Greatest Marketing Campaign Analysis – Radio

I have had the best time with this assignment! I reached out to my parents, and we had a good time discussing old radio ads and their take on effectiveness and what they liked and disliked about certain ads. As far as radio and radio commercials, I haven’t listened to radio in I can’t tell you how many years (well maybe local radio with tire shop ads)!! For the past 16 years, I have lived in the western mountains of North Carolina. I live in a small town with the closest ‘city’ being 45 minutes away. FM station radio signals from the city only come in late at night (memories of being a teenager, coming to visit on vacation and thinking I was going to die without my music – thank goodness for cassette tapes!). For the most part, we use commercial free radio apps, so I have not listened to a radio commercial in forever. I hope you enjoy walking down memory lane as much as we did!!

Ovaltine – 1931 – 1940
The voiceover is a young to middle-aged man pitching Ovaltine to the young fans of the children’s radio series Little Orphan Annie. Ovaltine sponsored a few radio shows and eventually a TV series as well. The pitch would make all fans of Little Orphan Annie believe if they are fans, they are drinking Ovaltine, and they need to get one of the Shaker/drink mugs because it is ‘swell’ and convenient. Towards the end of the commercial, the pitch turns to the mothers of the household. The pitch evokes the pride emotion because when you are a good mom to your children, you want to give them something healthy and delicious. The objective of the radio ad was to sell more Ovaltine and to participate in the promotions campaign by sending in proofs of purchase. The silvered foil lids from the Ovaltine jars were proofs-of-purchase, and a user could obtain what was referred to as radio premiums, such as “secret decoder ring” badges, or pins that could be used to decode messages in the radio program.  Click on the link below to listen to the old commercial radio spot.

Armour Hotdogs – Radio and TV commercial’s mid-1960’s
This radio and TV ad is what is now known as a Jingle. Jingles were a popular form of advertising with commercial radio starting as early as 1923 with the Wheaties commercial. Jingles remained popular until the mid-1990’s. In 2011, there were only eight jingles out of 306 commercials. Jingles are catchy, and the song sticks in your head and you catch yourself singing it all throughout the day. Jingles evoke a happy response, and this pied piper of hot dogs leads the kids in song (and in the TV commercial, stomping through the hillside singing and eating hot dogs). This advertising art

Click to watch the commercial!

form is all about name recognition. When the family went grocery shopping, the kids would grab the Armour hot dogs and start singing! I am sure they sold a lot of hot dogs despite the despicable conditions and corporate culture at the meat packing plants! No one knew what was going on back then, but nowadays, it would be plastered all over social media.

Winston Cigarettes – brought to you by The Flintstones
In 1970, Congress passed an Act banning the advertisements of cigarettes on television and radio. But before that, the Flintstone’s pitched many products to the American public; cigarettes, beer, jelly, vitamins and shampoo, just to name a few. The following link was used in both radio and television advertising of Winston Cigarettes. Both Barney and Fred were hard working, blue collar men. And when they were not at work, they were relaxing and living the good life. That was the pitch in this ad; to appeal to the working man and their desire to kick back, relax and enjoy a Winston cigarette. Even though most of us would think about this being a weird target market, cartoon/younger kids, the Flintstones was a night time show on ABC and ran for six years (see newspaper promotion ad).  ( Another radio commercial )

Mr. Clean – late 1958
“In 1946 Advertising Age estimated that more than 200 companies were competing in the cleaning business, of which 125 advertised, 85 using national magazines and 14 using network radio.”*  In this radio spot, Mr. Clean, an all-purpose cleanser, is hailed for its ability to clean anything and its ability to do it quickly. This informative ad gave many examples of what all Mr. Clean can clean. The commercial appealed to the housewife because she wanted to get her job done quickly.

Click on the cartoon to link to the ad!


* The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising by John McDonough & Karen Egolf Routledge, Jun 18, 2015

Alka-Seltzer – 1950’s
Alka-Seltzer was launched in 1931 and began with print advertising immediately and sponsorship radio in 1932 with the radio show ‘Alka-Seltzer Comedy Star of Hollywood’ and ‘National Barn Dance’ in 1933 and many others until the last show ‘Alka-Seltzer Time’ in the 1950’s. Alka-Seltzer then started using its popular jingle slogan ‘plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is’ and the company still uses it to this day! The product  has always had high name recognition and who doesn’t start to sing the song when your stomach hurts, and you are walking to the medicine cabinet?

Click on this photo to listen to Radio Ad!


4 Replies to “Greatest Marketing Campaign Analysis – Radio”

  1. Tabitha,
    You did a fantastic job on your ad selections. I really enjoyed the supplemental pictures that went along with your ads. It’s also exciting to see how far along we have come but also see some of the same techniques we still use in advertising. Great posting!!!!

  2. It is so interesting to see how radio advertising have changed over the years, isn’t it? Each period deployed different methods for engagement and a different calls to action. I particularly found the Armour radio spot interesting. It showcases how advertising was used in the days of live radio. One can imagine a few kids on stage with a live band singing along for that spot.

    The jingle is quite effective, too. It tells us how much kids of all types love hot dogs. Once that jingle gets in your head, it’s hard to get it out. I remember that jingle from television commercials of my childhood and I will bet I asked my mom to buy Armour hot dogs because of it. That, in my mind, is the hallmark of effective advertising.

    I recognize you don’t listen to the radio much today, but can you think of any recent commercials you might have heard that have the same memory affect as this Armour commercial?

  3. Great Job! I loved all of the ads you selected and the pictures enhanced your blog post. I have to say my favorite was Mr. Clean. I loved the jingle and I caught myself smiling and nodding away! I really love the Mr. Clean TV commercials now. Have you seen them? Like, the newest one? Funny!

    It’s crazy to think that Mr. Clean has been around for so long and it still is a great product and they have upgraded their marketing to meet a new target audience. Love it!

  4. With today’s technology, it is easy to avoid listening to radio ads with ad-free radio or fast forwarding through the commercial ads on television. I like the blast from the past take on the old ads that you used. Some of the brands even utilized a few forms of advertising. I believe my favorite was the “pop, pop, fizz, fizz,” for the Alka-Seltzer ad. The most surprising one was the Flintstones, as a kid, I loved watching the cartoon and never knew that they promoted Winston cigarettes nor did I know that it was an animation for adults. Thank you for sharing these great lifetime ads.

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