Thursday, August 10, 2006

Taking the easy way out

On the radio this morning, something caught my ear that just cannot go without comment...

There is a spot currently running on at least one, and likely more, of the Citadel stations in Boise for the Mountain Home Auto Ranch. That, in and of itself, is no big deal. The content of the spot itself is what left me scratching my head. The ad is for what they are calling Project 307 -- they "need" to sell 307 vehicles by July 5th.

July 5th.

Today's date? August 10th.

So, that begs the question -- why would an advertiser choose to run spots with a message that is outdated, and an offer that has long since expired? I'd be willing to guess that there was a conversation with the radio account exec. and the end result was something along the lines of the client saying "just use one of the spots that we've run recently." Okay, fine, but why would the account exec let a spot run with an outdated message? (Answer: he/she doesn't really care about the content of the ad -- as long as the air time has been paid for, he/she is getting their commission, so life is good in their eyes.)

By letting something like this happen, the account exec, and ultimately the radio station, is doing a huge disservice to their client. They are serving as nothing more than order takers (the client said run a recent spot -- here's the most recent spot we have), and are doing nothing to build/further the ongoing relationship between the station and the client.

While this may seem like an isolated incident, it really is symptomatic of a larger issue that pops up in advertising/marketing world: Taking the easy way out. It was easier just to grab the most recent spot for Mountain Home Auto Ranch and use it to fill the air slot. There was no actual effort involved, no service to the client. This is a service business, whether you'd like to admit it or not. Agencies are in existence to provide a service to their clients, not to simply take their orders and churn out a result. If that's all you want to do, go take orders at a restaurant. Even in that scenario, though, the better servers -- those that people come back and specifically request -- are those who go above and beyond the level of order taker.

Now the other side of the coin, of course, is the client. Is the client to blame for this situation? Of course they are. They allowed it to happen just as much as the radio station did. But at the end of the day, the client (in this case the car dealership) isn't in the business of buying advertising time. They're in the business of selling cars. Advertising is a piece of their business, yes, but not what they spend their whole day on. This again, is where its the responsibility of the agency (or account exec at the station) to act in the best interest of the client.

Did the radio station act in the best interest of their client in this case? No.
Is it going to happen again? Probably.

Are you, after reading this, going to keep the lesson in mind in the future?

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was probably just a trafficking mistake. Do you know much about advertising?

Brian said...

It very well could have been a trafficking mistake. If that's the case, though, its a mistake that has now run across multiple days.

The question remains -- who is going to take the time to correct it, and keep it from happening again?

daysgoneby said...

Anonymous said"Do you know much about advertising?" Anon, did you read the piece? Brian is dead on. A lazy ad exec was almost had to be at fault. If for no other reason than they don't listen to their own station-hear it and fix it!!!

Anonymous said...

Jeez, I remember during my morning drive guy days when I'd hear an out-of-date spot on my car's radio and I'd call the station and let the jock know so he could pull it. Of course, with voicetracking, often there's no one at the station these days to call. Yup, that "consolidation" is sure providing a service to the public, huh?

Anonymous said...

Daysgoneby: Uh...he heard it once. Maybe someone did hear it and fix it. Schedules are flighted, so it was not necessarily running for a month+. I'm just saying trying to pull some big insight from a goof is a little overkill. I appreciate the point, but sh*t happens. In this biz as in any other

Brian said...

Anonymous: It was only after hearing the spot for the third day in a row that I decided to comment.