Bad Ads vs. Good Ads


Duane Alverson

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

What’s the most important ingredient to the success of your advertising recipe?

Is it the platform you choose (i.e., television, radio, newspaper, billboards, print media, direct mail, digital or social media)? Or is it the amount of money you invest?

A few years back, I might have sided with one (or even both) of these arguments, because both are important elements to advertising success.

However, the more time I spend with Roy H. Williams and Sensory Logic, the more I am convinced that there is an ingredient far more critical than either medium or budget.

Advertising’s Not-So-Secret Sauce

Study after study have returned a perhaps surprising revelation: that messaging is truly the most important factor determining the success or failure of a marketing/advertising campaign.

In other words, what you say — along with how you say it — is crucial to winning the ad wars, no matter whether you advertise on television, the Internet or via direct mail…and regardless of the size of budget on the line.

Whether you’re attacking the market with a long-term branding campaign or short-term sales event, messaging is going to play a key role in the effectiveness of either approach.

Fine. But How?

So, what are the keys to crafting effective advertising messaging?

We at MacDonald Broadcasting have been fortunate to work with a third-party company by the name of Sensory Logic in hopes of improving the advertising messages of our clients.

We truly believe we can generate even more success for our advertisers by learning how to craft more effective radio commercials. Sensory Logic studies what works and what doesn’t every day, and they have shared their discoveries with us.

First and foremost, they tell us, “When writing a radio spot, being on-emotion is even more important than being on-message.” In other words, if you’re more focused on selling your product than appealing to the emotions of the listener, you’ve likely lost them.

Here are some other key points to keep in mind:

  • Know who you’re talking to, and create a “sense of membership” for them.
  • Keep your message close to home by reflecting the audience’s values.
  • Build a distinct, memorable personality for your brand.
  • Tell a compelling story that paints a mental picture.
  • Never lead with price. Always establish value before mentioning price.
  • Vary the pace and tone of your story, and avoid “bald spots.”
  • Sell hope…and a “branded solution.”

And don’t forget these two cardinal rules:

  • Always hook your audience in the first three seconds.
  • Try to use more than one voice, as only a small portion of single-voice radio spots are engaging to the listener.
Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission. 

Quizbusters Finale Tapes This Friday

Photo credit: WKAR

WKAR Public Media has announced that the final series installment of the long-running “Quizbusters” game show will be recorded this Friday, December 8, before a live studio audience at WKAR Studio A in East Lansing.

This final edition of the show will feature QuizBusters division champions meeting up in the series finale Grand Championship game!

After the show, the station will host a series wrap party to celebrate the success of the show and its host, Matt Ottinger. Light refreshments will be served and there will be special guest tributes.

More than 60 teams from across the Michigan Capital Region are competing in this final season. Students on the top team in each division win $5,000 tuition scholarships to Michigan State University. The Grand Champion team receives five one-year textbook scholarships.

WKAR and Ottinger announced this past summer that this would be the final season for the show.

“I have been humbled by the outpouring of support and words of kindness from viewers and, especially, my former contestants,” said Ottinger, in a July statement. “While we have fun playing the game in the studio, we don’t always see the greater impact in the community and the memories we are creating for the students.”

The current season began October 7 and continues through the airing of this Grand Championship Series in Spring 2018.

WDVD Raises Over $95K in ‘Cares For Kids’ Radiothon

Cumulus Media’s WDVD-FM (Detroit) held its 11th annual ‘WDVD Cares for Kids’ Radiothon last Friday (12/1) at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak, raising more than $95,000 for sick and injured kids in Southeastern Michigan.

“It’s both an emotional and fulfilling day,” said WDVD morning host Blaine Fowler.  “We meet so many families throughout the day that have benefited from what this Radiothon does. Through unthinkable injury or disease, these people have shown the courage, dedication, and resilience to overcome just about anything. I’m a firm believer that tough times don’t last, and that tough people do. With the help of our listeners and the generosity of our community, we are pleased to empower these inspiring families to survive and succeed.”

Donation opportunities continue through this Friday, December 8. More information is on the station’s website here.

WCUP, WGLI, WLUC Team Up for Canathon

Photo credit: WLUC-TV

Eagle Radio’s WCUP-FM and WGLI-FM (L’Anse/Hancock) partnered with WLUC-TV (Marquette) in the Western UP for the station’s annual Canathon fundraiser.

“We have been doing this, it seems like forever, it is one of the great things we can partner up with our people up in Marquette. We couldn’t ask for a better promotion that actually reaches out and touches people,” said Ed Janisse, Eagle Radio general manager.

The Canathon is a community-wide effort.

“We’ve done a lot of promoting it. We want more people to bring cans in. The more the better. The more the merrier. I think they responded pretty positively. The more we promoted the more people brought in, so it shows that they are paying attention and that they are interested in helping out the community,” said Emilie Jacques. a Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw high school senior.

More than two tons of food were gathered from east Houghton and Keweenaw counties. It was delivered directly to CLK Council of Churches Food Pantry located at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Calumet.

“It is always great to give back to the community. The Campioni’s, every chance they get they are working towards giving back to the community,” said Chelly Bykkonen, assistant manager at Pat’s Foods Calumet.


WKHM raises over $10,000 for local Toys for Tots


Mallory Sullivan (L) and Scott Clow (R) of the K-105.3 Morning Show with Walmart staff.


Mark Libke (L) and Greg O’Connor (R) of WKHM Radio load up purchased toys.



Jackson Radio Work’s WKHM-FM (K-105.3) and WKHM-AM (NewsTalk 970AM/101.5FM) hosted their annual joint toy drive to benefit the local chapter of Toys for Tots from 6 – 10 a.m. on Friday, December 1.

Toys for Tots is an organization run by the U.S. Marine Corps which distributes toys to families who cannot afford them for the holiday season.

The Toy Drive took place at a local Jackson Walmart. Scott Clow & Mallory Sullivan broadcast the K-105.3 Morning Show live on location at Walmart, just outside the entrance, braving the cold to accept drive-up and walk-up donations from listeners.

Also broadcasting live was Greg O’Connor of NewsTalk 970AM/101.5FM hosting his daily local news show “AM Jackson” from inside Walmart.

Donors had the option to bring new toys, check/cash, or shop inside for toys to donate and receive 10 percent off their purchase. By 9:45 a.m., the station reached the goal of $10,000, surpassing last year’s amount of $8,000 raised.

Two Men and a Truck filled a moving truck with all the toys donated and purchased Friday morning and delivered them to Toys for Tots headquarters at the Salvation Army. All donations will be distributed to families in Jackson.