Pardon me while I rant mildly about radio commercials

Minor things. Not really worth worrying about. And yet they vex me.

Couple of companies where I live have radio spots on that bug me. One irritant is part of the radio ad; the other is the actual ad itself.

First rant, directed at the Business Software Alliance: I’m sure software piracy is a serious problem, and I agree that businesses shouldn’t just make copies of a program willy-nilly. But please, please tell the impressive announcer-type who’s reading the copy for your ad that the word is pronounced “softWARE.” It is not “softWORE.” The first couple of times I heard this, I was sure it was just me, that surely the man was saying such a common word properly and I wasn’t hearing it correctly. But no. He says “softwore” (or maybe “softwar”). It’s irritating as all get-out.

Second rant, directed at AmSouth (or more specifically, the ad firm they used to concoct their radio spots): Please die. You have created possibly the most inane phrase I’ve ever heard on the radio. I understand that you want to emphasize the service you give to your patrons, but really now. Who signed off on the catchphrase “The equation is simple: You plus us equals we. That’s the power of AmSouth Bank.” You plus us equals we? Can you tell me why that’s supposed to make me want to do business with your bank?

Actually, I’m not so much angered by the phrase itself as I am by thinking that some creative-type got paid to dream up that drivel. I’m a creative type. Pay me half of what you paid that guy, and I’ll come up with something that doesn’t make people either laugh or jab the radio buttons furiously in an effort to prevent their IQ level dropping every time your ad is broadcast.

I understand that much of advertising is subjective, and what appeals to one person may not appeal to another. But I defy you, AmSouth Bank, or anyone else to explain to me why “You plus us equals we” would inspire confidence in your banking ability.

Oh, lordie, aren’t radio spots AWFUL? Invariably! They have terrible writers who have never actually heard people have conversations; they hire “actors” (and I use the word loosely) who make Cindy Crawford sound like Dame Judi Dench . . . I have NEVER heard a radio commercial that didn’t make me want to lunge at the radio and fling it out the window.

By the way, is Steve Martin doing financial-planning service ads now, or did they hire a very good sound-alike?

Some beer commercials on the radio have been very good. “We salute you Mr. Pickled Pigs Feet eater.”


what about the thinly veiled ads…

you know the ones:

the dj’s go on and on about Dr Boothe Eye Centers and Metabolife as if it’s a ‘regular’ conversation.

DJ Dumbass: oh, how was that party?
DJ Sidekick: it was SWELL! I fit in that dress! I lost 14lbs with Metabolife!
DJ Dumbass: really? wow. I need to try some!
DJ SIdekick: you should its amazing! the phone number is 734-487-4879-4782! tell them the dumbass sent you and you get 20% off!

I mean, please.
This pathetic shilling is bad. NO ONE is fooled. we know it’s an ad! We know you are raving about the lasik because you probably got a free operation in exchange for ads. We know its easy to talk about how much weight you’ve lost when know of us really knows what you look like!

I Produce those shitty radio commercials all day long, so lemmie help you guys out here:

  1. Most radio spots are locally produced at the station you heard them on.

  2. Those aren’t actors; they’re dj’s, salespeople, janitors, the fed-ex chick or anyone else unfortunate to be passing by when I need another voice for a spot.

  3. Hi Opal

  4. The commercial usually aren’t written by “creative types”. They’re written by radio salespeople (who usually have little or no training in any form of creative writing) and/or the client themselves.

  5. I the script, along with 10-30 others, sometime between 9am and 6pm, AND THEY ALL START TOMORROW.

  6. I think they suck as much as you do.

  7. They always have some stupid theme or lame concept that requires 8 voices, someone to impersonate two or three famous people, and absolutely MUST contain some background music that is only available on 8track in Eastern Europe.

  8. The DJ’s aren’t dunbasses (ok sometimes they are), they’re reading from a dumbass script provided by the Eye Doctor/Metabolife/whoever. They’re supposed to keep it very close to the script and just rephrase a little.

Just needed to vent… Please continue…

“I the script” - wow, that’s, like, deep

Ok here is my big complaint about radio commericals. PLEASE for the love of god do NOT put sounds like car horns, ambulance sirens, screeching tires, etc in your ads!!! I’d say at least half of the people listening are in their cars and it’s really hard to tell if that sound came from the radio or from outside.

OpalCat: Hear, hear! (pun intended). This happened to me.
I was merrily driving along minding my own business in busy traffic, when I heard what sounded like a car horn. (Today’s broadcast equipment is very high-tech).

So hell, like the 52 year old “geezer” that I am, I slammed on the brakes and whammo! got rear-ended by someone who wasn’t paying attention.

It’s very easy to lose one’s concentration while sitting in traffic, and this is one instance of a radio commercial car horn causing an accident. I bet there are many more. I of course, took my share of the blame as well and luckily the damage to both vehicles was minor, but it coulda been worse.


I can remember just having my license and going on an errand into a town I’m rarely ever in and just when I realized I was lost, a car commercial with a blaring horn came on, totally freaking me out. I had to pull over to the side of the road for like 5 minutes to regather my bearings after that. I forget what it was for (an ambulance chaser? insurance company?) but if I figure it out I’ll never use their product or service.

Now that’s an interesting turn of phrase!:wink:

Just kidding, Sarge. I used to work at a small market station myself, and I agree with you: We used everyone and everything to produce our “spots”. Sometimes it worked, most of the time it didn’t, but we did the best we could.

I’d be interested in your opinion of OpalCat’s and my comment about car noises in radio commercials. Care to opine?



I recall a time when you NEVER put a siren in a commercial.
At the time we were told it was against NAB standards.

Note that NAB standards are not the law. You were supposed to observe them so that some freshman congressman wouldn’t decide to MAKE them the law.

Sgt. J, for what it’s worth, I know that the AmSouth ad (actually, a series of ads) that irks me was written by an advertising agency here in Birmingham, not the radio sales force. They’re fairly high-quality ads, all things considered; it’s just that the concept is so completely wrong.

My “favorite” is the one with a guy who’s wanted a classic Corvette all his life. So one day he decides to take out a home-equity loan through AmSouth Bank and buy the car. And, of course, Mr. Friendly Banker is more than happy to help; after all, a relationship with AmSouth Bank is powerful: “You plus us equals we.” I would love to be a fly on the wall that night when Mr. Corvette goes home to tell his wife that his mid-life crisis could wind up costing them their house.

I used to write some radio copy for a small ad agency with small clients and…uh-hem…Hack-work! Hack work!..excuse me… And the damn clients would NEVER accept anything that was 1. Funny or 2. Creative in any way. Everything was “Now on sale at the …!” or something like that. A well written script would get you a pat on the back and then a total re-write to the standard. But, of course, this is small agency work with small companies, not the beer stuff by Mega-Ads Inc. that go nationwide.

P.S. In case anyone is thinking of the field -Advertising-Worst job ever!

As you may have guessed, I meant to say “I get the script.”

And to clarify: I think they suck as much as you think they suck (thank you Quasi)
I figured the AmSouth ads you were talking about were from an agency, but some of the posts that followed were about radio spots in general. About 80-85% of the commercials we run are produced in-house.

I’ve been doing this almost 15 years (mostly as a DJ, but the DJ’s are the ones who make most of the commercials anyway) and I don’t remember a time when we didn’t use car noises and sirens and things of that nature. As a matter of fact, the sound effects library I use has close to 400 cuts in the “automotive” category. It’s the largest section by far.

Opalcat, I completely get what you’re saying about the car noises, but clients are thick headed. I’ve tried to make that argument before, but it never sinks in. It was all I could do last month to convince a guy who owned a taco stand to remove the “Puke Joke” from his commercial. Part of his 'humorous concept" involved one of the characters in the spot throwing up, complete with sound effects.

Trust me on this one people, interjecting taste or logic into radio advertising is a lost cause.

[hijack] Opalcat, that whole “list thing” getting old yet?[/hijack]

Ahhhhhh…he’s been here one month, has thirty posts to his name, and ALREADY he’s sick of it!

Sarge, you’re definitely a man of taste and sophistication! The next round’s on me.

I like, “We salute you, Mr. Supermarket Free Sample Guy. For a guy wearing oven mitts and an apron, you’re all right.”

Actually I like all of those real men of genius ads.

Also, I have major issues with sirens and car horns in radio commercials too. They definitely shouldn’t do that.

Anyone listen to Howard Stern when he does commercials, I hate those too. I’d actually rather listen to the real crappy commercial then him saying “Yeah, <product> is the best, I use it all the time”.