Radio copy wear-out

Concerns about radio ad copy wear-out are often raised, particularly by regular radio advertisers.

Unfortunately, there is no easy scientific way to address this topic, largely because there are so many variables, e.g.

  • How engaging/memorable is the ad?
  • What is the weight of campaign?
  • Length of the ad
  • Is it part of a wider long-running campaign?

As such, there is an element of subjective judgement which comes into play when determining whether an ad is wearing out or not.  The issues that advertisers should consider are:

  • Weight of campaign is an important consideration. For a medium weight 4 OTH campaign, heavy CR listeners may hear the same ad 6 or 7 times a week, maybe even more. How will the ad to make people feel once they’ve heard it several times?
  • Irritating ads will wear out much more quickly. Again assessing this is as much down to instinct as anything.
  • Longer time-lengths, whilst providing high impact, can wear out more quickly.  For example, some charity ads are highly impactful as they are designed to be heard only once or twice on limited budgets, NOT to be heard time and time again.
  • Humour can work really well in ads but if it relies on a punchline there may be a limit as to how often the ad can be heard before the joke feels old…. unless, of course, it is comedy gold (be realistic when assessing this).

Finally, it’s generally true that advertisers and their agencies can tire of an ad or campaign far more quickly than the listener, so be aware of this when judging your ads on the basis of the above.

It may also be worth considering whether the campaign would be more effective if it ran more than one execution. The approach taken for the radio campaigns measured in Radio: the Brand Multiplier demonstrates the benefits of using multiple executions to broaden a brand’s network of associations/increase brand salience. In addition to this benefit, a multi-execution strategy also naturally reduces the risk of copy wear-out.

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