There's no denying we ALL love shortcuts. Whether it's finding a shorter route to / from work, or finding easier solutions for everyday tasks, everyone can appreciate a solution that's time-saving, and effective.
Not (so much) the case with radio advertising.
Just as major motion picture companies don't play movies one time only in the theatres (ok, well, maybe in rare exceptions), likewise, you wouldn't want to air your radio commercial once or twice only.
Achieving maximum exposure. You want to reach the maximum number of listeners as possible. (And no one listens 24/7. In fact, many radio audiences can turn over completely every 20 minutes.) The audience tomorrow could be (and most likely IS) a completely different audience than today (save for loyal listeners who may tune in to regular shows or stations regularly).
There's a reason they call it “exposure”. Much as we'd love to think that there's some magical keywords, clever script, or magical sound effects that bring people running, more often, it's the quantity of ads, and to a (slightly) lesser-degree, the quality (but I'll get to that in a second).
Our minds are like reservoirs, filling up with various things we see, hear, touch, etc., during any given day. At the end of the day, our brain chooses which of these items to hold on to (as valuable for committing to memory), or which things to dispose of.
Back to the reservoir-theory: When you hear an ad being played repeatedly on the radio, it starts to “stick”. Pretty soon all those instances where you were driving and hearing an ad play (seemingly during every break) are now replaying in your head. While it may be slightly irritating for some, there's no denying it made an impact! (Which is incredible news if you're the advertiser!) This is why smart advertisers buy in bulk, and place more of an emphasis on repetition.
Clever is good too, but while a clever ad sure seems amazing at the time you hear it, if you've only heard it once, unfortunately, chances are your brain (just like many experiences you have) may end up discarding it. And no matter how compelling the copy was for a certain product/service, the next time you find yourself wanting/needing that certain product, the product/service that comes to mind is the one that's been put there repeatedly, piling up in that reservoir of your mind. And now at the TOP of your mind! (That's why this phenomenon has been coined “top-of-mind” advertising.)
So when it comes to who wins the advertising competition, chances are, the award goes to frequency (not the razzle-dazzler you heard in September of '09).
But don't get us wrong, quality DOES count. Which brings me to the next section…
Air Ready and Quality Advertising
While frequency of air time is imperative to reach “top-of-mind” advertising, it's also important to have enough quality in your ad that it can be understood without the listener needing to struggle with understanding what's being said.
Common recording faux pas include poor pronunciation, poor enunciation, run-on (or nonsensical) sentences, irrelevant content, leaving out the main point of the ad, how to reach the advertiser, or worse… poor recording.