HOW RADIO PROFESSIONALS CAN SAVE TIME AND LIVE LONGER
Recently I critiqued two radio commercials for a client.
The client is a direct marketer, so he takes this stuff seriously. (Direct marketers don’t distract themselves with ridiculous attempts at “branding.”)
I was typically meticulous in my critique. (You say “harsh,” I say “meticulous.”)
I’ve never told anyone this, but as soon as I’ve e-mailed an advertising critique to a client, I become a little nervous.
What if they’re offended? I don’t want to offend people. Especially clients.
What if they’re so offended they demand a refund? I really don’t want that. (I also don’t give refunds on critiques, and no one’s ever asked for one. Still, the concern does cross my mind.)
So when my e-mail inbox included two messages from him this morning, I took a deep breath before opening them.
The first was in response to my first critique:
“Awesome! Thanks for doing a killer job on this… This is VERY helpful. Once I’ve produced some new spots using your suggestions I’ll send you them to you to review.”
The second message, responding to the second critique, said:
“Thanks again Dan… great suggestions and points.”
It was a nice way to start the morning.
Usually I critique commercial copy before it’s produced. That makes sense to me, because that way the client has time to change the copy before going into production. But in this case, the spots had been written and recorded.
One hour and 16 minutes after I received the client’s second “wow, thanks!” response, I received a very long e-mail from someone I don’t know.
That someone appears to be the guy who wrote and produced the commercials I had critiqued. It was a cc of a message he had sent to the client.
It was not what one would call a rave review of my critiques.
Two elements of his rant leapt out at me:
1. He defended the use of the lame voice talent (whom I had pointed out sounded like a schlocky announcer who clearly was simply reading the copy he was being paid to read) by saying, “With our budget, that’s all we can afford.”
Those particular spots didn’t require a Harlan Hogan. I know plenty of guys (they used a male voice) who would’ve done a much better job for 0 or so.
I don’t know what they paid their voice over guy, but if they’re not willing to shell out 0 – 0 for a decent announcer read, they need to adjust their priorities.
(Come to think of it: The client paid ME more than that for the two critiques. And he got his money’s worth. Certainly they can afford a decent voice performer to deliver their sales message.)
2. The e-mail was very long. I mean, this guy was upset.
AND THEN I DID SOMETHING VERY, VERY SMART.
I closed the e-mail without reading it.
I got the gist of it: “This O’Day guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Why read further?
So I could become offended?
So I could catalog and rebut his evidence of my alleged incompetence?
A number of years ago I managed to learn not to waste my time responding to hate mail or nutty mail. (To be fair: This guy’s rant didn’t appear to be hateful or nutty. He just totally disagreed with me.)
Why argue with a nut or a jerk?
But do you know what would have happened if I had taken two minutes to read his entire attack (or, from his perspective, his defense of his work)?
I would have spent hours mentally refuting his every point. Completely involuntarily.
That’s how my brain works. If I think I’ve been unfairly attacked, my instinct is to defend myself — even if only within the privacy of my own mind.
But I had other stuff to do today. Why waste any of my sorely limited time (and even more severely limited brain power) marshalling an argument I never would deliver?
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOU?
Or maybe you’re a radio station producer and a thoughtless salesperson mentioned, while passing you in the hallway, “The client hates that spot you did for him.”
Oh? You mean that spot that was approved every step of the way and now is on the air?
Let it go. Getting upset won’t help.
Or you’re an account exec and the Traffic Director screams at you because you didn’t remind her that she had promised to change your client’s rotation, so she forgot to do it and it’s all your fault.
Let it go. Let her words float past you like a summer breeze. (You don’t bother to argue with the wind, do you?)
Or you’re a jock, and the station engineer(!) pointedly tells you the comedy bit you did on yesterday’s show “really wasn’t very funny.”
Should the radio station engineer be critiquing the radio air talent? No.
Should you care anything at all about whether the station engineer thinks you’re funny or your show is good? C’mon.
Let it go.
Use that time and energy for something constructive.
Why, look at me. The time I saved by not reading and then mentally constructing a devastating response to that e-mail?
I used it to write this article.
Dan O’Day (http://danoday.com) is internationally known as the “radio advertising guru,” having taught radio and advertising professionals in 36 different countries how to create radio advertising that works.
Free radio advertising newsletter: http://danoday.com/free
copyright 2010 by Dan O’Day
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