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The Midweek Motivator – Failed Messages, Failed Outcomes

In the Broadcast business where in some corners surface has passed for substance, some people continue to believe in the over-credited but under-performed. From group leaders to industry analysts some would have us believe radio messaging is failing; that “visual” is the golden ticket; that Digital pyrotechnics eclipse radio commercials. If you buy that, where do you stand on Space Aliens? 

Radio commercials and promos fail because they’re poorly created. As a manager or program director when was the last time you spent some time auditing a few of your stations’ local creative? Take an hour, escape to the production room and listener to five or six locally created promos and commercials. Grade them on a one-to-five scale. Members of your audience make their choice quickly, subliminally. After five seconds listeners are either in or out. The same applies to programming promos. 

First order of success: the Headline is 80% of a commercial or promo’s value. Are your creative people aware of the concept of “The Curve of Forgetting?” And, the following percentages apply only to meaningful information…frightening: 

  • After one day, 72% of a message is remembered
  • After four days, 46% percent is lost
  • After ten days, 63% is forgotten

 At the Ivy League’s Columbia University cognitive researchers found: after one day,72% of a verbal message is remembered. Following seven days, only half of that message is recalled. 

Add one more set of findings from Cambridge University’s experiment measuring presentation-remembrance from a meeting held only 14 days prior: fewer than ten percent of specific points covered were correctly recalled by attendees. 

42% of what was recalled was substantially misremembered. 

The only thing that matters: what we think we cover in a promo, commercial or even in a staff meeting, is headed for top-of-mind shortfall. Remedy: breakthrough “headlines” for spots and promos, followed by a call-to-action close can offer new hope for under-performing creative directors and sellers. Too few are aware of these realities, fewer yet practice them.

In any field “champions” don’t become champions when they succeed; instead in the hours, days, months and years preparing for it. The performance itself; on-the-air, sales presentations, or in your production room is where the medals are won; a demonstration of a “championship culture.” Lombardi’s echo never fades: “Winning is an attitude-unfortunately, so is losing.”