In Luke Sullivan’s book Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads he shares that Bill Bernbach founded the New York agency, Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) on the then-radical notion that customers aren’t nitwits who need to be fooled or lectured or hammered into listening to a client’s sales message. Here is Bernbach’s take on advertising:
The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.
In our hast to get copy on the air we often don’t take the time needed to really uncover the interesting truth about our clients. It’s not a lack of skill. Many salespeople “think” they are not good at copywriting. If you’ve ever told a friend or colleague about an experience you had buying something, or visiting a store, you can write commercials. They key is not to write copy. What? The key is to tell stories, tell the truth, but tell it in an interesting and emotionally engaging, memorable way.
In our Radio Sales Essentials course we share the rules of advertising. One of those rules is that people do not respond to ads, they respond to needs and the purpose of advertising is to help your clients become known before they are needed. This concept and many other advertising concepts are inspired by pioneers like Bill Bernbach.
Your client’s messages are not going to be memorable unless they are interesting, emotional, and imaginative. We try not to be directive, but rather, suggestive in these sales tips. In this case allow us this indulgence: Please stop writing copy. If you want your clients to get better results, the evidence is clear. Stories with emotion, imagination and truth will resonate with your audience and help your clients become known before they are needed.