Monday, March 24, 2008

Reality is Reality and it Works

I’m a simple guy and I admit that I love reality television shows. I first got hooked on them years ago when the Biography Channel was launched. In recent years I have been a big fan of the celebrity reality shows like The Osborne’s, Breaking Bonaduce, Run’s House, Rob and Big, Little People Big World, Growing up Gotti, MTV Cribs, Hogan Knows Best, Snoop Dog’s Fatherhood, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Anna Nicole Show, Scott Baio is 45 and Single, Celebrity Rehab and my favorite, Gene Simmons Family Jewels.

Of the professional reality shows, I like Dr. 90210, Miami Ink, American Chopper, The Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers and Dirty Jobs.

Reality is huge. Just look at YouTube!

The one thing that all of these shows have in common for me is that in some way, shape or form, I can relate to almost each and every one of these people. We all have issues! They have the same issues, problems, joys and challenges that we have.

On a recent episode of Gene Simmons Family Jewels, the Simmon's dog Skippy runs away and the family is in a panic. Who can't relate to this? When you cut through it all, are these people really that different than us?

They might be rich and/or famous but other than that, they are just like us. Viewers can relate to that and I contend that is why these shows are popular. People, by nature are nosy too and they have a voyeuristic side to them. We like to peer into other peoples lives. Also, the shows are produced just like a soap opera. You get hooked and can’t wait until the next episode to see what happens. All of this is why I enjoy watching them.

In our business of radio, we are seeing an increase in testimonial commercials, or in today’s vernacular, “Reality” ads. A Reality ad is when you craft a commercial around interviews with customers and they speak about the GREAT experience that they had at a particular business. These ads work for the same reason that people enjoy watching reality shows. The listener can relate to the person giving the testimonial because it is a regular person just like them.

My friend Michael Crawford the General Manager/Partner of Peoria KIA is a master at this. He gets testimonials all the time from his customers. He puts the customers in his radio ads, TV ads and even includes them in his infomercials. Why? Because it works, and Michael can sell more cars because of it!

This is how it works.....

Suzy from Glendale hears the Peoria KIA ad on the radio with Tina in Tempe talking about how even with her bad credit Michael Crawford and Peoria KIA figured out how to get her into a new car and how nice the whole buying experience was. Suzy could relate to what she was hearing Tina say in the commercial, because she too has bad credit and furthermore, she was not treated so nice at another dealership because of that. So what does Suzy from Glendale do? She heads down to Peoria KIA to see if they can help her out of her credit jam and get her into a new car.

Reality/testimonial ads can work for any type of business, not just the automotive category. The one key to a reality ad is that it must be real and not contrived. The listener or viewer is to smart for that and can sniff out BS a mile a way.

So get real, It works!

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