5 Hilarious Radio Ads (and why they are effective) – Week 2

Everywhere you look and listen there’s bound to be an incoming ad on its way to convey a message to you. And although the ever present ad can sometimes be annoying (when it is intrusive, repeated too often, or just plain dumb), there are ads that strike the right chord with us. Call it marketing done right, perhaps, but these ads sometimes become something different: they become entertainment. And when an advertisement is entertaining and interesting, the product, service, or call to action will be remembered by its audience. So now without further ado, I will present five of my favorite radio ads along with some analysis of what makes each one effective.


1. I’m sorry, I Was Eating a Milky Way

ABOUT: This ad from the makers of the Milky Way candy bar puts a comedic twist on snacking. The ads chronicle confession letters of several people apologizing for outrageous situations – each of which is caused by a Milky Way candy bar becoming an irresistible distraction.

OBJECTIVE: Do candy bars make you feel so distracted from the outside world that you forget about all of your problems? If you’re like most people, probably not. But Milky Way wants you to reconsider. The objective of this ad campaign is to portray their candy bar as incredibly delicious by association with bliss.

TARGET MARKET: Judging by the voice actors used in this advertisement, the target market is probably both male and female under the age of 30 years old. The situations are also relatable to this age group, and it makes sense since the world of candy has lots of competition from the increasingly health-minded youth.

CALL TO ACTION: Although there isn’t a clear call to action, the message that is portrayed is crystal clear: Milky Way candy bars will give you a moment of bliss, so go buy one right now.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Who wouldn’t want to be distracted from the stress of life for a moment? Especially when it can be done inexpensively and easily? The value of a candy bar is easy to understand, and the added humor of this advertisement just might make someone pick one up at the store.


2. Tomato

ABOUT: Take a typical ad for a high priced cologne or luxury car – now replace cologne and luxury cars with grape tomatoes. Then brace yourself for a funny and effective advertisement. In this ad from Target grocery, the creators do just that. Although the ad only mentions the grape tomato, it is clearly a representation of the entire grocery department of fresh fruits and vegetables.

OBJECTIVE: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Target department stores? Probably a department store. But if you’re going to add fresh fruits and veggies to your product lineup, you’ll have to advertise that change in a unique and memorable way. By getting the attention of the listener and making them laugh, they are likely to remember that Target sells groceries the next time they go shopping.

TARGET MARKET: The typical grocery target market is 20 to 30 year old women, and the appeal of this ad falls right within that range. Since these people will most likely be familiar with the type of upscale-advertising that involve “signature collections”, this ad probably struck a positive note of laughter with its audience.

CALL TO ACTION: Once again, the words “come get your groceries at Target” aren’t expressely included in the ad, but it is nonetheless implied.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Since Target is such a huge business, many of the people listening to the ad probably already shop there on a regular basis. Yet maybe they have never thought about venturing over into the grocery section to purchase their foods. This reminder from Target might be just what is needed, and the convenience of getting two shopping trips completed in the same store is a value to the consumer.


3. FDIC Guy

ABOUT: You’ve heard his voice at the end of every ad on radio. But have you ever stopped to think that even the FDIC Guy might need a vacation from time to time? Well, probably not. But it’s true – and the comedy that is created by this ad is both entertaining and informative of the advertiser, Norwegian Cruise Line.

OBJECTIVE: In a world where travel offers are as easy to come by as bad news on telivision, people eventually tune out the endless perks and amenities offered by cruise lines, airlines, hotels, and everything in between. Yet by using a dash of wit, the creators of this ad were able to make their audience listen to the product offering made by the cruise liner.

TARGET MARKET: The target market for this advertisement was likely somewhat broad, but depends greatly on what kind of radio stations ended up broadcasting the spot. For instance, a talk radio channel would have a much different audience than a pop music station. Yet the ad itself could likely fit into either channel since everyone likes a good vacation.

CALL TO ACTION: The call to action is located at the end of the ad where the announcer says “call today!” after telling the listeners that trips to Hawaii start at only $699. Since this spot was aired in 2008, I’m sure that the price has risen since then, but if it hasn’t then I’m going to consider going on a cruise myself. So I suppose that the ad was pretty successful if it still makes me want to go on a cruise, 9 years after it was first aired!

VALUE PROPOSITION: Many people don’t think that they can afford an exotic cruise, let alone do they have the time for such a cruise. But how about if that cruise only took a week and started at just $699? Now that’s more like it. The value is clear, and it’s hard to resist.


4. Morse Code

ABOUT: It’s a harsh reality, but being turned down by someone is a fact of life. And because it’s so relatable, Juicy Fruit was able to make a short-lasting and sweet (just like the gum) ad spot about it that made people laugh, chew, and repeat. In this spot, a young man tries to ask a girl out on a date, but is rejected through a long message in morse code which ads to the comedic effect.

OBJECTIVE: In this ad spot, the girl never stopped chewing her gum to talk to the guy, which of course portrays the message that either he wasn’t worth it, or the gum was so delicious that she couldn’t stop chewing (let’s play nice and go with the latter message). Plus, adding in some humor always helps people feel good about your product, especially when they can relate to it. Combine all of this together, and some people are no doubt going to pick up a pack or two of Juicy Fruit very soon.

TARGET MARKET: The target market for this ad seems to range from teenagers to people in their early thirties. But let’s be honest, is Juicy Fruit bad at any age?

CALL TO ACTION: Yet another ad without an audible call to action, yet the message is still clear: Juicy Fruit is so delicious that you’ll never want to stop chewing it.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Chewing gum – it’s inexpensive, tasty, and it might even help you turn down a date with someone you don’t like. What could be more valuable than that?


5. 4G Roadtrip

ABOUT: We’ve all been on a road trip at one time or another. And along with any good family road trip come the typical hassles and annoyances that anyone would expect. But what if your vehicle provided a constant connection to the Internet? That might help. In this ad, Superior Chevrolet has a dad singing a song about his family road trip – and how much better the trip is since his new vehicle has 4G Internet access built in. His wife and kids are so focused that he isn’t disturbed at all, and it’s a relatable and funny testament to something that we’ve all experienced.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this ad is to help drive traffic to the Superior Chevrolet car dealership by communicating how their vehicles can help alleviate the pain of travel. And as we just considered, it’s easy to see how this ad accomplished its purpose by being a familiar reality to parents driving with their families.

TARGET MARKET: Since the main character in this ad is a dad singing about his road trip, it’s safe to assume that the target audience for this ad is adult parents with young children. Since this is also the typical consumer that buys SUV’s, it makes sense for Superior Chevrolet to brand themselves this way.

CALL TO ACTION: The announcer at the end of the ad tells the listener that their Chevy is waiting for them at Superior Chevrolet. Not only is this an invitation to come check out the vehicle, it portrays a confidence on Chevy’s part by already calling the vehicle “your Chevy.” In other words, we know that you will love the vehicle so much, so it’s already yours in a sense.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Peace an quite is a valuable thing for parents, and so having a 4G connected vehicle that is capable of providing silent activities for the whole family becomes a very desirable thing to parents in the market for a new car.




What did you think? Leave some feedback! :)

5 thoughts on “5 Hilarious Radio Ads (and why they are effective) – Week 2

  1. Entertaining radio advertisements that engage you and draw you in are indeed the thing that makes them memorable. Without the visuals of any other medium, radio has to be more compelling so that the consumer pays attention.

    I particularly like the FDIC commercial, as a I believe this does a great job of engaging the listener with the fast-talking FDIC guy who needs a vacation. I agree that it very effective. From the beginning, it contrasts the fast pace of the FDIC guy with the slower pace of the cruise guy in a way that does encourage us all to slow down. How fun that it is even encouraging your to consider a cruise!

  2. … Austin… “enter whispering voice from left field” – “… the grape tomato…” HAHAHA! That is perfect. This is such a different approach to advertising fruits or vegetables. I would love to hear others in a similar approach. Radio ads have a difficult context to overcome… you can only “speak” (literally) to the consumer, you cannot make visible except only through words, music, framing, etc.

    Thank you for sharing that particular analysis. I think there is a lot more to be done around fruits and vegetable marketing and what might happen if we started putting the same, creativity, innovation, love, and MONEY into advertisements associated with candy and treats? Could be interesting to see what the population’s response might be…

  3. Great post, Austin! You picked some of my favorites such as the 4G Roadtrip and the Morse Code! I loved listening to both of these commercials again. I felt bad for the FDIC guy! He really does need a vacation. I haven’t been on a cruise, but would love to go on one soon. You are right about the price. For a week, at or around $699, everything included, why not is the question you should be asking yourself. They make a great selling point.

  4. Hello Austin I think we are both on the same page with our views on the 4G ad. I have definitely have been in that same scenario, however I did not have the 4G to help me out. The ad gives a great picture of whats going on in spite of only being a radio ad.

    Great Post!

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