Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

Your radio commercial, as much as it needs to capture the audience’s attention by being entertaining, interesting, informative and relevant, is a sales presentation. Instead of being made in person, it’s made to lots of individual psyches simultaneously, with the hope that each is participating while listening.

The sales result has been achieved when the listener responds by calling, visiting, going to a web site, mailing, faxing, asking for more information, voting, donating or going to a free lecture. The rest of the process, all the way through collecting the money, is usually up to the advertiser.

How do we make our part of the sales process work? It’s my experience that “The fear of loss is a greater motivator than the prospect of gain.”

Each listener has some pain in his or her life. Each advertiser has designed their business to reduce that pain and be paid for it. The first step in the process is to remind the listener what that pain is.

Describe it, amplify it, and show how it impedes the listener’s pursuit of happiness. Then get the listener to imagine how the advertiser’s product or service will alleviate the pain.

Your listeners, like all of us, have evolved to react when we feel threatened. Finding their pain will motivate them to action. Robert F. Potter of Indiana University and Paul Bolls of the University of Missouri showed this in a study they did on radio commercial effectiveness. Negative emotions portrayed in radio commercials have the power to enhance message memorability and listener response. Perhaps it’s our modified fight or flight reaction.

Interestingly, positive emotions did not have the same power to move people to action.

So, the classic problem/solution commercial is a potent selling tool. Just make sure you delve into the pain sufficiently before you offer a solution.

Limited time offers of price or opportunity, loss of health, money, happiness or penalties for not acting by a deadline are all powerful calls to action.

Find the pain, demonstrate the loss for not acting and offer a solution to the listener, which is the best thing you can do for the advertiser.

© 2005 Hedquist Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

InterServer Web Hosting and VPS


  • The R.A.P. Cassette - July 1997

    Production demo from interview subject, Renaud Timson @ CHEZ-FM, Ottawa, ON; plus more imaging, promos and commercials from Grant Buckerfield @...