Industry Views

Monday Memo: Improving Results from Endorsement Spots

By Holland Cooke

imThe stations I work with make big money with live endorsement spots delivered by familiar local on-air personalities. Remember them? With most AM/FM broadcast hours now robotic or non-local, your relationship with the listener is precious and can be leveraged… carefully.

Quality vs. Quantity

The more products or services you endorse, the less special each pitch will be. You’re asking the listener’s trust each time, so asking too often can sound insincere. So back-to-back “I’m [name] for [account]” is verboten, and that can happen when spots you voice air outside your show.

 “Tell me a story”

 When the late, great Don Hewitt – the father of “60 Minutes” – spoke at a NAB convention years ago, he told us that he was often asked, “Why is this the most successful TV news show of all time?” And he said, “I can tell you in four words: ‘Tell me a story,’” which every piece did.

Describe your personal experience with the advertiser’s product or service in before-and-after fashion – problem was, problem solved – in a relatable way.


 OOPS!  Do you say, “I haven’t sold you yet?”

Often, these are long-standing advertiser relationships.  Two cautions:

If you’ve been touting an advertiser for a while, DON’T say so. “For years, I’ve been telling you about [name of business]” = “…and I haven’t sold you yet, have I?” Instead, keep the pitch fresh.

And keep it customer-centric rather than talking about a store. In one spot I heard, for a sewing supply retailer, the well-intentioned host sounded awestruck as he recited the store’s inventory (“over fifteen hundred bolts of fabric!”). That’s the store’s problem. Instead, solve the listener’s problem: “Imagine the money you could save if you made all your kids’ back-to-school clothes this year?  [advertiser] will give you free lessons!”

Avoid saying…

 “MY GOOD FRIENDS AT [name of business],” which sounds phony.

“All-new:” Say “new,” if it IS new, AND if newness is a listener benefit (and say why).

“…AND MUCH MORE,” which means nothing. Weed-out stuff like this, and you’ll give copy more time to breathe.

“Needs,” as in: “FOR ALL YOUR [product category] NEEDS” (the ultimate “BLAH, BLAH, BLAH”).

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke