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The 22 Immutable Wrong Answers

Here’s a shockingly out of touch Ad Age column by Al Ries, one of the co-authors of the seminal classic Positioning.

Ries complains about advertising clutter in general, selecting radio as his anecdotal whipping boy. Radio has too many spots, says Ries. It’s “RadiADo,” not radio.

He goes on to argue that we should be more concerned about satellite radio than our terrestrial peers because, presumably, there are no spots on the music channels there.

This is, all in all, as tepid and simplistic and thoughtless an analysis about the problems of two industries – the advertising and radio ones – as one is ever likely to read.

Yes Al, clutter exists and distractions are proliferating. And yes, radio is cluttered. And so is TV, and so is cable, and so is the average commercial web page, and so is AOL, and so is Vogue, and so is the New York Times, and so is the landscape and so is the urinal in the local men’s room.

Radio is not alone in this, nor should it be singled out.

But ask the deeper question: If radio featured significantly less advertising, would that keep listeners away from their CD’s and iPods and satellite radios and TV’s and video games? Indeed, would that make the radio industry a healthier one?

Less is not more unless less is zero.

Then less is called “subscription.”

Just a curious postscript….If commercials are so annoying to Mr. Ries and satellite is so cheap, then why does he keep tuning radio in, hour after hour?

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