On the radio this morning, something caught my ear that just cannot go without comment…
There is a spot currently running on at least one, and likely more, of the Citadel stations in Boise for the Mountain Home Auto Ranch. That, in and of itself, is no big deal. The content of the spot itself is what left me scratching my head. The ad is for what they are calling Project 307 — they “need” to sell 307 vehicles by July 5th.
Today’s date? August 10th.
So, that begs the question — why would an advertiser choose to run spots with a message that is outdated, and an offer that has long since expired? I’d be willing to guess that there was a conversation with the radio account exec. and the end result was something along the lines of the client saying “just use one of the spots that we’ve run recently.” Okay, fine, but why would the account exec let a spot run with an outdated message? (Answer: he/she doesn’t really care about the content of the ad — as long as the air time has been paid for, he/she is getting their commission, so life is good in their eyes.)
By letting something like this happen, the account exec, and ultimately the radio station, is doing a huge disservice to their client. They are serving as nothing more than order takers (the client said run a recent spot — here’s the most recent spot we have), and are doing nothing to build/further the ongoing relationship between the station and the client.
While this may seem like an isolated incident, it really is symptomatic of a larger issue that pops up in advertising/marketing world: Taking the easy way out. It was easier just to grab the most recent spot for Mountain Home Auto Ranch and use it to fill the air slot. There was no actual effort involved, no service to the client. This is a service business, whether you’d like to admit it or not. Agencies are in existence to provide a service to their clients, not to simply take their orders and churn out a result. If that’s all you want to do, go take orders at a restaurant. Even in that scenario, though, the better servers — those that people come back and specifically request — are those who go above and beyond the level of order taker.
Now the other side of the coin, of course, is the client. Is the client to blame for this situation? Of course they are. They allowed it to happen just as much as the radio station did. But at the end of the day, the client (in this case the car dealership) isn’t in the business of buying advertising time. They’re in the business of selling cars. Advertising is a piece of their business, yes, but not what they spend their whole day on. This again, is where its the responsibility of the agency (or account exec at the station) to act in the best interest of the client.
Did the radio station act in the best interest of their client in this case? No.
Is it going to happen again? Probably.
Are you, after reading this, going to keep the lesson in mind in the future?