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Radio Advertising: Banned Phrases

Banned Phrases

It’s not hard to make your radio advertising better than your competition.  Because 99% of all radio commercials you hear are bad.

Most radio ads will have several of the following phrases.  One thing should be glaringly obvious:

If all the radio commercials have these phrases in them, and the phrases are so effective, how come every business on the radio isn’t raking in money hand over fist?

If you want me to write your radio commercial, I will not put these cliches in your ad, nor will I let you put these cliches in your ad.  I promise.

A great start to any radio commercial, is simply to avoid the following phrases.  (Check back often, I will be adding to this list – possibly daily.)

Banned Phrases in Radio Commercials

“For all your _______ needs.”

Let’s just start with the most banned phrase of all banned phrases.  People don’t “need” what you’re selling, they might want it, but they don’t need it.


“Conveniently located at…”  

One of the top banned phrases.  The radio station’s broadcast radius is 25 to 60 miles.  The vast majority of the listening audience is no where near you.


“Friendly, knowledgeable staff”

The staff better be friendly and know what they’re selling!  This is bragging about the bare minimum.


“…and more!”

So…what is it?


“Family owned and operated for over _____ years…”

Either you’re telling me: the world has advanced and you’re still stuck in the past, or


“…with combined ‘X’ years experience…”

How many employees does Home Depot have?  Do you hear an ad that says “with over 2.6 million years combined experience.”  No.  It’s irrelevant.  Think of it from your customer’s perspective.  You’re trying to instill confidence.  But the flip side of that is more accurate:  you know this stuff better than the average consumer.  Of course you do…you live it every day, right?!  So, that means, I can be taken advantage of.  You’re scaring away your customers…not drawing them in.


“It’s that time (of year) again!”

This can apply to anything today or coming up:  fall, back to school, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s, Mother’s Day…etc. etc.  If it’s that vague, and can apply to everything and not mean anything, you don’t need it.


“…where we treat you like family!”

You’re going to ask to borrow $100 dollars and never pay me back and avoid me all day on Thanksgiving?


“Prices too low to mention on the radio!”

Know this right now:  there is no law banning prices on the radio.  Period.  And if you think I’m that stupid, I really don’t want to deal with a business that thinks I’m stupid.


“…but wait!”

No.  I’m not going to wait.  If I’ve wasted my time this far, I’m not sticking around.


“That’s right!”  or “You heard right!”

This is just filler and fluff.  Your business, your manager, your customers are too important to waste precious real estate on empty phrases like that.


“Mention (radio station) and take 25% off!”

This is not only on the banned phrases list, it is a complete misuse of radio.  You can’t “click” a magazine ad.  You can’t “play” a newspaper ad.  And you can’t print a radio ad.  “…take 25% off…” is a coupon.  Coupons are for print, not radio.

1 Comment

  1. […] not about your store, your “friendly, knowledgeable sales people” or your “convenient […]

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