"Make my phone ring!"

Back in my radio days, one of the account execs for the station came in with a new contract. We'll call it, "Dave King Cadillac" because I can't remember the real name. As he handed the production order to me the sales guy said, "The client wants something really creative! He told me, 'Make my phone ring!'"

I thought about it a minute and said, "OK, here's the concept: Dave King will give a free Cadillac to the first four callers at... I guarantee his phone will ring." The AE seemed a little sheepish. "Well, obviously we can't do that."

Effective ads work because they have a great offer, not because of wily wordsmithing or production pyrotechnics. As a creative guy I have to acknowledge that my part of the process isn't the most important element. Clearly lay out a good solution to your listener's needs. Repeat. And stand away from the doors. There's your elusive Wow Factor. "Wow, that's just what I've been looking for" is the only Wow that really counts.

Alright, so you can't give out Cadillacs like Halloween candy. What's the closest you can get to that? How big can you make your offer?

If your lackluster offer doesn't set off a consumer tsunami, don't blame the creative. You know how to make the phone ring.


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