February 2007 - Radio Dial

Radio Personality Endorsement Lends Maximum Selling Strength

By Bill Sullivan

Radio is an advertising medium that works in varying degrees for many types of creative approaches. We use one approach that not only generates maximum listener response but actually builds product loyalty-the radio personality endorsement (RPE). Guided by a script with key selling points, the RPE is a live testimonial by a radio personality who actually has used the product and gives it a high endorsement based on his or her experience. Instead of sounding like a commercial or a sales pitch, it sounds like a recognizable, friendly voice recommending something worthwhile to neighbors, lending powerful credibility and maximum selling strength to any product.

Low rates help, of course. But the right creative use of the right personality can more than double listener response, which can cover much more than any extra time costs. Of course, RPE is not the answer for all advertisers. But for certain products, RPE cannot be beat. The bedding industry and a variety of other products we serve, such as weight loss, hair restoration and anti-wrinkle formulas, swear by RPE.

Good personalities are not easy to get, but they are available and on an exclusive basis, which can be a sure-fire product builder. For example, Joan Hamburg’s exclusive endorsements for one of our sponsors are blockbusters. Compared to standard pre-produced spots or scripted live announcements, her personal recommendations outsell the competition every time. Moreover, in addition to giving powerful testimonials on the radio, radio endorsements also can carry over to personal appearances, billboards, local print ads, direct mail and more.

Another key benefit: RPE also can help the sponsor get retail distribution. Retailers welcome the opportunity to get their name and location on radio/TV promotions. In today’s marketing world, retail distribution is an absolute must for many types of products. Some advertisers spend millions of dollars for retail distribution, whereas RPE can give it to them at far less cost.

Finally, unlike TV, which is mostly sold out, radio is virtually always available. And the best personalities welcome the opportunity to increase their fees with personal radio/TV endorsements and personal appearances.

Although RPE is known in the industry, one reason it is not more widely used is because it is not easy to produce, so advertisers prefer simpler approaches. But expert RPE guidance is available-from finding and signing the right personality to impact script outlines to cost-effective media buys, even to building effective e-commerce websites. As you might imagine, it takes years to develop RPE know-how. Experts can not only save you time and help you avoid costly mistakes, but also assure you of a successful RPE campaign.

Bill Sullivan is president of William Sullivan Advertising, a full service direct response agency based in Millburn, N.J. He can be reached at (973) 379-8555, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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