The following is an actual email exchange between me and one of the execs at a local "independent" progressive radio station in the town where I work:
Yesterday during your evening programming, I heard an ad that I assumed at first was a joke. It started out saying something like, "You know what the difference is between you and the millions of millionaires out there? They decided they wanted to be millionaires, and then decided to do something about it." It turned out to be an offer for a free CD on creating your own web-based business. With all due respect, are you kidding me? Do you realize how out of sync that message is with the vast majority of your audience? We non-millionaires just don't *want* it badly enough? First of all, I'd guess that most of your audience is not motivated by appeals to consumption and profit. Secondly, it is degrading to suggest to people (most of whom are suffering significantly at the hands of this recession) that they just aren't driven enough. (And thirdly- is it really *honest* advertising? I know there's a range of truth in advertising, but are you comfortable with suggesting that we can *all* be millionaires?) It was so surreal that (as mentioned above), I was waiting for the punchline. I understand you need the ad revenue to stay in business, but is there any way to be a bit more selective about the products you choose to promote on your station (or at least how those products are marketed)?
Thank you for reaching out. I appreciate the feedback.
These ads are from an agency called Marketing Architects. They are not directly solicited by our station, and the sponsors are not local.
Their keys to our millions are our credit card numbers. They suck you dry, wait for you to desperately cancel their scam, then move on. These enterprises have a whole bunch of one time customers, gullible at best, stupid at worst. The funny thing about ads like this (which run on almost every area radio station, by the way, and share the same bottom-feeding values as the TV infomercials on real estate and colon cleaner) is that they are almost universally criminal, but not illegal. It's some stupid free speech thing. In many countries in Europe, you cannot advertise a product that has not been proven to be effective (like our FDA).
Here's the good news: As we garner more local ad support, these things go away automatically. One good legit ad always replaces one horrid one. We are not greedy, selfish or ignorant of the obvious scummery these hucksters peddle. We don't do pledge drives, and we need revenue to keep this thing going so, for example, we can air truly quality programming.
Let me know if you have any other Q's. I appreciate you listening, and your occasional patience as we continue to grow and improve our scrappy little 5,000 watts of pure democracy.
(Executive at tiny progressive radio station)