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November 18, 2008

Only, First, Best? REALLY? Keep it to yourself!

I was recently looking at the corporate underwriting (advertising) opportunities on my local NPR station - WHYY in Philadelphia and was struck by their submission guidelines.

They permit your "spot" to include the following:
• Names of products or services
• Non-promotional, value-neutral description of products or services
• Company location and number of years in business
• Telephone number, e-mail address or Web site address

They DO NOT permit:
• Comparative or qualitative descriptions of products or services
• Superlatives (e.g. "best" or "biggest")
• Price references, even if the product or service is free
• Calls to action or inducements to buy
• Third party endorsements from newspapers, magazines, etc.


No wonder their advertisements aren't so annoying to hear!

No wonder I have such a positive image of many of their sponsors (even though I may have no direct experience as a consumer of many of these businesses and organizations).

What if all advertising had this much integrity?

Can people be just as effective without grandiose claims or negative digs?

(ps, both political campaigns could have received some good counsel from this policy.)

I have heard the conventional wisdom that supports the stating of numbers, the cattle call of achievements, heightened sense of urgency, and the slighting of others as effective advertising tools.

However, in most cases, I have to disagree.

I think the NPR kind of guidelines instead make you focus more closely on articulating your value proposition and underlying goal.

What your business does and why is then left to stand on its own, uncluttered by boisterous empty phrases.

Devoid of gimmicky language or sales-y speak, this kind of advertising forces a genuine and candid exchange between you and the consumer, mano a mano, as they say.

It makes you think....

* What would your NPR ad say?
* Would this position your company strongly?
* Would you be confident in your message?

posted by Adelaide

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