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DM Tips #12 - Radio, pharma, PDMA, more!

Mid-September, 2001

Published as a resource for your direct marketing work. Depend on FCC for imaginative, results-producing creative work, including direct mail - web - e-mail - ads - radio- more! ----------info-


--Tapping Radio's DM Power

--Pharma article will be cover for Direct Marketing

--PDMA Meeting Sept.19 focuses on e-mail marketing

--Poem: Ever, in reaction the recent tragedy

--Photos - Lovely pix of Boathouse Row and more

--Two cute riddles!


Dear Friend,

---- LikLike all of you, we are in shock about the events in New York. I hope you have found a way to cope. My poem Ever, in this issue, is one way I have chosen, albeit a highly personal one. In a more tangible way, PDMA members here have made extensive donations to the Red Cross. For many of us, one antidote to the craziness is work. And that is the main subject of this newsletter -- direct response work. I hope you find it helpful, and that you enjoy the lighter aspects of this issue as well.


Radio - the Greatest Unseen Response Medium by Albert Fried-Cassorla

What's invisible but enters the mind and takes over?

Which medium can totally captivate you and practically command a response?

Why, radio, of course! Sitting in a car, you may think you're a swift station-changer, your fleet fingers ever-ready at the buttons. But those radio commercials sneak in and catch you when you've got NOTHING else to dwell upon but the seller's message. That's why this industry has grown to $13 billion in sales, ranking fourth among all media.

According to Mark Lipsky, of Radio Direct Response: "Of the 20 top spenders, on radio 10 are using direct response radio. These big spenders include GEICO, Allstate Car Insurance,, 1-800-MATTRESS, Vermont Teddy Bear Company,"

Lipsky identifies several elements that add up to success in radio direct response: Use good research. Find the right message -- the single strongest consumer benefit -- don't choose what the client or agency thinks it is. Then get your message across clearly and repetitively. Don't try to win a Clio. Use a grabber for attention. Present a compelling offer. Rally them with an urgent call to action to get a response now. And don't let creativity get in the way." Media and proper selection of the right stations and network are also key, he notes. "Two identical-demographics stations can deliver different results. It comes down to which stations do people actively listen to, or use as background."

Can humor work well? He offers one positive example: used a drill sergeant barking back and forth -- it was funny and successful. The problem is that jokes get tired and become irritating. Vary and freshen it up regularly.

Radio is a powerful medium that reaches 95% of all adults on a weekly basis. According to an article in Response TV, "U.S. adults who earn more than $60,000 watch 26 percent less television than the average viewer." In fact, as income rises, radio listening increases.

If a radio commercial is catchy… if it's convincing and memorable, and if it empowers you with a good reason to respond, then it works its magical power upon you. Some of the best commercials employ a Theater of the Imagination to place you in a charming universe you can't resist (not coincidentally, where after this priming selling is easier).

So what exactly makes for a good direct response commercial? Here are some key ingredients:

1. Use a grabber intro. -- Get their attention early. Otherwise, the game is lost. It's even more important than emphasizing benefits. What good are all of your benefits if they've switched stations?

2. Tell them your Brand. Tell 'em again! -- Emphasize it again and again. If you're of a certain age, you remember the "Where's the beef?" commercials. They were popular and memorable but did little for sales at Wendy's.

3. Give clear benefits. -- State them clearly, re-state them and prove them to the absolutely best of your ability.

4. Speak in a personal voice. What could be more authentic than the voice of a person saying honest words to you in your car? Or your office? Or kitchen? Direct mail letters We all know that direct mail letters work best when they sound like a real person's voice (not an "announcer's"). The same is true a hundred-fold with announcers and what they say.

Remember: "Hi, this is Tom Bodett from Motel 6"? His commercials are still airing. They are relatively authentic and build credibility and perception of honesty well. In contrast, some direct response commercials are written and produced as if aimed at total ninnies. One particularly irritating commercial for a male potency preparation begins with: "I couldn't please my girlfriend Debra. But then I tried XYZ. Now things are great." We are all certain there never was a girlfriend Debra. And the guy's voice used in the commercial could have been a 1950's hold-over who used to sell Clorox or Lestoil. So glib and smarmy. Give us a break!

In contrast, our own Howard Eskin on WIP-am speaks in a voice that is persuasive for the L.A. Weight Loss Centers. He uses the product and we believe him when he says so. See him on TV and you know he's at least slim.

5. Be believable -- and work hard at it! - Credibility may be the hardest victory for any of us copywriters to achieve. After all, most of the world assumes we lie through our teeth! Don't take offense -- GO on the offense. It may sound contradictory to suggest that believability be created. In fact it can be created by what you choose to include -- or exclude from your commercial. Advertising creativity is as much an exercise in choice -- what to paint on your canvas and what not to -- as anything else.

Some ads have UNTRUE written all over them. It's as if the commercial-maker had no respect at all for the intelligence of the listener. Don't be a bearer of Bogus Tidings. Like your father told you: Tell the truth. Do it because your product works well. And chances are, it does -- something about it has made it successful. Do your research, and talk to your customers. Record them and use the best ones on air. But listen to lots of testimonials and select the best. Believable, juicy quotes usually don't fall out of trees.

6. IF you try to be funny, be sure you don't let it interfere with the selling message! - It's the necessary flash in a limited-attention-span universe. Use it wisely, and keep your eye on the product, benefits and response. Funny often equals money. If it's done well. Of course, humor isn't appropriate for every selling situation. But the off-limits list has shrunk considerably. (Just ask Bob Dole!)

7. Think carefully about response mechanisms - Ahh, now we get to our favorite. Of course, we side in favor of urging the customer to use one or more response mechanisms to make himself known to the sponsor.

The critical question often is: WHICH medium do I use? So few companies value a database-building response. For example, the oft-used refrain: "Visit our great Super-Mattress web site" simply drives traffic. This may lead to immediate sales… and it may not.

Why not instead say (to a youthful target market): "Try out new Bouncing Betty game at the Super Mattress Web site! You'll love Bouncing Betty off our mattresses and into some cool situations!" At the site, a sign-up and e-mail address would be required to play the game. That builds the database. Of course, you have many other good options for building that database with your commercial. The point is -- go for the sale AND the database-building response.

8. Ask for the order. And, oh -- also ask for the order! Yes, be repetitive. You're not violating the rules. This one was issued long ago by the Department of Redundancy department (as the Firesign Theater used to say.) Repeat yourself creatively. You can actually be inventive about providing a toll-free number, for example. Don't say irritatingly, as so many commercials do: "That's 1-800-762-9947. That's 1-800-762-9947. That's 1-800-762-9947." Do say: That's 1-800-762-9947. What's the number for your FREE Calvin Klein Calfskin Hemostat Holster? Why it's 1-800-762-9947. Scribble it on a sticky note now: That's 1-800-762-9947."


Pump up your direct response creative work!

Let us help boost your response with powerful copywriting, design and consulting. Contact Fried-Cassorla Communications, Inc. now at 215-635-5189 (USA) or


Fried-Cassorla's pharmaceutical article will be cover story for Direct Marketing magazine, October 2001

Hoke Communications' Direct Marketing magazine will publish "The Pharmaceutical Direct Marketer's Tool Kit" by Albert Fried-Cassorla.

The article will be featured on the cover of the highly regarded journal in its October 2001 issue.

This unique 270-page book is on sale HERE.

The piece covers many important developments in the field, including growth in Direct-to-Consumer advertising, the difference between database-building web sites and simple web marketing, CRM programs, direct mail to patients and MDs, trends in disease treatment programs augmented by direct response, and much more. The magazine has previously published articles by Albert on web marketing, direct mail and pharmaceutical marketing.



Retain valuable employees! Show your appreciation by giving customized pins & gifts from Brown Industries, a B2B catalog marketer since 1946. Visit Or call 1-800-522-7696 for help with your special challenge. Member, PDMA.


Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association presents Sept. 19th session on --------- Secrets & Tricks to Using Online Data to Drive Marketing Efforts

The speaker will be Denise Zimmerman, co-founder of NetPlus Marketing. To register, go to Choose any entrance and go to Meeting Information. It should be an exciting session, with much quality information and many good people to meet.See you there!

Need help with your e-mail campaign?
Let us help you turn pixels into profits! Call Fried-Cassorla Communications at 215-635-5189 or e-mail!


Ever - I wrote this poem in reaction to the World Trade Center attack.

It is a personal reflection.

September 12, 2001


Beautiful Philadelphia Photos! - This page is my tribute to my adopted town, Philadelphia. I am especially fond of the Boathouse Row pictures. Hope you like them!

 When you need help with your direct mail campaign, who ya gonna call?

We've helped many companies successfully reach B2B and consumer markets with our power-packed direct mail. See the Success Stories on our web site, or even better... give us a call! 215-635-5189 (USA) or




 Two Electrons - as heard on NPR from "The Car Guys"

Q: Two electrons were walking down the street. The first asked, "Why do you look so sad?"

The second answered, "I've lost my charge." The first asked, "Are you sure?" (Now click HERE!)


An Albert original ("You mean he actually wants to take credit for this stuff?")

Q: What do Mesopotamian schoolchildren write about when they return to school in the Fall? (Now click HERE!)



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© Copyright 2001 by Fried-Cassorla Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.