Ad Infinitum

Starting Right

September 27, 2023 Stew Redwine Season 1 Episode 1
Starting Right
Ad Infinitum
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Ad Infinitum
Starting Right
Sep 27, 2023 Season 1 Episode 1
Stew Redwine

Oxford Road VP of Creative Services Stew Redwine brings marketers a rare look into what makes the ads work on Oxford Road’s all-new podcast: Ad Infinitum.

The first season's episodes focus on individual Audiolytics™ Key Components and how they show up in the ads for some of the top spenders in audio. Episode 1 is titled "Starting Right" and Focuses on Audiolytics™ Key Component #1, "Setup: Why Should I Listen?". In this episode, Stew and Dallas Taylor, host of 20k Hertz and Creative Director at Defacto Sound, break down ads from four top spenders in Radio; ZipRecruiter, Progressive, The Home Depot, and Lowes.

About this episode's guest: Dallas Taylor is the host and creator of Twenty Thousand Hertz, the award-winning podcast revealing the stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds. He is also the Creative Director of Defacto Sound - the sonic source for the world’s most thoughtful brands, a TED mainstage speaker, a regular contributor to major publications (like the guardian, wired, the wall street journal, and more), and a respected thought leader on the narrative power of sound.

Support the Show.

Ad Infinitum is Presented by Oxford Road, Produced by Caitlyn Spring & Ezra Fox, mixed & sound designed by Zach Hahn, and written & hosted by Stew Redwine.

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Show Notes Transcript

Oxford Road VP of Creative Services Stew Redwine brings marketers a rare look into what makes the ads work on Oxford Road’s all-new podcast: Ad Infinitum.

The first season's episodes focus on individual Audiolytics™ Key Components and how they show up in the ads for some of the top spenders in audio. Episode 1 is titled "Starting Right" and Focuses on Audiolytics™ Key Component #1, "Setup: Why Should I Listen?". In this episode, Stew and Dallas Taylor, host of 20k Hertz and Creative Director at Defacto Sound, break down ads from four top spenders in Radio; ZipRecruiter, Progressive, The Home Depot, and Lowes.

About this episode's guest: Dallas Taylor is the host and creator of Twenty Thousand Hertz, the award-winning podcast revealing the stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds. He is also the Creative Director of Defacto Sound - the sonic source for the world’s most thoughtful brands, a TED mainstage speaker, a regular contributor to major publications (like the guardian, wired, the wall street journal, and more), and a respected thought leader on the narrative power of sound.

Support the Show.

Ad Infinitum is Presented by Oxford Road, Produced by Caitlyn Spring & Ezra Fox, mixed & sound designed by Zach Hahn, and written & hosted by Stew Redwine.

Audio / Video (00:00):
Hit it.

Stew Redwine (00:01):
Ad Infinitum is the only podcast solely focused on audio ads.

Audio / Video (00:05):

Stew Redwine (00:05):
The creatives who make them, the latest thinking that informs them, how the space is evolving, and my favorite part, a round-up of recent audio ads-

Audio / Video (00:13):
Ad campaign.

Stew Redwine (00:14):
... and analysis by yours truly, Stew Redwine, VP Creative at Oxford Road and each episode's guest. This episode's title is Starting Right. And this week's guest is Dallas Taylor. Welcome to the show, Dallas.

Dallas Taylor (00:27):
Hey. I, I feel like I need more coffee. You- you're, you're like pepped up. You got it.

Stew Redwine (00:31):
Well, let me see if I can pump you up. I'm gonna try... Okay, I'm gonna pump you up-

Dallas Taylor (00:33):
Pump me up.

Stew Redwine (00:33):
... with your bio.

Dallas Taylor (00:33):
I love that.

Stew Redwine (00:33):
I'm gonna pump you up right now.

Dallas Taylor (00:33):
All right, mm-hmm.

Audio / Video (00:33):

Stew Redwine (00:36):
Dallas is the host and creator of Twenty Thousand Hertz, the award-winning podcast, revealing the stories behind the world's most recognizable and interesting sounds.

Audio / Video (00:44):

Stew Redwine (00:45):
He's also the creative director of Defacto Sound, the sonic source for the world's most thoughtful brands, a Ted main stage speaker, and a respected thought leader on the narrative power of sound and recent recipient of best production and sound design for Twenty Thousand Hertz, Dallas Taylor. Welcome Dallas Taylor to the stage. Are you pumped up now?

Dallas Taylor (01:09):
Wow. When you say all of that together, it's a bit overwhelming, but, uh, but thank you.

Stew Redwine (01:13):

Dallas Taylor (01:13):
All right, I think I'm, I think I'm a little pepped. All right, let's do this.

Stew Redwine (01:16):
Yeah, that's you. That's you.

Dallas Taylor (01:16):

Stew Redwine (01:18):
Is there anything you'd like to add to that?

Dallas Taylor (01:20):
I'll say that there's two things that I do with my life. I run a sound design studio that I've been running for 14 years called Defacto Sound, doing trailers, ads, documentaries, promos, mainly short things now. And, uh, we do that for companies like, uh, Netflix, HBO, Discovery, um, car companies, uh, sneaker spots, and, uh, lots of other individuals. And then I split my time between that and, um, hosting Twenty Thousand Hertz. That's generally my life on a day-to-day basis.

Stew Redwine (01:52):
Sounds like a good life.

Dallas Taylor (01:53):
I... Yes, it is very, it is very cool. It can be stressful when... because every single thing we do has a deadline. Uh, if there were no deadlines, it'd be incredible, it'd be perfect. But unfortunately, we have the deadline on every single thing we do. Uh, but I enjoyed along the way.

Stew Redwine (02:08):
I wanted to play a sample, actually, um, from your car reel, which is one of my favorites. So let's take a listen to that.

That's just a sample of some of the sound design that Dallas was talking about, and it's super impressive work.

Audio / Video (02:34):

Stew Redwine (02:34):
And in fact, your work on Twenty Thousand Hertz, we've got a couple different advertisers that are on your podcast, and I love the way that you take the copy that we send you and you guys elevate it to the next level. And I just wanted to listen to that as well.

Audio / Video (02:47):
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Dallas Taylor (03:01):

Stew Redwine (03:02):

Dallas Taylor (03:04):
I love it. I, I actually haven't heard it completed. I only saw that in the script. Uh, but Grace East is our producer and she manages, uh, she writes all of our ads, and she just joined us six, six, six to eight months ago. And she is so smart and charming and funny. And you, you can almost go back and pinpoint exactly when she started writing ads because they all start out with a little vignette of, of something relatable like this. And, uh, and that's actually the first time I've heard it and it's completed form, 'cause usually, I'll read for it and I've, I'll chuckle along the way, but then it gets, goes through the team and then programmed. But that's Grace saying, "Yikes." And that's what made me, uh, chuckle-

Stew Redwine (03:42):

Dallas Taylor (03:42):
... because I never heard that.

Stew Redwine (03:43):
Well, what I wanted to point out is like, look, you know, the main audience that we're speaking to here and speak to at Oxford Road is what we term the chief audio officer. So that's gonna be an individual that is either stewarding or deciding the budgets of what's getting invested into audio. And it's sort of a broad definition-

Dallas Taylor (04:02):

Stew Redwine (04:03):
... because there's a lot of different people that could fit into that role. Um, and that's who we want to help. So I want to just take a pause movement throughout our conversation-

Dallas Taylor (04:09):

Stew Redwine (04:10):
... just to go to you as a host that for chief audio officers to be looking for shows and programs that take that extra step, like, even beyond what we provided you as an agency where we're doing our level best to go, "This is the, you know, the most succinct copy points, and this is the message, and we're doing our best practices." And then you guys go up another notch. It's like that's what you want to see, is that kind of ownership all the way through the chain.

Dallas Taylor (04:38):
Right. Yeah. So there's... This is something that I've struggled with a bit because I know that agencies and, and brands really love the host, Red Reed, when it comes from a place of being off the cuff. Um, because usually you get a lot more time out of it, uh, 'cause I think most of the time we only do 32nd or 62nd spots. Um, there's like a divide of where you can go. You have the host read, you know, somebody who's incredibly talented, who, who can really just speak off the cuff and they build a show around that and they can talk about the, the product and really their experience and all that. It's great.

Um, we are a totally different type of show. Uh, we... Ours is like ultra highly polished and it's extraordinarily produced. And sometimes, when we get copy points, these copy points are trying to, uh, really encourage hosts to speak for, you know, a minute, two, three, et cetera. And they... It gets, gets full of, of required copy points and points where I'd say that about 80% of the time when we write ads for hour shape of ad, the, this kind of ultra highly produced thing, we get so stuck and bloated on talking points that we can't bring any life to it.

I would say that most of the time, when we get boxed in and we really can't like put any spin on it or any fun little vignette or relatable story that we can produce, I tend to see those ads not repeat, or not get picked back up. But when we get a little bit of breathing room in that, you know, 15 seconds or 20 seconds to do something, that's where we go, "Okay, now we're gonna have a little bit of fun." And you get so much value out of a, such a creative team saying, "Okay, you have 15 to 20 seconds to do something, now we just make sure you say this, but go play."

Stew Redwine (06:26):
My assumption would be that that, let's say 10 seconds, 15 seconds, whatever it is of play time, so to speak, right, of introducing the message and segueing really out of the program-

Dallas Taylor (06:37):

Stew Redwine (06:37):
... is at the beginning of the advertisement.

Dallas Taylor (06:39):
It's entirely intentional, too, because you know, there is that split second of, "Will this entertain me?" And we very clearly signal when we're going into a break. So we have about one to two seconds to immediately say, "This is a fun thing that you need to hear." Like, we put time and care and energy into this. People listen to Twenty Thousand Hertz, not only because the stories are very human and, you know, resonate with our sense of hearing and humanity, but people love that we have such an incredibly high standard for just how we produce audio. And so for us, I think we have a unique opportunity to do really interesting things in ads.

I wanna surprise and delight people. And I think that surprise and delight and all that production that we put into it, all that writing time that we put into it, which you will get more of if you give us just a little bit to play with, resonates massively with the audience. And that's the goal. And hopefully, through that you see good performance.

Stew Redwine (07:37):
Well, what I can tell you is you do see good performance.

Dallas Taylor (07:42):
So let me get this straight, for all of the people out there that may buy on podcasts, um, Stew-

Stew Redwine (07:49):

Dallas Taylor (07:49):
... that Twenty Thousand Hertz, all spelled out without numbers, performs very well.

Stew Redwine (07:55):
Yes, yes.

Dallas Taylor (07:57):
(laughs) Okay?

Stew Redwine (07:58):
Yes. By this show, 'cause it's a good show.

Dallas Taylor (08:01):

Stew Redwine (08:02):
'Cause it's good. You're also getting validation that you do a, a good show with the Ambies for best production and sound design two years in a row. Do I have that right, yeah?

Dallas Taylor (08:12):
[inaudible 00:08:13], yeah. I would like to state that the Ambies are not a awards show that we have to apply for. It just happens. So I feel very happy about the Ambies, in particular, because it's not like other awards, where we have to pay and then we have to go, you know, pla- plaster our show with ads saying vote for us. The Ambies are entirely just done independently of us, so it's cool. I think that's the only award that we win that we don't actually try to. So I feel really good about that.

Stew Redwine (08:41):
Another good example of you guys go in the extra mile, that's a cornerstone of the conversation I want to have with you is for a long time, audio's been treated as an afterthought, right?

Dallas Taylor (08:53):
Don't tell me about it, it's my life story.

Stew Redwine (08:54):
Um, exactly. Well, you tell me about it.

Dallas Taylor (08:55):

Stew Redwine (08:56):
That's, that's like, like take me into those rooms with you, you know, over the past few years where it's like, "Oh hey, Defacto Sound, like, do this TV spot in this." "Oh, yeah, and-"

Dallas Taylor (09:07):

Stew Redwine (09:08):
... "We do have these radio spots we need you to do."

Dallas Taylor (09:11):
I'm really excited to see that other people are seeing this. So I've been working in sound for picture for 20 years, and about, I would say 13, 14 of those years was pre Twenty Thousand Hertz. So to really understand where Twenty Thousand Hertz, how I was thinking that made Twenty Thousand Hertz spark into existence, one, it, it had to do with just an absolute love of sound and an understanding deeply how much sound affects people. It also had to do with being around my sound design team, and the greater sound design community, and us all trading these amazing stories.

And we all know, without a shadow of a doubt, how powerful audio is. So when Twenty Thousand Hertz was coming along, it really... there was an aspect to it that was a chip on my shoulder. It's something I almost never talk about. But in my line of work for this, you know, 12, 13 years, it's a perpetual state of me and my team saying like, "Oh, hey, visual people, what if we tried this thing? Or what if we tried this campaign from a sound-led perspective and then visuals are brought onto it? Or why don't we really think about like how the, this sound will carry and how it will compliment, and how visuals and/or dialogue or voiceover will all play together?"

And unfortunately, most of the reaction that I got back from that type of conversation was a little bit of a pat on the head going, "Oh, audio person, that's adorable, but you just scoot on a little, you know, that way and let us, let us visual people like do our job." And so, that's really part of the reason Twenty Thousand Hertz existed is because I... You know, and I'm not saying everyone's like that. There's a lot of people that I think now most people who work with my company come to us because they also have a recognition of how important sound is.

But so much of that is like, I had to build it and prove it. And so, now, 170 episodes into Twenty Thousand Hertz, it's a bit of a whiplash for me-

Stew Redwine (11:08):

Dallas Taylor (11:09):
... to go from not being taken seriously at all, uh, or at least what it felt like, in sound to now having... And even when I started Twenty Thousand Hertz, no one believed in it. My team, my family, everyone was like, "Oh, that's adorable. But like, okay, I don't know if a show about sound is gonna be successful." Now, it seems so obvious, but it was always obvious to me. So the whiplash thing is like now people are going, "Yes." And what feels amazing about that is I hope me and my team have had an impact in pushing people in that direction. Uh, 'cause I know that we're gonna go through the next decade, few decades really tweaking how important sound is.

Stew Redwine (11:50):
It's cool to see that you were early to it, you've done it incredibly well, and you're getting rewarded from what I can tell. And, and like I said, I mean, anybody that is in audio, I, I tell everybody about Twenty Thousand Hertz, particularly like this last episode, insurance jingles Y, it's really about advertising was really helpful. And I've already listened to like-

Dallas Taylor (12:11):
It is.

Stew Redwine (12:12):
... I don't know, a couple of hours of the audio branding book. It's like seven hours total, I think listening time. And I'm like devouring it. And it's just... I think it- it's a good indicator of like, the time is now. And, and so the note here for chief audio officers, uh, that are listening is to take audio deadly serious. You know, Oxford Road's mission is to grow companies worth fighting for with best in market performance at maximum viable scale. There's a lot of performance in scale and audio, and it's reasonable rates to attempt things with creative. And now with targeting when it comes to streaming, like, you can cook up six different ways of, of doing something and test it against your audience, and have a lot of fun with the creativity.

And it's not just creativity for creativity's sake. It's like everything has been moving in this direction. And again, it's like you are early, like, and like here we are 170 episodes later, and like the timing is really good. Um, and with you being in this space so long, another thing I wanted to ask you is like, even though it sometimes is treated as an afterthought or often has been treated as an afterthought, less so now it's a cool time to be alive and be in audio. Like, what do you think makes a good radio ad? What are some of your ideas for, for the space?

Dallas Taylor (13:24):
There's so much, gosh. I wish that we could almost do like a... I, I couldn't even articulate this, but I wish that there would almost be like the Sixth Sense or like The Prestige or something (laughs) where like you get to the end and the, you have to immediately re-watch the entire thing because it changes the entire tone and story. Stuff like that, uh, stuff I've wanted to do in the podcast really just turn things on its head, get people really en- engaged, and the more that I can make sure that I have people on their toes not knowing exactly what to expect, uh, the better. Because I know that I don't wanna just be something that's just this generic templatized thing.

I would say that I wish we could do more parody types of ads that turn out to be real. I don't have like a specific example, but we've wanted to do more fiction on the show and almost like April Fools type of stuff where you, we have you kind of all along and we always wanna like, we want to ask people like, when did you know this was completely bananas?

Stew Redwine (14:21):

Dallas Taylor (14:22):
And so, we've even gone down paths of, of ideas, of parody ads and, and really just, I wouldn't say poking fun, but more of just like a analysis of the homogeny of ads in general by putting it in a fake show. (laughs) Uh, we know that if we did that show, we probably wouldn't put advertisers on it, uh, because uh, we don't want to ruffle any feathers. But if there was the right partner that was like, "Oh yeah, we want you to do a thing that's bizarre." But with ads, it's, it's always a safety game. Everyone who's paying our bills at the end of the day are the brands. Um, you know, luckily I have subscribers and all this stuff, so we wanna please them, but it always really just what's their bandwidth for playing around? And the, the closer I can have a conversation with brands and really not brands, but a person who leads the charge, that's usually when you can get some pretty incredible stuff.

Stew Redwine (15:11):
I think you made a great point there on in kind of closing that out of, like, you know, really the way to change audio isn't that you and I right now are gonna throw out some incredible idea that somebody could just go execute right now. Like, I think it's that chief audio officer, right? If you can talk to the person that's either stewarding or setting the budget directly, and really start talking about the strategy and the creative and just giving yourself a little bit of time to think.

Dallas Taylor (15:38):

Stew Redwine (15:40):
That you can start coming up with ideas that can break through the sea of sameness. And so if you wanna be on those edges and be memorable, you've gotta carve out some time to do that.

Dallas Taylor (15:53):
I think about doing the opposite of everyone. So, for example, when the pandemic hit, every podcast I loved turned into the pa- pandemic cast or the, like, it was just like COVID cast. Every one of them. And I was like, I strategically went to the team. We all agreed, we were like, we need to be a release, we need to be an out of this constant sameness. Another great example, uh, on the visual side, and I'll get to audio on this. One of the most, the most powerful ads I've ever seen is one that plays a lot on football games. And if you think about the standard ad on football games, it's very bombastic. It's very attention-grabbing, uh, it's very loud. It's very just like, "Hey, hey, hey." You know, just, "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, listen, listen, listen, listen."

But Chick-fil-A did this ad where, it's someone who is deaf signing to someone else. And so, you have loud announcers, you have roar of the crowd, you have a bud light commercial, you have this, you know, loud, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then the entire soundtrack goes to nothing. Every time this ad comes on, I look around the room, 'cause usually if my family's together doing this, every single head turns because there's nothing to grasp onto. And then everyone reads it and everyone like gets completely focused in on it because they did the exact opposite-

Stew Redwine (17:06):

Dallas Taylor (17:06):
... by going silent or quiet. It's just room tone and, and so- someone signing.

Stew Redwine (17:10):

Dallas Taylor (17:10):
With audio ads, it's like, okay, everyone is sounding this certain way. If I whispered an ad or if I had a completely different person talking to, it's just a sonic texture that everyone goes, "Oh, hold on, something is different here. I need to pay attention. I need to unlock a part of my brain."

Stew Redwine (17:26):
Yeah. Yeah. That Chick-fil-A ad sounds incredibly powerful. And in audio, like, what are ways that, that you can do that? Um, 'cause you know, right now I think something you're seeing a lot of is a lot of people are using synth voices.

Dallas Taylor (17:41):
Oh, sure. (laughs)

Stew Redwine (17:41):
Um, and I know, I know before we... You know, you and I had been talking-

Dallas Taylor (17:43):
Its comical.

Stew Redwine (17:44):
... you were like, "I've got a quote from Dallas Taylor right here in my show notes." It was, "Oh, please don't use a synth voice."

Dallas Taylor (17:49):

Stew Redwine (17:49):
Um, but what I, what I want to play for you-

Dallas Taylor (17:52):
How... Okay, can I... I know this is... (laughs) how-

Stew Redwine (17:54):
Go for it.

Dallas Taylor (17:55):
... patronizing that is that to a human? Like, how patronizing is that? Like, step back for a second and, and making a synth voice ad, how patronizing is that? Like, on a fundamental level? But synth voices are the most patronizing thing I can possibly imagine that you could possibly do in audio ads.

Stew Redwine (18:15):
Now we're talking.

Dallas Taylor (18:15):
It's lazy, it's insulting to humans. (laughs) Um, gosh, you got me worked up. I don't, I don't like to be worked up on mic.

Stew Redwine (18:23):
Okay, well, we're gonna play a game. Every week, I get this weekly email from Magellan, and it's like five new advertisers in podcast. And, and one of the things that we track is like, how many of them are live read and how many of them are produced-

Dallas Taylor (18:33):

Stew Redwine (18:34):
... and another thing though, now my head's starting to play games with me. This is for e-bike nomads, it's on Radiolab, you know, publicly available and I'm gonna play it. It's like, I'm like, is this a real voice? Is this a synth voice?

Dallas Taylor (18:46):
Let's, let's hear it.

Audio / Video (18:48):
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Dallas Taylor (19:06):
Okay. It does sound to me like it's, it's a cloned voice, but I will say that NPR style is a very, very specific style. I intentionally because of the way that they do underwriting versus ads. And so there's a very clear way that NPR has to read, and I'm empathetic to that. That's one of those things I wanna be very mindful of. If that is a real performance, not trying to throw that person under the bus, uh, because there's a very specific way that NPR style is meant to be for very good reason. But if it is a AI voice, I would say that there's not any human... It's a very traditional NPR style of read that does not give me any sort of accurate, like, real human emotion. Like, I don't feel like I'm being talked with. I feel like it's a, here is pieces of information you need to absorb, and it doesn't feel emotional to me.

And I think emotion is a key to actually getting to a deeper place in someone's brain. That's one of the things that we tie in with every single, uh, show that we make. What's the key emotion? Because there's information, there's a lot of podcasts and there's a lot of things out there that gives information, but that information can't penetrate deep into someone's psyche without that emotional bridge. And so, we're always going, "What is the emotional bridge that brings this information deeper and long-lasting?" So in this read, I would say you just did all of that. I don't remember what it was about at all. What was the brand? I have no idea.

Stew Redwine (20:36):
E-bike, e-bike nomads. I think-

Dallas Taylor (20:39):
So I think a, a good test is simply going, like, if you wanted to test this on your own, um, is make something like that, play it for someone, and then two minutes later, say, "What was it about?" And if they say, "Ooh, I don't remember," then it's not, it's not working.

Stew Redwine (20:54):
So this is the part of the show, I wanna move in actually looking at real ads, listening to some real ads that we've graded using the framework that we use here at Oxford Road, which is called Audio Lytics. There are nine key components, and 71 subcomponents. So that can, that can sound like a lot.

Dallas Taylor (21:12):

Stew Redwine (21:12):
And, and perhaps it is, we've gone as far and wide as we can to go, "Hey, what are all the components of a persuasive message in looking at everything from like Cialdini's influence, back to Aristotle, uh, Jason Harris's recent work, you name it, uh, Les Bennet, Peter Field?" Like, it goes on, and on, and on, to go, what are all the corners of persuasion in a message that we could look at? And we roll it up, like I said, the 71 subcomponents into nine key components. And I think, you know, as robust as that sounds, it's kind of like what we've been talking about.

You know, we take messaging very seriously. There's a lot to it, you know, and that's why we frame it this way. Those nine key components are set up value prop, positioning, demonstration, substantiation, offer, scarcity, path and execution.

Dallas Taylor (22:02):

Stew Redwine (22:03):
And each one of those can be simply summarized in a question. So for setup, really, we're trying to grab their attention. And that's what I want to talk with you today. And it's interesting from, you know, our work together, that's where you focus.

Dallas Taylor (22:16):

Stew Redwine (22:17):
And it's like, how do we capture their attention and do it in such a way that we tee up the value prop? So for the setup, like the fuller definition of that key component, we're talking about the first thing people are gonna hear in an advertisement is you wanna open with a statement or image that interrupts the target audience's current thoughts and commands immediate attention and critical suggests a benefit to come by remaining attentive to the message, right? And that's where what we talk about is how wide is the pain or opportunity? How many people within the audience have this pain or, or have this, or would like this opportunity? How deeply do they feel it inside of them?

Dallas Taylor (22:58):

Stew Redwine (22:59):
How deep is that feeling, emotion, like you're talking about? How do we make it memorable?

Dallas Taylor (23:03):

Stew Redwine (23:03):
And how do we always critical link it to the value proposition, you know? So a setup could be anything. It could be an explosion, it could be the sound of a whoopee cushion, right? It could be a ridiculous laugh that's gonna get attention, but it's best when we capture attention and we're teeing up the value prop, which is gonna be the very next thing. So what I've got is, I've got a few radio ads. This is using Nielsen to look at top spenders and radio. So a few that we're gonna look at is ZipRecruiter, Progressive, Lowe's and Home Depot.

Dallas Taylor (23:37):
All right.

Stew Redwine (23:38):
These are regular high spenders in radio and we graded each one of these also using the audio lytics formula. But I, I wanted to play them for you, Dallas, and we can kind of do a, a real time review of what we think of these spots.

Dallas Taylor (23:53):
All right.

Stew Redwine (23:54):
Okay, so first, let's take a listen to ZipRecruiter. And this is a, an ad from the last couple of months that's been airing on radio, one of the top spenders in radio. I'll tell you the score after that. We've given it using it audio lytics.

Dallas Taylor (24:07):

Stew Redwine (24:08):
But let's just hear, uh, how they're showing up in audio these days.

Audio / Video (24:11):
Finding great candidates to hire can be like, well, trying to find a needle in a haystack. Sure, you can post your job to some job board, but then, all you can do is hope the right person comes along, which is why you should try ZipRecruiter for free at

Dallas Taylor (24:28):
So let me give you my high end thought here. So you gotta be really careful with like how things are produced. To me, immediately, when I hear the really, really classic voice, I think disingenuous. I think this is why host reads are very important because you already have a host that you trust. I think my number one thing immediately or, that I listen to as I go, if that was simply passed along to the host and the host read it, that would be more effective. That's my hot take. There's a level of, like, disingenuous when I hear very classic sounding voices. If that's... You know, it's like bullseye of classic '90s post reads.

Take that out if that's bothering any, if that's bugging anyone. But that's my first thing is it doesn't feel authentic at all (laughs) because it's, it's like very professional voice. The second thing is I'm already going, "Is this an AI voice?" 'Cause I'm hearing inflections that are just kind of not natural, which then enhance my disingenuousness. And I would actually go as far as to say, with those two factors, me personally, maybe I can articulate this and other people can't. Me personally, outside of the copy, I can't even get to the copy. I can't even comprehend it because there's two factors that already feel like I'm being patronized.

It's the ultra classic safest possible voice im- imaginable from decades ago, coupled with, "Is that AI voice? Are you really gonna like do an AI voice to me?" Those two factors make me, don't even want to listen to the entire ad. So that's my hot, spicy take. (laughs) Um, but I gotta be careful 'cause they've been, they've advertised on our show. But I would say that those are the main things that I have... I- I'm a very, very auditory learner.

I found out recently that I may have some sort of, uh, dyslexia. And so, for example, like, I have an extremely difficult time understanding lyrics and music because my brain focuses on tonalities and shapes and the sounds, big time. So it's very difficult to, like, get to me with words. And so, for me, those words have to be done in the most genuine way possible for me to even comprehend it. Uh, so I'd say right off the bat, there's something about the sound of it that I go, "Oh, I just feel like this is incredibly impersonal." So that's my start. Three things have all lined up before I can even comprehend it, but then we can actually critique the copy. I would say that, what was that very first line?

Stew Redwine (26:46):
That's the question. (laughs)

Dallas Taylor (26:49):
The very first line was something about, like, it feels like hiring is this circus or something like that.

Stew Redwine (26:54):
It's that finding a great candidate to hire can be like, well, trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Dallas Taylor (27:00):
Finding a great candidate to hire can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Um, how spicy do you want this? (laughs) It's the most generic thing that could possibly be said. It would be the type of thing I would say to writers, personally, that I would say, "Frame the intro of this as like kind of the needle in the haystack," argument, but do it in, in something that's not the same way. I'm gonna just... I'm sorry Stew, I'm just gonna completely, utterly destroy this. Was this ranked highly because I'm gonna feel terrible?

Stew Redwine (27:25):
Well, so this is what's interesting about everything you're saying. They're spending a lot of money, a lot of money. This ad has been running for years.

Dallas Taylor (27:35):
I mean, it must be working if that's the case.

Stew Redwine (27:36):
Exactly. So there's a case to be made for generic. There's a case to be made for safe, even though I, I hear everything you're saying, and, and then let... Just so you know, just as a point of reference from a grading standpoint with audio lytics, which primarily is on the structure, not... The last key component is execution, which is how it's being said. But audio lytics primarily is like, "Hey, it matters most what you're saying." And, and a big component of it is structure and making sure you're hitting things. From a structural standpoint, that ZipRecruiter spot's coming in at a 61%.

So there's two or three things that could do structurally that would make it much more sound. But everything you're talking about, while I hear it on this side, maybe on the right side of my brain over here, the left side of my brain goes, "We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars on radio, and this spot I know 'cause I listen and I pay attention has been running for years." So we have to resolve those things.

Dallas Taylor (28:33):
Here's my resolve. I could see a, a world where that would perform well. If you, if you were... If where you bought was very inexpensive and you could inundate like, and it could be repeatable and you could hear it a lot, if you're going onto a premium place and trying to put that, it's not gonna be effective. If you are buying that at a very low CPM, and you can just blast that makes perfect sense to me. So that's, that's the, the financial element, yeah, I would not say that that couldn't work. It would just have to work with the right type of CPMs, and be blasted in the right place. Uh, and also it, it... In that case, I would say if I was the strategy person behind it, I would say there's an argument for like, what is the safest possible spot we can make to just blast that on the, on the lowest cost CPMs? And then that in and of itself could be effective.

Now, I personally would still make different choices. If that's an AI voice, and it's, and it's performing that well, that 61% to me could be 75% if it was a hu- a real voice, or just have some level of character, uh, more, uh, to it, I think it would be more effective personally. Um, the actual copy is fine. I just, again, if that's an AI voice, there's some weird inflections in that there. There... And also, just people who are natural voiceovers, sometimes they can get stuck in the weird inflection mode. So again, I would take that, I would reproduce it, you could say the same copy, but get, get like a handful of different people and be slightly more strategic about pouring these things out there. Maybe it's just not the same thing all the time, but that's my, that's my hot take.

Stew Redwine (29:59):
First of all, I think you're spot on in that if I make it safe and I'm essentially brainwashing or training and you doing radio and blasting it everywhere, trying to find an employee's needle in a haystack needle, in a haystack needle, in a ZipRecruiter needle, in a haystack needle, you know, it's like, yes, this is a big spend, right? Um, so it is doing that. But, like, you could have fun with it. It's like, it's like finding a needle in a haystack and, like, "Hey Johnny, look here."

Dallas Taylor (30:25):
The... Yeah.

Stew Redwine (30:26):
You know, and it's like you could actually just a little bit of touch, like, kind of what you guys do with the stuff we send you.

Dallas Taylor (30:31):
But also, why would you spend loads of money putting something somewhere and put an AI voice on it?

Stew Redwine (30:36):
Well, I don't know if this is AI.

Dallas Taylor (30:36):
That makes no sense to me.

Stew Redwine (30:38):
I think to your point-

Dallas Taylor (30:39):
It may not be, there's weird disingenuine to it. There's not a, like a... It doesn't feel like I'm actually like, a human being is talking to me. It feels like this human being is either reading or it's a, or it's like a clone voice, right? I can't tell. But for me, maybe it's 'cause of what I do, I go, "Ugh, I can't comprehend it." But if I heard that 50,000 times on the radio, um, yes, it would stick.

Stew Redwine (30:59):
It's gonna stick baby.

Dallas Taylor (31:00):
It's gonna stick.

Stew Redwine (31:00):

Dallas Taylor (31:00):
So there's a, there's an argument for just like-

Stew Redwine (31:00):

Dallas Taylor (31:02):
... inundation-

Stew Redwine (31:03):

Dallas Taylor (31:03):
... too.

Stew Redwine (31:04):
Yeah. The mere exposure effect. And actually, the, the thing with the mere exposure effect isn't just that, you know, recall or whatever. It's, it's, it's a, it's amazing. It's... as a human is exposed to something over and over and over, there's liking. You inherently will like it even because of the familiarity. And I think that's just the survivalist in us that the more I can know a thing and feel safe around it, then okay, things are gonna be okay.

Dallas Taylor (31:29):

Stew Redwine (31:29):
So now to take things in a different direction-

Dallas Taylor (31:31):

Stew Redwine (31:32):
... lower audio lytics score. Um, this is an insurance company. Uh, so this spot is Progressive again, one of these, uh, top spenders, um, in audio, um, just behind ZipRecruiter, uh, looking over the last year. Um, so here's the spot.

Audio / Video (31:49):
Progressive is America's number one motorcycle insurer. So we understand motorcycles. No, really? We have a bike translator.

Okay, so this bike says she is struggling with her place in the motorcycle community. Well, she says she hasn't peaked yet, but she's having a little epiphany, okay. Oh, that maybe life is. Life is the peak. Hmm, interesting. In my experience, I [inaudible 00:32:09] I just translate not allowed to have opinions. Got it.

Quote with Progressive and see if you could save with America's number one motorcycle insurer, Progressive casualty insurance company and affiliates.

Dallas Taylor (32:17):
Okay. I like it. It has a lower score on the audio lytics, uh, standpoint. But I understood every bit of that because it was, it was, there was effort and the whole idea of like a, of motorcycle revving up and talking to me. I think the tricky part with insurance in general is just making sure that you associate the funny message with the actual company, 'cause I could have... I could walk away and in five minutes think that was, was a Geico commercial because it just has that real funny style. I think the production on it fantastic. The messaging getting right through to me, I enjoy it. I love the vibe, I love the story. It's well written. How do we make sure that people walk away knowing that it's progressive and not calling Geico? That's the tricky part.

Stew Redwine (32:57):
Precisely. And that's where looking at audio lytics primarily, like in this conversation, let's say as a structural tool, Progressive's coming in at a 50%. So ZipRecruiter was 61% because they're hitting most of the, most of the marks. There's still more that can be done, and and our target score is 90%. It's not actually 100%. Um-

Dallas Taylor (33:16):

Stew Redwine (33:16):
... that's kind of, you know, it's like that's perfection, let's say. And theoretically, you could achieve it, but really 90% is reality per- perfection.

Dallas Taylor (33:25):

Stew Redwine (33:25):
So 61%, you know, there's a few things ZipRecruiter could do, Progressives at 50 because they've made the trade that you just articulated that many advertisers do. I am going to entertain and delight and surprise the things you're talking, these are good things and I'm gonna make emotions come up that are good emotions. And you articulated the trade that's being made potentially is, "Oh, that Geico motorcycle commercial."

Dallas Taylor (33:49):

Stew Redwine (33:50):
Oh, it's Progressive. But do you... Is there confusion because you traded on clarity and there's been times with, uh, one particular case I can think of was with a massive television campaign that we got, uh, the opportunity to work on, where one of the main trades that we made was just... it was essentially 20 sec- 15, 20 seconds of skit-

Dallas Taylor (34:11):

Stew Redwine (34:11):
... at the beginning of the television spot. And we just retooled. And like I said, let's take out some skit. Let's not do a whip around joke at the end, and let's bring in some more clarity. I think that's what could help the Progressive spot.

Dallas Taylor (34:24):
I also think that with Progressive, in particular, they could lean into their name more and, and make the whole shtick that like, "That's antiquated, but we are progressive." Like, if you made like this whole antiquated, like, leaning into something that may, that may feel old-fashioned, or something like that, but the whole shtick was about being progressive, then that whole shtick leans in a lot more. But if you're just doing like a Geico skit, that is a great ad for Geico. Um, I walk away going, "Oh, remember all those amazing Geico ads? I think I'll call up Geico." So it's a little bit of like, that name itself could, should be weaved within the actual campaign, uh, to where you remember the skit as being antiquated yet progressive or something like that. That's my spicy take.

Stew Redwine (35:08):
Yeah. Well, some of the studies that I mentioned at the beginning and then Pierre Boulevard at Cumulus, their chief insights officer, like, there's guide- guidelines about like, "Hey, you need to mention your company name within the first six seconds, which is nice. And then somewhere between four or five, six times, it st- you know, it depends on who you talk to, but you need to be mentioning-

Dallas Taylor (35:30):

Stew Redwine (35:30):
... your company name early and often, uh, particularly in audio. So now, um, one of my favorites, I have to say, is the Home Depot.

Dallas Taylor (35:40):

Stew Redwine (35:41):
Um, I wanna listen to one of their spots as well. They're also a regular top spender in radio and they do something really well, and they've done well over the years, which is, you know, they've committed to Josh Lucas from Sweet Home Alabama as their voice for the large part. And, uh, then they've got a brand anthem. They actually have a song that is recognizable as the Home Depot brand anthem. And so, I wanna play their spot. And this one of the group of everything that we looked at, um, these four spots, this scored the best at a 70%.

Dallas Taylor (36:13):
Sounds good.

Audio / Video (36:14):
By now. You know that sound, it's the sound of the Home Depot. But what about those sounds? Those are the sounds of a new Frigidaire kitchen suite complete with the latest technology to keep food-

Speaker X (36:26):
[inaudible 00:36:26].

Audio / Video (36:26):
... fresh dishes clean and cooking needs met for all families making this the sound of savings on top brand appliances. The Home Depot, how doers get more done. Get up to 25% off select appliances, including Frigidaire right now. Offer valid February 9th through March 1st, 2023 US only C store online for detail.

Dallas Taylor (36:43):

Stew Redwine (36:43):
Oh, ah, you know that habit that that song had a whole moment on TikTok?

Dallas Taylor (36:50):
Oh, I didn't know that.

Stew Redwine (36:51):
Oh, it's, it's, it's awesome. There's like videos of, like, dads getting out. Like, my dad, when a traffic accident happens, (laughs) and like he puts on his like glowing vest that he has in the car, which I'm a dad and I have those in my cars, and he's like directing traffic.

Dallas Taylor (37:04):

Stew Redwine (37:05):
Like, he's not a cop or anything. And that song boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Um, anyway, that one got a 70. And, uh, primarily for, again, like, like anchoring this around, you know, structurally this one was really solid. It's hitting a lot of those points, but what, what's your take on, uh, the Home Depot spot?

Dallas Taylor (37:27):
You know, I was talking a lot about how visual ads don't think a lot about the sound, it's more of an afterthought? Well, a lot of times, the same thing happens in audio, where audio thinks so much about audio, but it doesn't think about visual or other senses. What's brilliant here is that the copy is opening up the mind's eye so you can see what's being said. So it's opening up a brand new sense. It's like, this is the sound of this. I... My immediate reaction is I then see that in my own home or in my own world or in just, you know, whatever I wanna see. And I just love that it's painting a picture. And this is something we talk about a lot on Twenty Thousand Hertz, it's like painting the picture of someone being able to put themselves in that actual world.

So, uh, that was the thing that jumped out immediately to me was it gave me a visual component. Even though I was talking about this is the sound of this, this is the sound of this, but it immediately like put me in a, in an actual physical location in my mind that I could see, you know, you could even take that further and talk about smells or, or things. I think that invoking other senses in copy is a really strong way to pull someone in a little bit more. Um, the other thing that music, uh, I love that, that it's kind of like pared, but it's something that's been continually played. It's like has that brand equity, uh, something that a lot of people, um, don't think about is like familiarity new copy, but using that in multiple places, whether it be on TV, or radio, or podcasts or uh, Instagram ad or whatever, it's gonna make a cohesive feel.

And I know, like, with music like that, I'm sure that the inspiration was, was some sort of brief that said, you know, it needs to feel rugged. You're getting your hands dirty, you know, you're excited for the new things. Like, you're trying to... You're gonna be building something. You know, that feeling about like, you know, accomplishment of building something, sonify that. So I could see the brief, like, of what that would be for someone, for a composing team, uh, but then reusing it and to a point where you get excited about it. And if it's, you know, shrending on TikTok, then you're doing something consistently. Meanwhile, it's tough to bring in a new chief marketing officer, and if you bring in a new marketing officer, they're like, "I need to put my whole spin on something," and change things. Sometimes just continuing down that path, uh, brings, brings recognition.

Stew Redwine (39:39):
So, okay, so Home Depot, you feel good about that.

Dallas Taylor (39:41):
I like that one.

Stew Redwine (39:42):

Dallas Taylor (39:42):
It's effort. It's like production. It's like you have a tea- a very thoughtful writers, you have very thoughtful sound designers, musicians, every aspect of that is showing respect to the audience.

Stew Redwine (39:54):
Well, and it starts out with, you know, a- as far as, you know, again, looking at these from the setup standpoint of like, what's the very first thing? So with ZipRecruiter, we had finding great candidates to hire could be like, well, trying to find a needle in a haystack. Conceptually, we agree that's a-

Dallas Taylor (40:07):
I like the copy-

Stew Redwine (40:08):
It's a good-

Dallas Taylor (40:09):
... on ZipRecruiter.

Stew Redwine (40:10):
Right. And it-

Dallas Taylor (40:10):
I don't love the, love the audio.

Stew Redwine (40:11):
We don't love the execution, but the line, you know, and from an audio lytic standpoint of saying, "Hey, does this grab their attention and lead to the value prop?" Like, yes, technically it does. Executionally, could it be better? Yes, but could conceptually in a really efficient rate, if I can inundate people with it, it could work. With Progressive, that opening line is Progressive is America's number one motorcycle insurer. So we understand motorcycles. It's a presumptive claim. It's saying something about myself. Is it-

Dallas Taylor (40:37):
Ooh, presumptions. I don't like that. That's a good thing to say. It's something I ma- I bring a lot up when we're doing copy, is like, don't say something about the audience. They may don't say anything like, "Have you ever been curious about blah?" And I'm like, half the time, most of the time they have not been curious about it. That's our job to make them curious about it. (laughs) So the presumptuous factor is something that I always am super phobic.

Stew Redwine (40:57):
Yeah, yeah.

Dallas Taylor (40:57):
Just like, ugh, don't presume.

Stew Redwine (40:58):
Yeah. I feel like the presumption in that statement is Progressive is America's number one motorcycle insurer. I love that.

Dallas Taylor (41:03):

Stew Redwine (41:04):
I think first, best, greatest, largest. There's a 2,500 years of persuasive thought behind social proof. Like, like that is important to a human being to know that-

Dallas Taylor (41:13):

Stew Redwine (41:14):
... this isn't poison water because all the other humans are drinking out of this watering hole, right? Um, or this is the-

Dallas Taylor (41:20):
I would like it better if they said something about, like, had something antiquated and been like, we've been there, but we've been, you know, we've been there because we've been there for all of these years. Uh, like something that ties the name Progressive into it, uh, differentiate it from a Geico ad. Like, to me, this sounds like someone went, "You know those Geico ads that are so good, let's do that." And I think that you gotta be careful. You gotta have your own spin, your own flavor, otherwise, you're kind of just advertising for Geico. That's the way I think about it.

Stew Redwine (41:47):
(laughs) So they're set up, "Progressive is America's number one motorcycle insurer. So we understand motorcycles. We're like-"

Dallas Taylor (41:52):
No, that was good. Yeah.

Stew Redwine (41:53):
It's, it's okay. You know, now Home Depot, uh, I think they did a couple of things well here, you know. By now, you know that sound, and that's the sound is the song that's playing. And I think it's safe to say that, yeah, that's, that's the case. They've spent a lot of money in radio and, and we do know that sound. It's also walking the line though, it's a little presumptuous. Um, it's the sound of the Home Depot, but what about these sounds? And then it invites you in to begin using the theater of the mind.

Dallas Taylor (42:22):
You know, what's amazing about Home Depot? Home Depot, what I really like about it is, I don't really remember it already, but I- I'm thinking of all the projects that I wanna do, and it gave me the feeling that I like to have when I'm doing those projects. I'm thinking of a Saturday morning, a crisp day when I'm like, you know what? I'm gonna go to the Home Depot and I'm gonna grab some of this stuff and I'm gonna spend my weekend tinkering and building. Just from a sonic standpoint without any... If you couldn't, even if you took that and put it into a foreign language, and you can understand it, it gives me all the vibes of that positive weekend of just building something. And that is the thing that lingers with me is, is it gives me... it speaks to my feeling, to my emotion of what it's like to feel like making and, and improving my, my surroundings.

Uh, even beyond the copy, and then if you actually get into the copy, the copy's great. And so, um, so I don't know, just it's kind of telling to me like the subtle commentary with the Home Depot, uh, just sonically is, "Hey, you know how much you love getting wrapped up in a project that you will enjoy for years to come? We're gonna enhance that. You go do it, you go feel it." Like, "You... We're gonna give you a little feeling of that weekend right now in this 30 seconds," and then hopefully that spawns my action on a Saturday.

Stew Redwine (43:33):
Absolutely. And you know, they've got the song, they've got the voice, how doers get more done.

Dallas Taylor (43:39):

Stew Redwine (43:39):
Uh, get up to 25% off February 9th through March 1st.

Dallas Taylor (43:44):
Speaking to everything.

Stew Redwine (43:44):
You know, it's all of these things where it's so, okay, so Dallas Taylor feels good about maybe you wanted to do a raised garden bed, or, you know, paint one of your kids' rooms or whatever. Those are still anchors in your mind. And it's created, it's created a sense of urgency. And like you said, it's that emotion with that driving song of like, this is how I feel when I'm doing a project with, you know-

Dallas Taylor (44:09):
It's all positive.

Stew Redwine (44:10):
It's very positive.

Dallas Taylor (44:11):
You could flip that, and you could make it negative. Be like, "You know that lingering project that's just been bugging you for months and months and months? Well, it's time to get that done." Well, all that does is just make me feel crappy about myself. It makes me feel like, ugh. But everything about that ad just makes me go like, "You know what, it's time to do it." Like, it's time to like go do something, and I'm gonna have fun doing it.

Stew Redwine (44:30):
So right now, Home Depot's the winner on setup and has the highest audio lytic score, at 70%. Last one we wanna take a look at from high spenders, um, in radio is a Lowe's spot. I think, you know, in comparing Lowe's to Home Depot, Lowe's market Cap is $133 billion. Home Depot's market cap is $346 billion. When we looked over the past year, Lowe's is actually out spending them on radio. Lowe's has got a larger YouTube audience. And yet, I think what we're hearing in Home Depot is they're doing so much from a sonic branding standpoint and their messaging, I think there's opportunities for Lowe's to improve their messaging. All right, so here's a, here's a Lowe's spot.

Audio / Video (45:13):
Lowe's always has more ways for you to save. On top of our everyday low prices, pros can save big when buying in bulk, or if your purchase is over $1,500. Ask about our volume savings program. A pro associate can provide a customized quote, ask about our volume savings programs today. It always pays to be a pro at Lowe's. While supplies last. Minimum purchase required. Selection varies by location. Lowe's reserves the right to limit quantities. Volume discount pricing quotes are valid for seven days. Visit your local pro desk to learn more and start saving. Offer subject to change, may not be available in all those stores.

Dallas Taylor (45:41):
Oof, okay. Um, yeah, there's a lot to that.

Stew Redwine (45:44):
11 second disclaimer, by the way.

Dallas Taylor (45:46):
Yeah, that's a lot. Um, so first things first, I will say one of the things that I have strongly discouraged, always in any form is having vocals in music playing simultaneously to an actual voice artist. Uh, they occupy the exact same space, and it's trying... Um, I know why people do this. They're trying to squeeze-

Stew Redwine (46:07):
Hold on, hold on. Let me just-

Dallas Taylor (46:08):

Stew Redwine (46:08):
... clarify. Let me just clarify. I- it may be abundantly clear to everyone listening. In the Home Depot example, it is instruments only, and a voice actor.

Dallas Taylor (46:17):
It's very clear.

Stew Redwine (46:18):
What you're talking about is a song with singers-

Dallas Taylor (46:22):
Happening while-

Stew Redwine (46:25):

Dallas Taylor (46:25):
... someone is talking-

Stew Redwine (46:25):
.... a voice while someone is talking. Okay.

Dallas Taylor (46:26):
And so, if I'm picking it apart from a s- from a production standpoint, what the... I think it's saying like, "Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready?" What's, what they're trying to do is they're trying to squeeze you... And you can even prove this in how much copy is here. They're trying to squeeze so much information into a small box. Now, one thing you cannot do, you cannot h- divert vocal attention. And I know when things get squeezed and you're trying to squeeze more and more and more into a box-

Stew Redwine (46:52):

Dallas Taylor (46:52):
... what you're trying to do is like, "Okay, what's the next thing we can do?" "Well, we can also put the call to action in the yells in the music while the person is talking." It's chaos. Like it... Like, first of all, cut the, "Are you ready?" While someone is speaking. You can't understand two people speaking to you simultaneously. Anyone that has children and two kids come up to you and ask for things simultaneously, will understand that.

So right off the bat, like there's a faux pa happening here. And this is something we we'd never do in our show, and it's something we talk about a lot, is that don't put vocals on vocals. Uh, that is just classy and it's messy. So as someone who just thinks such an auditory learner and understander, it makes it chaos. The second thing that I would criticize with this is that it's wall to wall information. There's no breaks. So one of the things when I'm talking about Twenty Thousand Hertz as an arc, you know, our show is about 25 minutes long. But if you listen to it, you can time it and you could say... Uh, you could probably find between 15 and 30 seconds on average, you're gonna hear a change in sonic texture.

Uh, the reason for that is because we all have short attention spans, and there needs to be a change, a shift that's always happening. So what I mean by that is, the change in sonic texture is gonna be either narration to dialogue. Dialogue to another person of dialogue, or another person speaking. Um, dialogue, music, start to dialogue. Dialogue, music, start to voiceover dialogue, music ending to voiceover. There's... You could literally time our show and you're probably gonna give it about 15 to 30 seconds on average of a sonic change happening. It'll be a downbeat might happen between lines, but there's always something that's, that's grabbing your attention.

Stew Redwine (48:32):

Dallas Taylor (48:33):
Uh, Home Depot did that beautifully. It was just like start music, line, sound effect, line, you know, something something, something, something, line. The Progressive one did that as well too. It broke up the ideas to give you time to think. This happens all the time in ads, where it's just like, how much information can we squeeze in a short amount of time? Meanwhile, I completely gloss over, uh, because it's just so much. And then 11 seconds of disclaimer at the end. That's a lot. Uh, and it's one voice the entire time.

Now, the things that I like, I think tonality, it's cool. I think you cut those, those chants in the middle. That's a cool thing. I love the voiceover. I just think that sounds, I just love the performance. It feels very genuine to me. It feels very new and fresh and I would say, but break that stuff up. Um, one of the things we love to do with ads is even have people from the companies, uh, do interviews with them to where we can actually, instead of me saying it, like let someone else say it. Uh, I would say for me, going back to that original question that you were talking about of like, what are these, the things that you wish you could do more of? I wish I could put real human voices from companies onto these ads more.

Stew Redwine (49:39):

Dallas Taylor (49:39):
Even if the agency did it, you know, here are like select sound bites from the founder.

Stew Redwine (49:43):

Dallas Taylor (49:43):
Because if you can hear from a founder that's so powerful, uh, their voice and when their conviction, so personally, if like I was on the Oxford side, I would be like, why don't we... You know, when we kick something off, why don't we record the conversation with the founder, uh, of what they want? They're the ultimate decision maker anyway. It doesn't matter how many people are in line. Like, they're gonna be the one, if they're speaking to millions of people, like they're gonna, it's gonna hit their desk. Why don't we do a conversation with them and get their passion? 'Cause if I could extract that passion and stick it onto something where it's just like... I'll just let you know so-and-so, you know, say that and you hear their conviction, there's a reason why they care about this.

That's something I'd love to hear more of. And when we do large partnerships, we do quite a few like big partnerships. We've done it with Sonos, Bose, uh, Sure. Um, we have a bunch coming up. I'm always demanding, like, give me their voices, even if it's one bite. It's like you actually know that there's a human being behind this whole logo and this brand. And if I can pull that emotion and that passion through, that's ideal. So that's something that I would say I'd like to hear a lot more of.

Stew Redwine (50:45):
Yeah. And it's good to hear you say that. You know, I mean, through the years here at Oxford Road, we've done over 50 founders spokesperson spots-

Dallas Taylor (50:51):
Yeah, so powerful.

Stew Redwine (50:52):
... for that very reason. I'm wearing a hoodie right now for Moink, Moink Farms, and Lucinda is the spokesperson for her spots because of everything that you're saying. It's everything that we've been talking about. And I also think it's one of the most engaging... You know, as we're talking about the setup, the first thing that's being stated when that's a real person and perhaps immediately sharing right from the heart, immediately saying some sort of statement that links to the value prop that's like, I started this company because of X, Y, Z, or nobody likes it when X, Y, Z happens. That's why I A, B, C. And it's like-

Dallas Taylor (51:25):
Why did our generation go to Wendy's? It's 'cause of Dave Thomas.

Stew Redwine (51:28):

Dallas Taylor (51:29):
A real human founder. And then we kept going to Wendy's 'cause we wanted to like-

Stew Redwine (51:32):

Dallas Taylor (51:33):
... oh, Wendy's his daughter. And like, oh, this. Now the whole thing is a, who knows what is happening.

Stew Redwine (51:38):
(laughs) What happened to Wendy's?

Dallas Taylor (51:39):
It was such a pure brand early on. And you went there because it was like this warmness. And this me as a 7-year-old goes, "Ooh, I like him." He, you know, he seems like he'd make a good hamburger and he's talking to me. Uh, uh, you know, I feel like I felt a connection when I was seven.

Stew Redwine (51:55):

Dallas Taylor (51:57):
Founders are super powerful and I don't think we use them enough.

Stew Redwine (51:59):
Yeah, I don't think so either. And I think that that's something that we've done to great effect here, particularly when launching a brand in audio. And, and, um, one of my kind of bedrock pieces of persuasion is Aristotle's rhetoric. And, you know, he talked about pathos, ethos, and logos. Pathos and logos is sort of where we've landed. Like, post-industrial revolution post 20th century, you know, right and wrong polarization. Everything is black and white, so it's emotion or reason.

Dallas Taylor (52:26):

Stew Redwine (52:26):
And it's like, wait, he had a third thing in there.

Dallas Taylor (52:29):

Stew Redwine (52:30):
And that was ethos and it was on equal footing with emotion and reason and it's trust.

Dallas Taylor (52:35):

Stew Redwine (52:35):
And that, like, you as a host, that is incredibly powerful, right? My family, the people that are closest to me, and when it comes to audio, those people are inside their bodies, right in their ears. That that intimacy and that trust, that when that is levered, that is huge.

Dallas Taylor (52:55):

Stew Redwine (52:55):
And that's what comes through a dimension of that is what comes through with the founder's spokesperson. But okay, this, this has been an amazing conversation. We've gone a long time and I'm, I'm grateful, Dallas, you've spent so much time with this. So as far as the Lowe's spots goes, wrapping it up on the, on the audio roundup here, it got a 50% in audio lytics again. You know, primarily that's structure. You know, I look at that disclaimer at the end, disclaimers aren't all bad, but it's a lot of time. You know, it's 11 seconds in the spot. So you go, that's a lot of real estate. Are we sure that legal? Did we give that legal everything they wanted? Did we really negotiate to go, "Hey, what's the difference between saying there's like three sentences, I won't read them all and then visit your local pro dress to learn more and start saving?" Are you telling me that we couldn't say terms and conditions of appl- apply, visit your local protest to learn and more and start saving?

Like, couldn't that envelop all those other statements? I'm not sure. But if we could give up more real estate, we might be able to get more substance in there. As far as an opening line goes, Lowe's always has more ways for you to save on top of our everyday low prices. Pros could save big one buy in bulk. It's very clear. We can't knock them for being clear. Um, Progressive, Progressive is num- as America's number one motorcycle insurer. Okay, these are statements we're making about the companies, um, and we're just gonna blast them with a whole lot of frequency. I think Home Depot and ZipRecruiter, as far as looking at the setup goes, they both actually took a swing. Um, so I really think it's a bake off between, between ZipRecruiter saying finding h- great candidates to hire can be like, well, trying to find a needle in a haystack.

And then Home Depot's by now, you know, that sound, it's the sound of the Home Depot, but what about those sounds? And then it, and it goes into the spot. Between those two, purely on setup, and even kind of setting aside how they feel necessarily, just purely on the setup of those opening lines, what, which one tip, tip the scales for me? Does it go to ZipRecruiter or does it go to Home Depot?

Dallas Taylor (54:54):
Oh, Home Depot, for sure. At least the way that my brain thinks.

Stew Redwine (54:57):
There you go. All right. We have a winner.

Dallas Taylor (54:59):
And I can tell you, as someone who works with agent, who has been working with agencies forever, through those ads, I can hear the pressure behind it. I know what funnel led to that ad, and I can do a quick little recap. ZipRecruiter you said was kind of swinging for the fences.

Stew Redwine (55:16):

Dallas Taylor (55:16):
And that makes sense. So they were like, "Okay, we're gonna just blast like all over the place. Perfect sense. Okay, well we make a very, very safe ad." There's an argument for not even putting music in it because you don't even want associate, uh, someone's musical preferences if you're gonna blast it massively. So it makes perfect sense that they did exactly what they did. Um, Progressive, uh, to me, it seems like they have a very open company of like, giving creative is what they... like. Go be creative, like, do your thing. Uh, we really love humor, but just be super creative.

But where there's a weakness is how do we put our positioning, how do we weave our positioning through the actual skit? And I think that there's something there with antiquated, like we've been doing this since motorcycle sounded like this, to now Progressive. Like, there's something where we really have to like bang the actual drum of the actual word progressive more. Home Depot, uh, to me sounds like they have an absolutely phenomenal creative team behind it, uh, on all fronts. And that to me, that's a super high budget, uh, on all fronts. They're getting the absolute like no holds barred talent, which I think is smart if you're gonna blast those ads in a million places, spend money with incredible creatives to do that.

Lowe's, to me, feels a little bit like the production was just a lot less. It was a lot more of just like, bang it out really quick and you gotta hit all these points. So to me, that's pressure on, like, one or two people. Home Depot seems like it's like this very big group effort of getting the best of everyone. Lowe's seems like it's a very tight funnel of pressure for, um, to get a bunch of information, make sure we hit every legal, and make sure like just, you know, all of these check, you know, check boxes are done and do it as fast as humanly possible.

I think if you open that up, how much money you wanna produce into the Lowe's things, it comes from a place of like, I'm... That Lowe's a sounds paranoid to me, with 11 seconds of, of legal. So those are my, those are my hot spicy takes. Um, but yeah, Home Depot, to me, is just the best of every category.

Stew Redwine (57:11):
Best overall, top audio lytics score at 70%. And an interesting setup in that it's leaning into the fact that it is an audio ad by now you know, that sound, it's the sound of the Home Depot. But what about these sounds? These are the sounds of a new Frigidaire kitchen suite. It's leaning into audio. It's got my attention and it's directly linking now to the value prop that in general is Home Depot, and then in specific is that you're gonna get 25% off. Well, the value prop is the appliances and then that the offer then also is linked directly to it as well. It's very single-minded of 25% off select appliances for a limited amount of time. So well done. Home Depot, thanks for, um, taking a listen to all those with us, Dallas, and, and giving us your spicy takes.

Dallas Taylor (57:57):

Stew Redwine (57:58):
And thank you for joining the Ad Infinitum podcast where we discussed audio advertising and breakdown audio ads like we just, uh, did. I'd say we lived up to the episode title, Starting Right, wouldn't you?

Dallas Taylor (58:11):
Oh, this was so fun. I could do this all day long.

Stew Redwine (58:13):
And as listeners, if you've got aspects of audio advertising you'd like us to discuss or suggestions for a guest on the show, um, or want to be a guest, please email creative. That's O-X-F-O-R-D-R-O-A-D dot com. And until our next episode, remember to have fun making the ads work, like this amazing Joe Porter rendition of the Home Depot beat, played only with items from the Home Depot.

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