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Use Sensual Radio Advertising to Drive Sales

If you describe building it, they will come

credit: iStockphoto/Maartje van Caspel Every advertiser would love to reach out and magically give each of its prospects the experience of visiting, shopping, buying and enjoying the benefits of what they offer.

Of course this is impossible.

Or is it?

Give listeners an audio “test drive” of the product or service. Trigger their imaginations to place them sometime in the future, when they are using and benefiting from your client’s product or service.

Help listeners simulate the experience. The assumption is that the mind can’t tell the difference between a scenario that’s real and one that has been imagined in detail.

When your audience has rehearsed an experience in their mind, they’re that much closer to doing it in real life. But don’t ask your audience to “imagine” — they’ve heard that cliché too often to respond.

Show rather than tell.

Involve all their sensory perceptions (sound, sight, touch/feelings, taste and smell) to increase memory retention.

Give the audience credit for already knowing something, doing something, behaving in a certain way. Remind them that they know or are doing something in the present, when in fact, it will be something they do in the future to fulfill the experience that was depicted in the commercial. Reinforce the benefits to them.

At Hedquist Productions, we’ve used this technique to get results for ski resorts, retailers, educational institutions, direct response advertisers of all kinds and most recently for a blood service on the east coast, where we increased donations 21 percent at a time when they were traditionally down 4 percent.

Ask yourself: Who is the prospect? What senses would best convey the prospect’s problem, pain or aspiration? What senses would best convey the advertiser’s solution or benefit?

Some senses naturally compliment certain types of advertisements.

Here are a few suggestions:

Sound: Music, concerts, clubs, noise-canceling headphones, amusement parks, travel, hearing aids
Sight: Publications, beauty, vacations, amusement, media, home and garden, photography, art, fashion
Taste: Restaurants, bakeries, food, beverages
Touch: Bodywork, fitness, diets, tanning, hairstyles, yoga, dancing, athletics, clothing — anything involving touch or the body
Smell: Restaurants, food, beverages cleaning, resorts, fragrances

This list is only a starting point. There’s almost no limit to the types of advertisers you’ll find for each sense.

Depending on the product or service, activate your listener’s imagination with sense triggers about problems, then solutions.

For instance, touch-oriented advertisers may want a problem scenario with words and sound design about heat, cold, stinging sensations, muscle aches, bruises or itches. Then follow with a relief solution depicting temperature changing, soothing, releasing or healing,

• Use a search engine or thesaurus to find synonyms or qualities associated with each sense.
• Write a commercial that emphasizes only one sense. Then write one for another sense, then another. You’ll quickly find which one(s) works best for your product or service.
• Involve as many senses as possible in your copy. If you’re describing food, of course you’ll want to think about what you taste, but also what you smell, see, hear and touch. Additionally, evoke feelings of relaxation, enjoyment, excitement, etc.
• If you find that the advertiser’s story can be conveyed with many senses, create a campaign with one or more spots for each sense.

When you make radio a sensual experience for listeners, it can be financially rewarding for your client — and for you.

Jeffrey Hedquist is president and creative director of Hedquist Productions Inc. Contact him via email at[email protected].