As an advertiser, there’s one simple truth that—once you accept it— will set you free (and increase ROI): People hate advertising. That’s why, at Wingman Advertising, our goal is to create radio commercials that don’t sound like it. Your audience is exposed to 5,000 advertising messages a day, and they’ve been experts at tuning them out since the age of three. So our goal is to create spots that fly beneath the audience’s well-tuned advertising-aversion radars. It’s no easy task, but over the years we’ve honed a below-the-radar strategy that’s so successful it drives three to four times the response of a typical 60-second radio ad.


Over the past twelve years, we’ve perfected a radio strategy that gives the audience permission to drop its defenses and pay attention to your message. We call it the two-minute advertorial spot. These commercials always feature a radio DJ / talk show host having what appears to be a natural conversation with a brand representative. But over the course of the conversation it evolves into a long-form commercial for their product or service.

There are three mandatory components that make the two-minute spot work:


1.)    It must be an interview – Our two-minute spots are always interviews that sound like regular programming the audience would find on the radio station. Listeners pay attention to the spot because they believe they’re listening to show content instead of a commercial.


2.)    It must feature a local DJ or talk show host – We always carefully select local radio hosts or DJs the audience is familiar with. This makes the spot more credible and also gives the appearance that the interview is actual show content. If there are no DJs or hosts available, we choose a celebrity that fits the station’s psychographics.


3.)    It must be conversational – Once people start talking about “spectacular offers” and pitching a product, the spot is DOA because it just caused a blip on the audience’s collective advertising-aversion radars. This is where our clients need to hold Wingman’s hand, close their eyes, and take a leap of faith. We often receive pushback from those that feel there must be a hard sell in the spot and we have to convince them how it blows up the strategy. Our two-minute advertorial spots often begin with the DJ asking the guest (a representative from the company) about a recent news story or event in their lives which dovetails smoothly into talk about the product or service.


Wingman Advertising began to experiment with this strategy with a timeshare company called Consolidated Reports back in 2003. Those ads featured a local DJ interviewing a celebrity (Tanya Roberts, Roseanne Barr, and William Shatner to drop a few names) soliciting listeners to call for a free trip to Vegas. The technique has also been wildly successful for Wingman’s clients that sell considered purchases for the home. The longer format is perfect for educating homeowners about high-end purchases. The strategy worked perfectly for Verengo Solar where we used Ed Asner as the perfect foil for the power companies. The platform also gave California Deluxe Windows the incredible opportunity to expound on its innovative products, and for Rhino Shield to tell the world about how they kick paint’s butt.


Wingman’s long-time relationships with major market radio stations allows us to bend the radio rules and tap into our network of established local DJ’s and talk show hosts across America. Now, one question remains: With double the spot time and greater frequency, what will you tell your target audience about your product?


Wingman Advertising is an industry leader in the home improvement category. The agency is based in Los Angeles and focuses on marketing for clients that sell big-ticket items for the home.