In Radio, Less Isn’t More. More Is More.

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Around 10 years ago, broadcast giant Clear Channel made a bold move by attempting to redefine the industry standard of radio commercial length. Their “Less is More” initiative pushed to cut the traditional 60-second radio commercial length to 30 seconds. The rationale was that shorter commercials would reduce “on-air clutter” and were better suited to listeners’ shorter attention spans. Yeah, right. Let’s be honest – it was, and still is, a money-grab.

As a copywriter, I know I’m not alone when I say that I cringe every time I attempt to “craft” a 30-second radio commercial. Truth is, there isn’t much “craft” to it. As soon as you fit all the mandatories into the spot (the offer, call-to-action, website), your job is pretty much done. Not much room left for creativity, unfortunately.

Fast forward to 2013 and one of my favorite Summer pastimes – listening to Reds Radio while working around the house. Early in the season, I was shocked when I heard something I’d never heard before: a 90-second radio commercial.

The advertiser is The Kentucky Department of Tourism, and they have obviously bought three consecutive 30-second spots, because :30s are what the Reds Radio Network sells. The commercials are interview-style, with a Reds announcer “interviewing” a representative of Kentucky’s Tourism Department, who casually explains all the fun things Kentucky has to offer visitors.

The spots are relaxed, informative, and in my opinion, groundbreaking. The ads truly cut through the clutter of all of the cram-packed 30-second spots. Are they going to win any awards for their creativity? Of course not. But they do their job extremely well, and to me, these 90-second radio commercials are among the best I’ve ever heard.

–Steve Schaeffer, Creative Director/CEO @ Creative Dimensions