Strategy & Marketing

"Ad Speak"

Are your commercials working? If they’re not, it’s probably because your writing needs real work. Most commercial writers fall into repeating the same old repetitive phrases that always worked before, and the truth is, today, when it comes to commercials on religious television, it seems like they’re all written by the same guy. I’ve been writing spots for religious and non-profit television since the late 70’s, so I’ve seen a few, and I’m growing tired of the same old “Christian Lingo.” That’s why this advice from advertising teacher Roy Williams hit a chord:

Avoiding Ad-Speak
by Roy Williams

Contrary to popular belief, Americans don’t hate advertising.
We just hate ads that sound like ads.

Do your ads sound like ads? Are you guilty of Ad-speak?
Ad-speak is filled with polished words and filtered phrases that deliver no information and have no relevance. Ambiguous claims give Ad-speak a hollow sound.
Do your ads mention your superior service, your friendly staff, or name the number of years you’ve been in business?

Let me know how that works out for you.

A meaningless statement remains meaningless no matter how often it’s heard. Repetition has become a blunt instrument. Top of Mind Awareness isn’t enough anymore. Today’s customer expects meaningful information and lots of details.
Have you heard of this new thing called the internet? It’s giving people new expectations. It’s allowing them to become their own expert. Knowledge lies anxious at their fingertips. Gloss over the truth in your advertising and you’ll quickly be dismissed as a poser.

I apologize if that last paragraph seemed hateful or rude, but the truth is I’m exhausted, bone-weary from wrestling with advertisers who have no real message and want to compensate for it by “targeting the right customer.”

Writing good ads is easy when you have something to say. Do you have something to say? Something we don’t already know? Something that matters?
We’re only 8 months into it, but 2006 has already marked itself as a pivotal year, a year we’ll never forget. With ever-increasing frequency, we’re seeing ad campaigns stumble and fail because they carry no real news to the customer.

But advertisers whose ads brim with things that matter are enjoying record growth.
Time is currency. Information is power.
Don’t ask the public to give you their time and and then give them nothing in return. Pay them for their time by giving them relevant information in your ads.

The future of your business depends on it.
Roy H. Williams

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One Comment

  1. Good food for thought – I think this has always been true, it's just that these days our lives are so inundated with messages that we're becoming very skeptical and much more sensitive to glossy advertising (for the most part, at any rate… there are always exceptions). I also realize that much of Christian media is created by committee – by the time it goes from points A to Z, so much content can be objected to, suggested, rearranged, etc., that the clarity goes right out the window. What do we lowly production staffers do? It takes a village. And the village sometimes takes over.

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