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The Power of “Free”

Author: Tony Brueski   |   August 12th, 2011

I want to talk about a word that is extremely powerful in radio advertising.

It’s just one word, one syllable, one thought…

but it can actually be defined and a complete sentence.

Free. That’s the word, free. Why is the word “Free” so powerful  in radio advertising?  Because it makes people take action.  Of course, there are rules connected to that word.  Whatever is being offered for free needs to have a perceived value by the listeners to the radio advertising message.

If there is no perceived value attached to the claim of “free”, the entire message could very quickly be discounted as not genuine or a scam.

Let me give you an example: Recently my agency, helped spread the word (or the taste if you will) of an all-natural dog food.  My client creates an amazing all natural dog food product that has had limited distribution in his general vicinity.  He wanted to branch out and get other people trying his product.

My client told me that “Once people try this, they never go back to anything else”. I asked him how confident he wisely in the statement.  His reply was, “very!” ??My client wanted to tell the story of how the product was developed in the confines of a 60 second radio advertising message.

Telling a story is never a bad idea, telling a story effectively with limited time to do so though, can be a bit tricky. After hours of work, my script writing team came back with a condensed version of his story along with a very strong call to action. This story, combined with a strong call to action which can be summed up in two words “free sample” was a huge hit.

In our radio advertising message we painted a picture of an all-natural specially formulated dog food originally designed for Iditarod dog sledding, now formulated for anyone who has a dog. This true story combined with the offer of a free sample bag practically overwhelmed my client with calls.

The commercial did so well that we actually had to stop running it because the demand became so great.  Shortly after the sample users had a chance to try the product calls began coming in for more dog food and more distribution points were set up because of demand.

That is the power of “free” my friends. Using it effectively in radio advertising to drive interest in a product and create demand isn’t rocket science. It just takes a vision and knowledge of the right outlets to deliver such a message through.

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