Radio and television advertisements are a crucial element of any marketing campaign. A simple, creat

Both television and radio are two extremely powerful media that have the ability to reach millions of people worldwide. This can give large dealers national exposure and smaller dealers a means to spark the interest of local prospects with a simple, yet well-produced commercial.

As the winner of the 1996 SAMMY Award for Best Television and Best Radio Advertisement, Guardian Protection Services in Pittsburgh knows that no single television or radio ad will reach all of its customers. That’s why Guardian creates a series of radio and television commercials directed at various target markets.

“We attempt to talk to our market in different ways,” says Mary Lynn Moriarity, marketing director for Guardian. For example, a senior citizen might relate to one advertisement better than someone who lives in an unsafe neighborhood.

Soft Selling Brings In Hard Cash, Name Recognition

Some security companies sell their customers on a mood in their advertising, while others focus on the nuts and bolts of what they have to offer.

“We try to soft-sell; tug at the heartstrings,” says Thomas E. Doyle, president of FBN Systems in Medina, Ohio. FBN was a finalist for Best Television Advertisement for its commercial, which aired during the Christmas holiday.

FBN’s ads possess a common theme: hearth and home, safety and security. Doyle does not believe in negative advertising, adding that the home security business is serious enough as it is. With a target audience of upper-middle class to upper class, Doyle prefers to simply say that his company is there to take care of people.

Finalist, Custom Alarm, uses a soft touch in its radio ad to explain what the company has to offer. One commercial talks about an award the company has won, while two others focus on what services the company provides. The president of Custom Alarm, Leigh J. Johnson, is in every advertisement.

“It is more of an interview-style ad where the announcer talks to Leigh, asks some questions and Leigh responds. It’s laid back-two people sitting down and talking. There are no scare tactics about crime. It’s just informational,” says Chris Hauschild, marketing representative at Custom Alarm.

The fact that Johnson is a veteran in the business and well known in the community enhances the credibility of the commercials, and people take notice. “It has gotten a lot of response, especially with Leigh,” says Hauschild. “People would say, ‘Oh, I heard you [Leigh] on the radio the other day.’”

Simplicity and Value Make Effective Combination

“An effective commercial is one that isn’t overproduced, where the customer perceives your offer as an excellent value,” says Marc Fantich, general manager of Superior Alarms in McAllen, Texas. The company was a finalist in the radio and television categories. Fantich contends that he’s seen too many companies use clever ideas that distract from the main message.

Although Citadel Security in Louisville, Ky., takes a more non-traditional approach to the advertisement that made it a finalist in the radio category, basic marketing principles still apply. “However you do it, whether you use a sense of urgency or premium, there’s got to be a hook that causes people to pick up that phone,” says Deborah Lanore, vice president of marketing for Citadel.

In Citadel’s case, curiosity is the hook. The company installed an FM-radio transmitter inside one of its trucks and placed graphics on the side compelling motorists to tune their radios to a specific frequency. When they did, motorists then would hear a two-minute loop talking about the company and offering a promotional item for customers who mention the radio commercial. “Ideally, we are hoping to pick up people sitting at the light who have just bought a house, recently have been burglarized or have begun thinking about security,” says Lanore.

Creative Approach Keeps Commercials Within Budget Of course, simplicity is not enough to keep the advertising budget down. Sometimes it takes some wheeling-anddealing. The price that people ask for advertising is not necessarily the price you have to pay, says Fantich. Superior Alarms uses everything from bartering with stations to offering free pizzas to potential customers. “When you’re a small company, you’ve got to come up with creative ways to stretch your dollars,” says Lanore.

TV, Radio Are Only Part of a Well-Rounded Strategy Guardian avoids leaning too heavily on radio and television advertising. “You have to use it judiciously,” says Moriarity. “You can’t expect it to generate cost-effective sales for a long time.” Guardian’s well-rounded approach to advertising also has earned the company a SAMMY for Best Overall Marketing, and was a finalist in the Best Promotional Items category. “That’s why I can’t stress enough that radio and TV advertising are only one element of a marketing picture,” says Moriarity. “You can never rely on it solely, but it is an extremely important element if you want exposure and credi-bility.”

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