About the beginnings of advertising: Radio Advertising

Radio Advertising
Photo by:Tekniska museet

When I look at advertising today, I see a very complex and well-thought communication process, in which commercials try to influence us customers through many communication channels in order to buy their products.

But the more we customers get bombarded by massive information the more we are confused in order to figure out the suitable solution for our needs.

For this reason, I think that it might also be useful for commercials to make a jump in time and to see how advertising functioned at its beginning to take some conclusions on how to improve your sales strategy.

Today I want to have a look at the time period, in which radio advertising lived its boom, namely in the late 30s.

The Radio as New Trend Medium

The majority of households in the USA bought radios in order to be informed about the latest political changes and war. Commercials speculated the rising interest in this new medium and discovered it as a huge opportunity for placing ads about their products in the radio shows. They were very attentive in how the ad message was created, which should have had a high psychological quality.

Their success was enormous: 1/4 of the radio listeners noted down the phone number and the address of the company after the radio show and 3/4 bought sometimes their products.

The influence of the radio in peoples` households

Why did radio advertising work? Because the listeners (family and friends) were only focused on listening to the radio when the show started: the shows took only place at certain hours of the day and their number was few. Hearing the voice of invisible speaker was more credible and vivid than just reading a print ad. The spoken words were treated less critical by the listeners, the relationship was less personal and the radio moderator was perceived as a visitor in a listener`s living room. Strangely, people felt this like a realistic contact. Therefore the impact on the listener was huge.

Relevance of the Radio today

Sure, today Radio is an old-fashioned, shabby medium for placing your ads as a company, moreover, the costs are pretty high for promoting your products there. For this reason, only big companies in the pharmaceutical industry, automotive industry or consumer industry have big enough budgets in investing money regularly to promote their products.

But I think that we can still learn something from the period of Radio Ads:

  1. Speculate communication channels with high audiences, but with a small number of competitors.
  2. Create a relationship with your audience, then advertising boosts sales.

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