Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Did you hear about the latest Shoneys ad? By the way, Shoneys is the franchise name of "Big Boy" in the South. Other places in the U.S. may know it as Bob's or Frisch's or something different. Anyway, Their ad agency in Louisville created a radio ad for their breakfast buffet. In it, A driver ticks off middle America towns with odd-sounding names -- Two Egg, Fla., Weiner, Ark., and Sweet Lips, Tenn. -- noting there are Shoney's along the way.

"Pretty soon down the road when you're passing Gas, you'll be glad you stopped," the announcer says before a brief pause. "What? Gas, Kansas, you sicko. I can't believe you went there."

Two New Orleans radio stations, WLMG and WTKL refused to run the ad. The Agency's PR director says, "We thought the ad was a little cute, but we didn't think it would get banned," he said. "Especially in New Orleans, which is not the most conservative of places."

Having lived in New Orleans, I can attest that is true, but he forgot one thing. The stations that refused to run the ad: WTKL is 60s and 70s oldies. WLMG is Lite Rock. One of the core "branding beliefs" in both of those formats is that it must be "Family Friendly" That means not airing things that you'd be embarrased for your eight year old daughter to hear.

It happens a lot that agency folks think they've got a great ad, but forgot that radio is a targeted medium. They would have been much better off to have created another version or a different message altogether for stations like WTKL and WLMG. I've heard a very bold "Club Mix"-type urban spot for Pine Sol running on a country station, and country-oriented jingles running on Urban stations. I think it's just lazyness.

If you're talking to me, talk to me in MY language. Have the respect for your potential consumers to create a message for them. Advertising is not a one-size fits all industry.

And speaking of cities that should or should not be conservative places...guess which U.S. city has the highest number of churches per capita. It's Las Vegas.

--Thanks for reading.

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