Maraca Media-John O'Mara

Freelance copywriter and blogger, shakin' and rockin' it

Category: Blog (page 2 of 33)

Wasted words in a radio ad: “Mention this ad and save…”

 

In a 30-second radio commercial, you only have 75 to 85 words to persuade listeners that your store is worth visiting, or merely to plant an idea in their heads for future reference.

Never, ever include what Dan O’Day calls a radio coupon.

“Mention this ad and save 10% off your purchase,” or “Say you heard this message on (radio station) and receive a free gift.”

Ooh. A free gift! Cancel that appointment, you’ve got a store to check out!

During my nearly three decades as a copywriter, I’ve had this horrible script idea sent my way many, many times. I cringed, pleaded and fought against it! No, don’t make me include that line!

WHY NOT?

Experienced writers and sales reps know why clients do this.

It’s a test.

That car dealer, hardware store owner or salon manager isn’t convinced radio ads work and hey, here’s a great way to see if anyone actually hears mine!

Roy Williams, the Wizard of Ads, suggests using a loss leader approach and wrote, “Don’t confuse the loss-leader strategy with couponing. Generally, coupons appeal only to the lowest quality of customer. If you’re going to offer a bargain, do it openly. Your best customers–the relational ones–will be offended by the idea that some customers pay a higher price than others.”

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/159392

Randy “R.J.” Eldred is one of the top selling reps at Bayshore Broadcasting…has been for over 30 years…and R.J. has the ideal response to this all-too-frequent client request.

“Be one of the first 10 customers through the door and get $100 cash!”

The client is stunned. “I can’t do that!”

“Well,” R.J. says, “That’s the only way they’ll mention your ad.”

SO WHY DOES IT NOT WORK?

Customers are afraid they’ll encounter a teenager at the checkout who says, “What ad?”

It makes them feel cheap. It makes your business sound cheap, and desperate.

Consumers are bombarded with sales messages on radio, in print and online. Radio listeners don’t always tune in to the same station every day.

Your ad is an intrusion. They’re waiting for the weather, or the next song. Some fans are extremely loyal but many bounce along the dial from station to station (especially during those long commercial clusters).

Go back 30 years ago, just prior to my first radio job. I heard an ad that mentioned a tuneup special at the local Goodyear service centre.

I called them. Asked if their tuneup deal was still being offered. Sure, they said.

But…

I found out later that the radio commercial had been for the Firestone dealer.

It all worked out, and I ended up writing ads for both businesses.

WHAT MIGHT WORK INSTEAD?

Well, the $100 cash idea would be pretty much guaranteed to get the desired response but you’d go broke.

Does your dog or cat hang out at the store? “Say hi to Rex the bulldog!” If a new customer asks about Rex, bingo!

“Ask Bob about the salmon he caught.”

“Ask Dagny (just met a very charming Dagny so that unusual name is fresh in my head) about her trip to Mexico.”

At least you’ll be suggesting something they can relate to or feel good about, and being a well-liked business goes a long way in getting repeat visits and turning newbies into loyal customers.

THE BEST BET IS…

Forget any kind of “mention” or “ask” elements and focus on what does work. An opening line that intrigues the listener and addresses a problem or concern, followed by who you are, how you can solve their dilemma and why you’re their best option.

That takes repetition. Obviously I hadn’t heard the Firestone message often enough so all I remembered was the special.

Listeners recall bits and pieces and, according to the Wizard of Ads, need to hear a spot at least three times in a week for it to fully form in their minds.

Give your campaign time to do that!

Then, after a year, see if your sales figures went up compared to the previous year. Don’t put your writer or rep to a test that’s guaranteed to fail in the short term.

Be patient.

Mention this blog to a friend and you’ll receive…

my gratitude!!!!!!!!

 

 

Tay Tay and the the lost power of persuasion

I’m getting carpal tunnel from the frequent clicking of the “hide” button on Facebook posts and scrolling past offensive memes and links from questionable sources.

Yes, I’ve composed political posts to express my frustration that the other side doesn’t get it and holy hell, if they only read my linked article they’ll see the light!

No. They won’t.

And, on the flip side, no, I won’t click on such posts.

So, why stay connected with folks who cause me to hide their posts? Maybe I think they are well meaning or just basically decent people who don’t share my views.

You do not want to be persuaded. You are set in your ways and thanks to social media, all you see is content that supports your views and attacks the other side.

Trying to convert anyone is a waste of key strokes. At least in terms of politics. Post another cat video. Give me your review of Bohemian Rhapsody.

I thought it was entertaining as a tribute to the music of Queen but as a biography…um…not that great.

Then again, what seems to bring the greatest satisfaction to keyboard warriors is being about to gloat over the enemy’s bewilderment and failures. Your guy lost, you idiot! How does it feel being such a loser?

COMING CLEAN

Okay, the photos and links below are slanted liberal because I have always voted Liberal or NDP. I grew up in Toronto and my first MPP was Stephen Lewis in Scarborough West. He set the bar so high for what I felt an elected representative should be and when my Dad was unemployed, Lewis met with my Father to help him out.

Dad found another job and I don’t know if Lewis played any kind of role in that, other than supporting his constituent, but I do know Joseph O’Mara thought the world of Stephen Lewis.

So…

If you’re conservative you may have called them “libtards” or dismissed them as no-nothing Hollywood elites and clueless singers.

Fair enough.

I find it harder to enjoy Cat Scratch Fever because of Ted Nugent’s political views. Love his music, the man…well, let’s move on.

SHAKE IT OFF, TAY TAY

Taylor Swift endorsed the Democratic senate candidate in Tennessee.

He lost, leading Stephen Colbert to say that Tay Tay didn’t have much sway sway. Good on Taylor for speaking out and trying but even a pop superstar couldn’t change political stripes or convince fence sitters.

If you follow Rob Reiner on Twitter you’ll get tweets about his movies but, to paraphrase his character from This is Spinal Tap, you’ll get more, a lot more.

Mostly anti-Trump rants.

As a small L liberal and someone who still feels like Trump’s election was just a bad dream…a really awful nightmare worthy of Stephen King (more on him later)…I have cringed, nodded, cursed and gnashed my teeth along with Reiner.

But he’s preaching to the converted.

Somehow I don’t see Republican supporters in Tennessee saying, “Hey, the director of ‘When Harry Met Sally’ can’t stand Trump, maybe I should rethink this!”

Katie Herzog wrote this terrific piece for The Stranger.

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/11/08/35235992/why-do-white-women-support-republicans-because-they-are-republicans

The main point she makes is, Republicans will vote Republican based on their long-standing beliefs and the idea of women supporting each other based on gender alone is not realistic.

“White women are not a monolith. We don’t all know each other. We don’t all go to the same church or yoga class. Some of us, in fact, don’t go to church or yoga at all. 

And now, without further ado, not so constant reader, the master of horror fiction, Stephen King.

I’ve read almost every King novel and, as is the case with Rob Reiner’s tweets, I enjoy King’s constant ridiculing of his President. I mean, it’s Stephen Fucking King, why wouldn’t his tweets be awesome?

And again, preaching to the choir.

Whether it’s Tay Tay, Rob Reiner, George Clooney or Uncle Stevie (as King sometimes refers to himself) the reaction from the right is to be less of a fan or even boycott the artist.

“Clooney’s a dam libtard and he was a shitty Batman, too.”

George wasn’t well suited to be the Caped Crusader but even a super hero can’t change minds, especially closed ones.

TRU-DOPE

So, the next time you post a meme calling Justin Trudeau an idiot or think I should read a piece from an overly-conservative website or an out-and-out nutjob commentator or blogger, I’m hiding it.

If it is from a Facebook group that has “pride” at the end of its name, I’m hiding them as well. Stop pestering me with conspiracy theories and opinions masquerading as news.

I’m a journalism graduate. A big supporter of the media and that includes reputable conservative-leaning publications like The National Post and Macleans.

There’s a huge difference between a right wing paper or magazine that still employs dedicated, fact-checking journalists and educated pundits and the batshit crazy sycophants and propagandists at Fox News.

You aren’t going to change my opinion on politics. I won’t change yours, or even attempt to do so.

I’m not saying you should stop posting and ranting. It’s your right. You feel the need to vent and you’ll get plenty of support from like-minded individuals.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some animal rescue videos to watch.

A change has come!

My last name is O’Mara. It’s an Irish name and back in the ’70s my father, Joe, received something in the mail addressed to “Joseph Omar.”

A few days ago, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women to be elected to the United States Congress.

To paraphrase a song by the great Sam Cooke, a change HAS come.

Cooke’s civil rights anthem was more in line with Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games. A protest against treatment of American Americans at the hands of racist police departments.

I’m not sure if Cooke could have predicted that a refugee from Somalia would become the house representative from Minnesota.

But the face of North American politics is changing. Darker skinned. LGBT (Jared Polis is openly gay and was elected Governor of Colorado). Representing a diverse with a capital D constituency.

Canada’s Minister of National Defence is Harjit Sajjan. Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and decorated for his service in Afghanistan.

And born in India.

Our Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship is Ahmed Hussen, who fled Mogadishu after the civil war in his native Somalia.

As a Canadian, I take great pride in having those men guiding and protecting our wonderful nation. We are in great hands,

And, getting back to the women.

I’ve been a Macleans subscriber for many years and that magazine has been labelled as conservative…but they feature a column by one of my favourite writers, Tabatha Southey, who has attacked Trump with great wit and insightful commentary.

Anyhow….

They paid tribute to Canada’s Foreign Minister with this cover story…

Chrystia Freeland has been a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher. Love that show.

And back to Sam Cooke.

“There been times when I think I couldn’t last for long,

But now I think I’m able to carry on.

It’s been a long time coming. But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.”

Michael Moore said this last week on Late Night with Seth Myers:

“If I could just speak to my fellow angry white American guys who are semi-uneducated like me — ‘dudes, give it up.’ We’ve been running the show for 10,000 years. It’s like we’ve had a long run as men running everything. … Why don’t we just take a break? Let the majority gender run the show. What are you scared of?’”

And this son of “Omar” is going to follow my very distant relative (hey, we could be) Ilhan Omar on social media because I feel Ilhan, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Chrystia and Rashida are leading us to a more humane and peaceful coexistence on this planet.

It’s their time, and it’s about time.

Here’s Johnny with his Halloween radio Riot!

Vampires, werewolves, train rides to hell and…raving about wire coat hangers!!!!!!!

Johnny Maraca’s Rock & Roll Riot was cancelled in January of 2018 because 97.7 the Beach changed its playlist to 1970s and newer music, so my mostly ’50s and ’60s tunes were considered too old.

The one show I always looked forward to creating was my Halloween Riot. I mixed scary classics with obscure but spooky songs and, because it was Halloween, when you can stretch the boundaries a bit…some harder stuff!

And…some clips from The Haunting, Carrie, Count Floyd and The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

This ran on Halloween, 2014

Segment One

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins–I put a spell on you

Gene Vincent–Race with the devil

Imelda May–wild woman

Chuck Berry–downbound train

Brian Setzer Orchestra–ghost radio

The Clovers–love potion #9

Little Richard–heeby jeebies

Segment Two

Carlos Casal Jr.–don’t meet Mr. Frankenstein

Blue Oyster Cult–Joan Crawford

Johnny Cash–ghost riders in the sky

Billy Lee Riley–flying saucer rock and roll

Jace Everett–bad things (True Blood theme)

Kitty in a Casket–bride of the monster

Segment Three

Alice Cooper–cold Ethyl

Los Straitjackets–Munsters theme

Rob Zombie–Halloween (she’s so mean)

Johnny Fuller–haunted house

Smiley Smith–voodoo woman

Lee Aaron–lady of the darkest night

Vincent Price…saying goodnight as only he could!

 

Three cassettes from the Maraca Collection: yes, cassettes!

I was never a fan of music cassettes.

They often got tangled in the deck mechanism and even if you could rescue and rewind the tapes, they often stretched. Many times they broke.

Cassettes sucked ass.

Their only selling point was portability. You could insert them into Walkmans, boom boxes and, the main reason I started buying cassettes, car stereos.

I had an Alpine installed in my Pontiac Phoenix.

IT’S NOT DEAD!

And now, it seems, the much-maligned cassette is like Monty Python’s parrot. It’s not dead, they claim. It was resting. Cassette tapes are back and I still don’t understand why.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/retro-resurgence-the-unlikely-return-of-cassette-tapes-in-canadian-music-1.3290300

As mentioned in that link, the biggest challenge is finding a player. I haven’t had a working deck since the ’90s. But I do have a rack, hidden away in the guest bedroom closet. It contains nearly 100 tapes and here, chosen randomly with my eyes closed, are three from that dusty collection.

Elton John by Elton John (recorded 1970, cassette released 1985)

Sir Elton is on a lengthy farewell tour to cap off a fantastic career. His debut album had a track called 60 Years On and it’s hard to believe I’ve been listening to his tunes for over 40 years.

I was too young when this one was originally released, but in the mid-’70s you couldn’t escape the music of the former Reginald Dwight. He was all over the radio. Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin created hit after hit and were an incredibly prolific team.

So, after purchasing the vinyl versions of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Honky Chateau and Greatest Hits Volumes 1 and 2, I went back to the beginning.

Your Song, Take Me to the Pilot, Border Song, The King Must Die.

A strong debut that hinted at the greatness to come…in contrast with our next album…

Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf (recorded 1977, cassette released 1990)

Just in time for Halloween!

The debut album by the former Marvin Lee Aday went on to sell 14 million copies and test the vocal skills of many a karaoke couple on a hot summer night. Or any night when the drinks were flowing and the inhibitions were overcome.

Meatloaf’s soaring voice never sounded as good as it did on Bat Out of Hell. In later years it went from weird and nasally to just plain sad. Today, he tours and doesn’t sing a note!

https://www.theguardian.com/music/shortcuts/2018/jul/02/meat-loaf-wont-sing-new-tour-caleb-johnson

That says it all.

Nevertheless, Bat Out of Hell was a specular achievement, with Mr. Loaf at the height of his powers, providing the perfect vehicle for songwriter Jim Steinman’s mini rock operas.

Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth and, my favourite, the epic title track.

Greatest Hits by Toronto (released 1984)

I grew up in Toronto and back in the ’60s and ’70s groups often named themselves after cities, states and even continents. Boston, Chicago, Kansas, Chilliwack* and…cue the intro for that opus hated so many, Europe. It’s The Final Countdown!

That’s stuck in your head, isn’t it? Sorry.

Back to the band Toronto, formed in that city but with a lead vocalist who hailed from Durham, North Carolina. Annie Elizabeth “Holly” Woods.

I’ve always loved powerful female vocals. In 1980, when I heard Holly belting out Even the Score, I was hooked. That track is on the greatest hits album along with Your Daddy Don’t Know, Lookin’ For Trouble, Girls Night Out and Start Telling the Truth.

Toronto broke up in ’85 after their record label went bankrupt. Woods cut a solo album that wouldn’t get released until 2007.

CONNECTING DECADES LATER

I’m Facebook friends with Annie/Holly and drummer Barry Connors (who joined Toronto in ’81 and went on to play with Coney Hatch) and, thanks to their many posts, I can tell you the band still tours as Holly Woods & Toronto.

How about a Wasaga date next summer, Annie and Barry? RibFest or the motorcycle rally would fit the bill.

When cassettes became popular in the early ’80s, companies like Memorex and Maxell started selling blank tapes that you could record on. Or, if you were cheap…and I was a college student so, guilty as charged…you could break the write-protection tab and make a duplicate album or mixtape using that pre-recorded cassette.

Home taping! It was supposed to kill the music business.

Okay, time to put the cassettes back in the rack. I’ll be back with another trio soon. Maybe cassettes, back to the CDs or even vinyl. Thanks for reading.

*-Back in my college days, I saw a concert ad on one of the Buffalo TV stations. It was  Journey or maybe Foreigner, with opening act “Chilly-wack!” Oh well, the TV announcers from fire city (Buffalo news reports always seems to lead off with 4-alarm blazes in Batavia or Tonawanda) couldn’t be faulted for not knowing how to pronounce a name from B.C.

 

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