Air Apparent

In the world of career college marketing and advertising, less is more.

There, I said it.

And before you people start giving me your two cents’ worth (or worse), here’s why I know I’m right: 1) Because I swear I’ve written 42 percent of every single career college television/radio commercial ever made, and 2) I’ve sat through countless focus groups where kids tell me, in no uncertain terms, what they think of my ads.

Believe me, kids can spot an insincere message faster than you can say, “CALL NOW!”

There are usually two main factors in getting potential leads to pick up the phone. The first is relativity. Time after time, incoming students mention they saw so-and-so on TV and could relate to that person. Inevitably, the ad featured a real-life testimonial of someone who changed their life, their career, their essence by going back to school. It’s the quintessential before and after: Before school, my life was crap … after school, I was suddenly unstoppable. Some of the most successful local school ads are actually testimonials from six, seven, eight years ago. The look may be slightly outdated, but the message remains consistent: Going back to school got me somewhere! I’ve often thought we should track down these graduates and update the ads. But why fiddle with something that’s been working for years?

Which brings me to my second “CALL NOW!” factor. Yep, you guessed it: frequency. I have seen students regurgitate an ad word-for-word because they’ve seen it repeatedly on TV. Yes, because they’ve seen it repeatedly on TV. They’ve seen it repeatedly. On TV. Which is where they’ve seen it. Repeatedly. And can regurgitate it word-for-word.

I’ve often wondered what makes leads call after seeing an ad 303 times instead of merely the third time. Chances are, they are still sitting on the couch, doing nothing, and after the 300th airing they finally realize they could be doing better for themselves. Well, that and – I swear – after the 300th viewing, a little light bulb turns on in their heads.

Sometimes I’ll write cutesy, colloquial or comical copy to stand out, but not too often. My latest slice of brilliance features an arrow that says, “In order to go forward, you have to go back … to school, that is.” Sound simple? It is! But I’ll guarantee you that minimalist copy will get leads because it has the power to challenge, to motivate and to inspire. And, of course, it has plenty of room to repeat the phone number eight times.

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2 Comments on "Air Apparent"

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Brandon G.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; but a bird in college is worth four on the couch.

David I.

You can’t give them the motivation, but you can plant the seed of a better future. Branding and a sincere call to action/motivation are key.