The 6 Worst Radio Ad Practices You Should Avoid At All Costs

Worst Radio Ad PracticesThe thing that bothers me the most when it comes to radio commercial is that advertisers seem to want their listeners to know they are listening to a commercial. For some reason, advertisers seem to think that a commercial is only good if it sounds exactly like all the others.

We, as an audience, have learnt over the course of our life to block out advertisements. We tune out as soon as we hear something that remotely sounds like an advert.

The main problem is that most advertisers are afraid to do it wrong. Their adverts can’t be daring or different, so they just settle for invisible.

We have all heard thousands of radio ads. We all know what a typical radio ad sounds like. The key is to avoid sounding like a typical radio advert.

Below are a few (of many) cliches used in radio adverts that should be avoided at all costs.

1. Long addresses, websites or complex phone numbers

Your audience are often listening to the radio whilst doing something else; be it driving, working, cooking or cleaning. Throwing in your complex phone number or lengthy URL in a Call-To-Action will make your listener’s attention wander. Don’t waste any of the valuable time that your advert could use to actually connect with your listener.

If you do have a simple website URL (eg. then feel free to mention it. However, if your URL is mega complex and hard to remember ( then do not bother mentioning it.

We are in a digital age so all you have to do is tell your audience to Google you. From there, they can find everything they need to know about you; including your phone number and lengthy web address. Of course, that does mean you have to make sure your website is discoverable when people search for you, but that will be worth the effort.

If your advert entices and interests your audience enough they will find the small details on their own.


2. Too much dialogue

Cramming loads of words in a short amount of time will not work. The unnatural pace will distract and put the listener off. Plus, how are they going to remember all that information?

Find one selling point and stick to it. Take the most interesting point about your business and talk about that. If you interest your audience enough, they will then research you and find out everything else.

Repetition is important. It is said that an ad has to be heard seven times before it is acted upon. So, keeping that consistent message is key.


3. List of price point

Nothing screams ‘commercial’ more than an  advert that says “On sale for £25.99 for a limited time only”.

Hammering price points into your listener’s head will not make your campaign work, trust me on this one. One good price point is enough. The more price points you include, the less effective they become.

You want to make a personal connection with your listener so do not waste precious message time by including these. Instead, build a story or tell a joke around a single price point.


4. Any cheesy sound effectWorst Radio Ad Practices

They are annoying and cringey. It’s 2017, leave the whooshes, boings and laser sounds where they belong, in the 1980’s. Enough said.


5. Scripted product reviews

We have all heard cheesy adverts like these and we all know they are fake;

“Hey Joe, how are you doing?”

“Great! Thanks to Zap Detergent, my brand new dishwasher detergent, my dishes are cleaner than ever!”

“Are you talking about the revolutionary Zap Detergent that is powerful enough to remove coffee stains and prevents cloudy film for crystal clear dishes?”

Have you ever had a conversation with a friend that goes like that? I didn’t think so. And you never will. Adverts like these do not sound authentic and will instantly make your listener tune out.

If you do have a conversation in your ad, make sure it sounds like real people having a chat i.e. do not make them deliver information – people don’t do that.

6. Customer Service

No one is going to visit you solely based on the reason your customer service is up to scratch. Your customer service is what you prove when a customer visits your business, not on an advert. Talking about customer service has been done to death and becomes unbelievable and uninteresting.

Furthermore, everyone has “friendly and knowledgeable staff”. It is what employees are there for – it will not make you stand out from any competition. If your staff doesn’t treat your customers with “respect, friendliness and quick service” then you have bigger problems to think about before you start radio advertising.

Give your listeners a real reason to visit you. Be different, be exciting and don’t talk about how much people adore your business. Give your listeners a reason to want to try out your business for themselves so they can find out for themselves how great your service really is.


Your adverts need to be different and original and attention grabbing. Be daring, be bold and don’t be afraid to stand out. Remember, audio is an emotional medium – cater to the heart rather than the mind.

Are there any radio ad cliches that I’ve missed out? Leave a comment below.