January 2012 Highlights

Feature: Mommy, What Is Branding?

by Blaine Parker

We have a core challenge here in American marketing. It's a systemic dysfunction that permeates all levels of business, from the biggest multinationals to the smallest mom & pop outfits. The challenge is simply this: almost nobody understands branding. It's as if a bunch of blind marketing guys were groping different parts of an elephant, and railing vehemently against it—despite their lack of clarity on the subject. It recently happened to a friend of mine. She brought up the subject of branding to a hugely successful marketing guru, who went off half-cocked. The irony? He created some excellent branding for his own marketing events and doesn't even realize that's what he's done.

Production 212: Magic Sparks

by Dave Foxx

9:35 Tuesday Morning – I'm feeling a bit weary today. Not because I was up late or didn't sleep well, but I've been making promo magic for Z100's Jingle Ball every week for the last seven weeks. I'm beginning to feel like I'm just tapped out. I've used artist drops, some specifically cut for ZJB, music montages, concert audio, winners screaming and every other idea I could come up with to make this show sound bigger and more impressive than any other concert ever put on, and yet... I still have two more weeks to get the job done.

Technology: Loudness Revisited

by Steve Cunningham

2011 has been an interesting year for radio production and voiceover, and I'm not just talking about the business. In one small corner of the world of radio production, changes have been afoot. Within the past few months, plug-ins that include metering functionality have new labels attached to them; new terms like "LUFS" and "CALM" have popped up in readings and conversations. Certainly in the area of sound for television, and to a lesser extent in radio, Mötorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister's dictum of "everything louder than everything else" appears headed for the ash heap. There is a new standard for audio monitoring of TV sound that is been mandated by the US government as well as within the European Union, and since many of the tools we use are also designed for TV and postproduction work, you may well need to know about it.

Feature: Stereotyping in Advertising The Good, The Bad and The Funny!

by Deborah Hopkins

The other day, those of us in the writing department were sitting around discussing some radio commercials that had been forwarded to us. It was a series of four spots that were presented as an example of the value of selling the benefit of the product, instead of the product itself. What I really loved about the commercials was the way they engaged the listener, as the clever copy required that you mentally connect a few dots to follow along. Also they made me laugh. I really love that. They also played off some male/female stereotyping that created quite a discussion.

Feature: An Anonymous Open Letter to Direct Advertisers Everywhere...

by Anonymous

Dear Business Owner: I am a consumer, your target, and the object of your commercial's intent. I am an expert because it is my buying habits that you study, my desires you are trying to peak, and I have the money you want. Frankly, and I'm going to be brutal here, you suck at advertising. There is no imagination, no risks, no moment of surprise anymore. All the commercials sound the same, repetitive and nonsensical, just a different voice from time to time. It is a constant rambling and jumbled mess of jargon that means absolutely nothing to me. Roy H. Williams said it best in his Monday Morning Memo released January 24, 2011, "In an over-communicated society, predictability is the enemy of effective writing." How true, how true. There is also another enemy, and that is needless information. We all know how the story goes. Business owner sits down with salesperson and says they want more customers. Salesperson takes copy points back to creative person and asks for commercial. Commercial is produced and client makes multiple changes. When the business owner finishes with the commercial, what you get is a predictable, boring, piece of nonsense. Let me ask two very important questions here...

Radio Hed: Commercial Status Seekers - Part 2

by Jeffrey Hedquist

As we covered in our last episode, status is based on real or perceived threat, but not just from people. Any one of us can experience low status in regard to an object, environment, emotion or situation. What could threaten members of the audience for your advertiser? Here are some examples: pain, hunger, poverty, peer pressure, dreaded phone call (from a creditor), blind date, job interview, homework, animals, choosing a college, public speaking, learning a new skill, medical procedure, technology, applying for a loan, large purchase (house, car, engagement ring), death, raising a child, lack of control in any situation.

Personal Computing: Protecting Yourself from Malware, for Free

by Reid Goldsborough

Anybody who has been around the block with personal computers, or even halfway around the block, knows about computer viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. This doesn't apply to everyone, perhaps a friend or family member. More and more Internet service providers (ISPs) offer subscribers good protection against malware as part of their subscriptions. But not all do. All of this was hammered home recently when an uncle of mine asked me for suggestions about anti-virus software. He's an older guy but not unsophisticated, an engineer. His request: He wanted protection for his Windows PC, but he didn't want to pay for it, if possible. Sounds like my uncle.

...And Make It Real Creative: The King of Geekdom

by Trent Rentsch

It was my dirty little secret for a number of years, and I went to great lengths to keep it that way. Keeping such sensitive information out of the public eye took a certain amount of work over the years... the bribes, the threats, and on some extreme occasions, even the burying of bodies of evidence, but through sheer force of will, or perhaps dumb luck, my shame remained a shadowy demon of my checkered past. At one point a year or so ago, I remember thinking that my reputation was finally safe, that the past was dead and buried. I should have known that some secrets are too stubborn and ugly to die.

The Monday Morning Memo: Answer 13 Again "Do It Backwards"

by Roy H. Williams

I was explaining to my apprentices the difference between cost-based accounting and customer-based accounting. "Cars in 1908 sold for about $2,500 apiece. Nearly 2,000 entrepreneurs became car builders between 1886 and 1908 and each of them began with the question, 'How can I build a stronger, faster, more desirable car?'" But none of them could build and sell a car for less than $2,500. Consequently, cars sold in small numbers and only to the very rich. But Henry Ford wasn't product-focused, he was customer-focused. Henry asked, "At what price could I sell a lot of cars... a whole lot of cars?" Henry decided upon the price of $849 and it became his non-negotiable, his North Star.

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