celine!”
  • A rib joint touts “The Best Rack on The Strip!”
  • “Fire a Machine Gun!”
  • “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

Each year as I navigate the massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show, I am struck by how well exhibitors distill their messages, something radio should strive to do.

  • BACtrack is “The World’s First Wearable Alcohol Monitor.”
  • Rem-Fit’s Zeeq Smart Pillow “Streams Music, Stops Snoring, Analyzes Sleep.”
  • Tablo is “The DVR for Cord Cutters.”
  • Assure Lock by Yale lets you “Lose your keys for good;” and “Answer your door.   Anytime.”
  • MightyPURSE “charges your phone.”

 According to the experts…

Jerry Lee has shared research that indicates 2-voice spots perform better.

  • But puh-LEEZ avoid the “Hey Tom…” cliché (two station voices pretending to chat over lunch v/o restaurant SFX, or some other fake-sounding conversation). Listeners know that “Tom” is really “Jay” from the other station in your cluster.
  • This concept usually squanders time better-spent talking TO the listener.

Todd Brown ( suggests: “Instead of going bigger, go more specific.”

  • “Specifics can increase the credibility and believability of your message. And allow prospects to conjure a more vivid image in their mind’s eye of the picture you’re painting.”
  • “Vague, general statements and promises in your marketing roll off your prospects back like water off a duck. And are viewed as typical ‘salesman’s hype.’”

Evoke emotion by appealing to the two most prevalent drivers of behavior: achieving pleasure and avoiding pain. (

Hearing is believing.

Whenever I visit a station, I meet with sales, we listen to (and I leave-behind a thumb drive of) spots-that-got-results that I’ve gathered in my travels.  And I encourage reps to play them on sales calls, because retailers are wary of experiments.  But say “Here’s a commercial that worked for a business just like yours in Texas,” and you’ve got their attention.

See my video “Writing Results-Producing Radio Commercials.”  No charge, no login.  Click on “We tried radio.  It didn’t work” in the right-hand column on any page at

Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  He is the author of the e-book “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” an instant download available exclusively from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner on this page.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America.  Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice