“It has got to stop or the medium will bleed”

That’s how Inside Radio reported the comments of ad buyer Natalie Swed Stone on the topic of long radio commercial pods.

She says they’re a turnoff to buyers and advertisers “Commercials are lost in a pod and probably no one is hearing the spot.”

MindShare senior partner David Marans says young listeners he’s seen in recent focus groups are “very hostile” to long spot sets.

They also criticized the dismal caliber of radio creative which, they say, has “chased national advertisers away” from Radio.

So how are we to read all this?

First, it hardly seems surprising that the advertising community is in a huff about any configuration of spots which clusters them in long sets. My research shows that listeners love this because they can skip the whole cluster if they want to. Advertisers hate it, of course, for the same reason.

But still, why does Natalie say “probably no one is hearing the spot.” Doesn’t she KNOW that a spot is or isn’t effective based on the RESULTS of the advertising campaign? And you don’t mean to suggest that buyers are spending advertiser money with no regard for the effectiveness of the campaign in driving sales, do you Natalie? Do you mean to suggest that agencies are more interested in the placement of their spot in a set than whether the advertising actually works??

If I were an advertiser you can place my spot anywhere you want, just as long as I get results for my money. Or doesn’t that matter, Natalie, in the grand “creative” scheme of things?

Second, the point about focus group respondents being “very hostile” to long spot sets. This is a conclusion that is heavily biased to favor the people doing the research who, themselves, are likely to be against such long spot-sets. My own research has completely contradicted this conclusion – when the opinions of the audience take precedence over those of the researchers.

There is a tradeoff, folks: Either fewer long stopsets or more shorter ones. My guess: Mindshare never presented that tradeoff. Instead, it was all about “longer or shorter: better or worse.” Lovely.

Third, I’m not surprised national advertisers would show disdain for the truly poor quality of most radio creative. But, wait…Isn’t it the job of agencies to make this creative high-quality enough to justify the spots in the first place? And aren’t the agencies retained by the advertisers themselves?

Isn’t this the equivalent of me calling my own baby “ugly”?

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