Ad Infinitum

Why Now?

December 19, 2023 Stew Redwine Season 1 Episode 6
Why Now?
Ad Infinitum
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Ad Infinitum
Why Now?
Dec 19, 2023 Season 1 Episode 6
Stew Redwine

Ad Infinitum is the only podcast solely focused on audio ads - the creatives who make them and/or the latest thinking that informs them, how the space is evolving, and a round-up of recent audio ads and analysis by Stew Redwine, VP Creative at Oxford Road, and each episode's guest.

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.

Amanda DiMarco, VP of Client Success, at Veritonic, is the guest for Episode 6: titled "Why Now?", with a conversation focused on the power of Veritonic's platform and Audiolytics™ Key Components #6, 7, & 8 "Offer, Scarcity, and Path".

Why should the listener take action? By when? And where do they need to go? In short, Why Now?

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

Ad Infinitum is the only podcast solely focused on audio ads - the creatives who make them and/or the latest thinking that informs them, how the space is evolving, and a round-up of recent audio ads and analysis by Stew Redwine, VP Creative at Oxford Road, and each episode's guest.

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.

Amanda DiMarco, VP of Client Success, at Veritonic, is the guest for Episode 6: titled "Why Now?", with a conversation focused on the power of Veritonic's platform and Audiolytics™ Key Components #6, 7, & 8 "Offer, Scarcity, and Path".

Why should the listener take action? By when? And where do they need to go? In short, Why Now?

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.

Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hit it.

Stew Redwine (00:01):
Ad Infinitum is the only podcast-

Speaker 1 (00:02):
[inaudible 00:00:03].

Stew Redwine (00:03):
... solely focused on audio ads.

Speaker 3 (00:04):

Stew Redwine (00:05):
And creatives who make them and/or the latest thinking that informs them, how the space is evolving and my favorite part, a roundup of recent audio ads, ad campaigns, and analysis by yours truly, Stew Redwine, VP of Creative Services at Oxford Road and each episode's guest. This episode is titled, Why Now: Discussing the Audiolytics™ Key Components: Offer, Scarcity and Path. Why should the listener take action? By when? And where do they need to go? A note on these three Audiolytics™ key components is that they're primarily focused on advertising messages that require immediate action. If the time horizon is longer, not all of these components need to be optimized. But, that's always the question, is time horizon. When do I need the listener to take action by?

John Caples says in the fifth edition of Tested Advertising Methods, "You must filter every aspect of the advertisement through this question: What argument would make you part with good money in order to buy the product or service you are advertising? Would a great offer move you better than any offer available anywhere else? Would knowledge that the offer has an element of scarcity to it drive you to act? Would knowing exactly what path to follow to take advantage of the offer be the thing that induces you to purchase?" Yes, yes and yes.

The offer gives more than just a discount. It is everything from an unique discount to something free, a guarantee or any other kind of incentive. Like a 1773 tea ad that read, "Excellent, good Bohea tea. Imported in the last ship from London, sold by Theo Hancock, NB. If it don't suit the ladies' taste, they may return the tea and receive their money again." Scarcity is the most persuasive when it is real. For instance, when running a test campaign, make an offer that is the best available anywhere and make it truly scarce. It will only be offered through a specific date or perhaps it is tied to a seasonal event, like Father's Day.

Another way to talk about scarcity is limited supply and the path. Where must the audience go to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity? The goal is clarity above all else. Tell them exactly where you need them to go and what you need them to do in the simplest way possible. If you can shorten a URL's name, do it. If it needs to be spelled, spell. If you're asking them to go to a URL and enter a promo code, at least make it easy. But the goal is to ask the listener to take as few steps as possible, and that includes keystrokes, actions or even things they have to remember.

When it comes to offer, scarcity and path, don't be quick to dismiss the power they hold over your cash register ringing. If you don't have an offer or scarcity and have a convoluted path, you have hobbled your message. It may still connect emotionally. It may still give the audience a fond recollection of your brand when they hear it again some day. But if you need to make the cash registers ring, especially as you test out a new channel, then you must include all three.

This episode's guest is Amanda DiMarco, VP of Client Success at Veritonic. And we've had the pleasure of working together on a handful of campaigns. In fact, we have some creative that's testing currently in the Veritonic platform. So, welcome to Ad Infinitum, Amanda.

Amanda DiMarco (03:03):
Thanks, Stew. This is a really exciting one to be a part of.

Stew Redwine (03:05):
I'm so glad that you're here. So, a little bit about Veritonic. Veritonic is a comprehensive platform that provides independent and wholistic audio data and analytics. It is trusted by leading brands, agencies, like Oxford Road, and platforms around the world for full funnel audio optimization and measurement including NPR, SiriusXM, Acast, Sports Clips, The New York Times, Indeed, Shopify, and more. Like I said, we've used it on a number of campaigns. We're using it right now. And what I love about Veritonic is it has a Veritonic audio score, and that's a common metric, like Audiolytics™, that gives you a universal way of assessing and talking about podcast ads, radio ads, streaming ads, audio logos, you name it.

Veritonic is powered by machine listening and learning, trained through years of analyzing audio files, correlating them with second-by-second human response data and predicting response. And we're going to be using the predictive scores from Veritonic along with Oxford Road's Audiolytics™ scores to analyze some audio ads in this episode. And Amanda, can you break down the difference between the type of scoring Veritonic offers and what we're going to be using today?

Amanda DiMarco (04:11):
Taking it back to the history of Veritonic, there was a need to put data against making decisions for audio, whether it be music, or audio ads. Historically, folks would would sit in a room, they'd use their gut, or their experience, or the opinion, but there was no definitive way to understand what was performing better and why. So, for over eight years, Veritonic's been testing all forms of audio. Audio logos, music, podcast episodes, audio ads. And the audio ads is what we're talking about today. So, over those eight years, we've been able to gather a tremendous amount of targeted audience human response data that's given us a really robust set of benchmarking over across 35-plus different industries, whether it be podcasts versus radio ads, retail versus CPG, English versus Spanish.

And it's really helped enable companies to answer the simple day-to-day questions. Is my ad set up for success? How is my ad performing against my competition? Which of my ad variations will connect with my audience the most and drive intent? So, over these tens of thousands of assets that we've tested, we've also been able to develop predictive score, which you mentioned, through machine listening and learning, that gives an instant prediction of our ads and the audio files based on their sonic DNA. So, without going, you know, too far into the core methodology of it, that's what we're going to be talking about. How can you make a quick decision based off of, you know, consistent performing elements of an audio ad that you have data around and know that you're putting your best foot forward before going into the market?

Stew Redwine (05:40):
Yeah. It's a, it's a fantastic tool. It's evidence-based marketing, like you said. You know, transitioning from the madmen era of going with the creative genius or perhaps the most powerful person in the room, what have you, to, uh, is there evidence, is there something that we can look at objectively to help us inform this decision? And it could be nuanced. You guys look at different verticals. Or like the study that you just put out. Uh, Veritonic just put together a study about holiday ads and that's very much related to what we're talking about with offers, seasonality, promotions, all the parts that are in, you know, the Audiolytics™ key components of offers, scarcity and path, or the CTA, the call-to-action. So, in that study, I really enjoyed going through that. What are some of the big trends that you saw?

Amanda DiMarco (06:21):
There's been really interesting elements to come out of it. And, you know, one thing that we focus on in our testing is removing the bias, right? Using a bunch of different questions and metrics to help identify the inert reaction to content ads. In this specific study, we actually kicked it over to the subjective opinions of listeners. What are they looking at? What are they looking for? You know, and a few really interesting observations came out of this holiday study. More than 56% of monthly audio and podcast listeners surveyed will rely on the ads they hear on podcasts to get gift ideas for themselves, family and friends. So, using audio ads to help keep not only a brand, but their competitors, right? Top of mind is something that consumers are looking for.

76% of US respondents who regularly listen to podcasts and streaming audio expect hearing ads with discount codes. And I think this one's actually really interesting, because if we think back to how podcasting and podcast advertising started, the early, earlier days were host word ads, there was always a promo. There was, uh, you know, a very specific promo tied, you know, put in the show name or my name for a discount code on the website. And that very direct to consumer promotion, if you will. And now that we've gotten into this world of programmatic and advanced technology, dynamically inserted ads, there's a lot more opportunity and variation in ads to be placed and to be created. And I think the dynamic shifts a little bit. But, what we've done is, I think we've led consumers to expect it, and we're hearing that from their response, that over three quarters of them want to hear those discount codes.

Stew Redwine (08:01):
Exactly. I remember talking with you before the show about that. That was such a great observation of, like, it's something that is part and parcel with this channel, especially in the early days. And then you look at a statistic like this, you know, 76% are expecting to hear some kind of offer during the holidays. I mean, that's exactly what we're talking about, right? What is the call-to-action? Is there a special offer? In short, why now? Why do I need to take action now? So, with no further ado, are you ready to jump in and review these ads?

Amanda DiMarco (08:30):
Yeah, let's do it. But before we even jump in to listening to them, I think there's some really interesting elements at play that sometimes are forgotten when we think about creating ads. I get asked all the time, "What's the best practice for a podcast ad? What should the voice be? Should I use music? What should the length be?" But we can't take a blanket approach to creating podcast ads. We can't even necessarily say that a podcast ad is the same as a radio ad. The real big reason behind this is, not all ads are created equal and not all brands are created equal. The needs of the consumer are not equal across all these. Ads cannot all have the same best practices.

And, you know, what's super critical is for brands and the creators behind it to understand these factors and be able to influence and speak to audience purchase behaviors, product barriers to entry. What is the cost of our product? What are the purchase cycles, right? Because all these different factors will require a different element or level of information to be shared with that consumer. You know, we're talking a lot about retail in these examples and we're jumping into it, and most commonly, these retail brands and these industries have [inaudible 00:09:41] industry awareness. We know what a retail company does. We know highly, you know ... Most brands that play in that space. So, because the awareness is already there, you don't necessarily have to spend as much time explaining what that product does, explain the differentiators, explaining the why behind each one of them.

And we find that, you know, in retail, for example, you can work with a shorter ad. But when you think about B2B for an example, or you think about another industry or brand where, "Okay, I need to speak to a limited audience. I need to explain what this product does," so now not only am I explaining what this product does, why is my brand different? What are my competitive advantages against others in this space? And why do you need my product? All of that needs to be curated in a very well-received way. And that is very different than, you know, QSR. Again, in retail, where it's like, "Here's a reminder of who the players are and like, hey, I'm tapping into to say, you know, remember me versus other of that top of mind."

And that's something that I really want to level set folks on, you know, specifically even as we're listening through these ads is, really pressure testing what needs to be explained in these ads and those will help guide those best practices. And, you know, some of them that we've really seen that do [inaudible 00:10:55] standard, you know, not to say that everything has to be a one-off scenario and analyzed, always brand mentions early and often. We have, you know, a tremendous amount of studies that say four times on average is, you know, the perfect spot. If it's less in a shorter ad, that's great. You always want to do it more than once. If you start brand mentions more than four times, it plateaus a little bit. You know, in podcasting, music plays a different role. Historically, in radio ads, music needs to grab your attention because you're driving, or you're, you know, listening in a space.

Podcasting is much more intimate, so it's about the message and connecting. And, you know, we don't see that podcast ad necessarily. It moves the needle, but doesn't hurt it either. So, it gives you a lot more flexibility to play. One thing that is super, super important in podcasting specifically is authenticity and authenticity is key. Especially with a host-read ad, consumers can hear in your voice if you're reading a script and if it's not a genuine recommendation, that can often hurt the ad more than it is benefiting it. And there's been data that really, really specifically, it's one of our key Veritonic emotional components, and we see really strong correlations with authenticity, relevancy, and trust as tying directly to intent. And I think that is, you know, just a really, really important reminder here in this space.

And the other thing is, uh, sonic branding. So, that is something that has really been evolving I'd say in the audio space recently. A lot of brands are investing for the first time or re-investing in tweaking their classic audio logo or sonic branding, whether it be, you know, if you were to listen to a Home Depot ad and traditionally they've had, you know, their consistent pneumonic that's played throughout the, the ad. But, you know, brands also have that end jingle, right? The short couple second melody at the end that represents that brand. And specifically within podcasting, it doesn't show as frequently or often as it does in TV or radio ads.

But in, you know, a study that we did with Audacy a few years back, it supported that placing your sonic branding in podcast ads specifically boosted recall scores by up to 14%. So, all of those, you know, no matter the industry or the brand, are core, critical elements that will set any ad up for success. But I do think those are, you know, really important and interesting factors to pull out before we even dive in here.

Stew Redwine (13:11):
Well said, Amanda. Well said. You have already given our listeners plenty to focus on to help improve their audio ads. So, thank you for that. Let's get into these. So, we're going to be analyzing the top spenders in the top 100 podcasts from the Veritonic platform. And let's go with the first one we've got here is, Bed Bath & Beyond.

Speaker 5 (13:33):
Your dream home just got a little more real. Bed Bath & Beyond is back with more to love than ever before. At the new Bed Bath & Beyond, you'll find the products and brands you know with styles for every room and budget, along with a huge selection of furniture and décor, all in one amazing online store. Download the new app today and get a 25% off coupon to celebrate our grand reopening. Plus, get free shipping right to your front door. Welcome to a bigger, better beyond.

Stew Redwine (14:03):
All right. So, that is Bed Bath & Beyond. First one. Amanda, why don't you give me the score, how that's relative to the scoring system in Veritonic, and then what your top level observations are.

Amanda DiMarco (14:15):
Yeah. So, that ad scored a 64. And we look across a bunch of different metrics against the Veritonic audio score, which is an average of attributes, recall, intent and engagement. And all of them have their own metrics behind it. What I can say is that 64 scored well above the retail benchmark, so from a checkbox element, that did perform rather well at the top end of a handful of other retail ads that we have here in the system. What stood out most about this is that it actually, the highest recall score at 61, and also it's considered the most energetic and powerful, which I think could easily be heard and picked up on.

I think a few elements that stood out to me in this ad was the inclusion of their sonic logo. Again, the energy was very high in the ad. The brand was mentioned early and it was mentioned often. And there was that really strong call-to-action of, "Download the app, get the 25% off." There's free shipping involved. And calling action that this is the new Bed Bath & Beyond, it was able to really capture a lot of different information in a way that was still easy and digestible for a consumer to respond to.

Stew Redwine (15:20):
I'm right there with you. I mean, just my personal reaction to it, I love a funky bass lick. So, I was in it. I love it. I'm grooving along with it. And from an AudioLytic's standpoint, it did very well. It scored an 84%, because of all the things you've mentioned, like structurally, it's there. It's clear. So, this is a strong, strong one coming right out of the gate. Let's jump into the next one from one of my favorites in audio, the Home Depot. Here we go.

Speaker 6 (15:48):
When the holidays come to town, so do your friends and your family. So, get to the Home Depot for everything you need to tackle those easy projects to prep your home for the holidays with up to 40% off select online bath for your project. Get your bathrooms guest-ready with a modern Glacier Bay Tobana vanity, or an Oswell faucet in mat black with free delivery on all online vanities and faucets at the Home Depot. How doers get more done.

Stew Redwine (16:16):
Bed Bath & Beyond had a Veritonic predictive score of 64. Where is Home Depot standing?

Amanda DiMarco (16:21):
Yeah, this one was pretty close. And I think to call out ... I don't know if, you know, folks recognized it while listening, that this was a host-read ad. And that 62, you know, is also rather strong. They didn't include their classic music, which is really interesting for Home Depot. I think every other ad that you hear has that deep guitar entry. And I think most folks can probably even play it back in their mind. But, what this ad did have was intent of, score of 73, which was the highest of these four ads and was the most authentic and the most unique. So, going back to those best practices we talked about, here's data yet again, you know, correlating a highest intent score and a highest authenticity score. And I think this is the perfect example of, you know, a host having a genuine read.

And I think, you know, something that's really interesting about how this ad was laid out, it was, you know, a very smooth read by the host. You couldn't really tell she was reading off a script until you got to some of like the really strong descriptors of, "The modern Glacier Bay Tobana vanity." Or they're ... You know, if a listener is listening rather closely, they might be able to pick that up, but I still think it was a rather well-read ad. Home Depot was mentioned, you know, really fast within the first five seconds. And all together, the score supports the strength of this creative.

Stew Redwine (17:40):
All right. So, the Home Depot came in at 74.1% on Audiolytics™, which is tracking along there with Veritonic, right? It's lower than Bed Bath & Beyond. I think, again, you know, everything that you're calling out, it's important to note it's a host-read ad and, you know, this is from podcasts. So, we give it that credit of going, you know, we're listening to these things without context, so to speak. But in the context of the podcast, knowing and recognizing that that's the host, even though we do encourage, you know, people self-identifying or saying something to personalize it a bit more. That it's not just relying on recognition of the host's voice.

But, this is, you know ... There are opportunities where this could be stronger from the Home Depot, especially looking at offer, scarcity and path. I mean, there is an offer there. It is tied into the holidays. They do, you know ... Are talking about the fact of, at the Home Depot. They used their tagline, "How doers get more done." So, you know, it's strong. But kind of like you were saying, it's like, you know, you're used to the guitar lick and all this stuff. Like, in a host-read ad, you know, could that be something? Tying back to that study you'd mentioned early on, 14% improvement using a sonic branding. Could they figure out a way to incorporate even with hosts some kind of sound effect or some aspect of the song? Like, would that actually help this be even stronger because there's so much weight behind that? So, so far we're tracking right along. Let's take a listen to the next one.

Speaker 7 (19:08):
Football's back. And Whole Foods Market has everything you need for a delicious tailgater watch party. Level up your game day hosting with marinated chicken wings, chicken sausages, hotdogs and more. Headed to a friend's house? On the way, grab crowd-pleasing snacks from Whole Foods Market, like Late July Tortilla Chips and Primal Kitchen Queso Dip. And don't forget the beer, very important. Just check out that local selection. Elevate game day with Whole Foods Market. Must be 21-plus. Please drink responsibly.

Stew Redwine (19:39):
All right. Amanda, wow. That's a really football-y voice. What did you think of that one, Amanda?

Amanda DiMarco (19:45):
I think you might be the next voiceover for Whole Foods over here. I think you called out a, you know, really interesting element of that ad. So, overall it scored a 60 on our side, so it was still above benchmarks, had strong recall. But we actually saw some of our emotional attributes start to dip a little bit. You know, I think it's a good call out here, because the other strategic element about creative and audio ads that we didn't talk about earlier is, how many different creative variations is optimal in any one given campaign? And when you think about this ad specifically, you know, I think it was definitely directed towards a very unique audience and had we tested this against a, you know, specific human audience and panel, we probably would start to see some really strong differentiators in how females scored the ad versus males, or those that are, you know, really interested in football versus those that are not really interested in football and the intent that would be driven to Whole Foods.

But, there is a strategy in play there when you can optimize your audio creative to speak to small buckets of audiences in a more optimal state. And when you put those all together, you're actually hitting and speaking to a greater dynamic and a greater pool of listeners versus just using one ad that maybe hits a moderate, average level. So, I think this ad did have a lot of the core elements to it. Clear CTI, you know, "Pick this up on the way to your friend's house." It had a personalized state that had something that was very relevant to the listener, they spoke to a need. State, which is always super important in the messaging. And, you know, there's a disclaimer at the end, and that's actually something that is a little bit of a debate in audio.

It's something very traditional in TV, when you're talking about specifically prescription, or pharma brands, or financial brands, or like w- this one, you know, speaking about alcohol. And I know a lot of folks are hesitant to include the disclaimer, uh, thinking that it might negatively impact the ad. But we actually have a lot of data behind the scenes that show that disclaimers don't negatively impact the ad. It doesn't necessarily, you know, add to it, but it's something that is a need and a necessity for that brand to advertise. And it's okay because the brand's message and the value in this scenario specifically and when well done, is able to be given, you know, quickly and efficiently before you get to that disclaimer piece. So, no need to fear that disclaimers, they don't always hurt the ad as long as, again, that ad was done right.

Stew Redwine (22:21):
All great points, this one. So on the nose with this voice coming right in, "Football's back." It's like, "Okay. All right. I'm trying to connect with a specific audience," like you're saying. From an Audiolytics™ standpoint, you know, really looking at the substance of the message. This one scored at a 78%, so a little higher than the Home Depot, but not up there with Bed Bath & Beyond, because it does have a lot of clarity. Like, even in listening to you, you know, talk back through it, it's like, it's clear what they're looking to communicate. Again, though, from an offer, and a scarcity, and a path standpoint. Path, you know, okay, yeah, you want to go to Whole Foods. You know, "Elevate your game day with Whole Foods." Like, is there power in changing that with to an at? Those little word choices.

I was just listening to the latest episode of Nudge, Phil Agnew's podcast about behavioral science, and it was all about ... The entire most recent episode is all about the difference of switching from one word to another, like the difference of when you're asking somebody to do something, what should you do versus what could you do? And that should tends to shut people down and narrow their choices, could tends to open them up and they become more creative, right? So, in this case, I look at that, "Elevate your game day with Whole Foods Market," elevate your game day at Whole Foods Market. You know, could that make a difference, changing that word right there when it comes to the offer, scarcity and the path?

And I think it's interesting like thinking through, you know, offer or scarcity, like, okay, there's a moment in time, right? Like, what's a temporal landmark? Like, Daniel Pink talks about like, "When's this moment?" "Headed to a friend's house?" Well, that's scarce, right? Because you're going to do that in time and it, it will happen. There is a sense of some scarcity there of going, "Hey, make sure you do this before you head over to your friend's house."

Amanda DiMarco (24:05):
You bring in that psychology play to it, you know, talking about words in this instance, it's a big factor when you talk about the discount or, really, what it comes down to is the perceived value to an individual. And going back to thinking about the industry [inaudible 00:24:21] and thinking about the product, thinking about the barrier to entry. Going to Whole Foods, right? That's a small, typically a smaller investment, if you will, for a product that you have an immediate need state for. So, often you can get away in this example, right? For not really giving a high value offer, or, you know, even a dollar off, or percent off, or a buy one get one free offer, because you're speaking to that need. You know, it's interesting, before I came over to the audio industry and Veritonic, my career was in consumer pricing and promotions.

And what we tested is, you know, at a grocery store, at a retail store, online, "What is the best way to give a perceived value? Is $5 off the same as 25% off, the same as buy two get one free?" The actual value or the actual discount may be the same, you know, to the tee, but consumers would react differently based on their perceived value. So, if it was a high, you know, barrier to entry, high purchase price, you know, a product that was $50, $100 and they saw a, you know, save $10 coupon, there were much higher opportunity to react to that, even though it was only a 10% discount. And that's a really big reality to take into consideration here is that psychology plays such a big role in the need and the perceived value. And you're seeing that specifically on scarcity and path here.

Stew Redwine (25:44):
Exactly. It's a cool time to be in marketing where, you know, behavioral science is coming to the forefront. This evidence-based stuff is coming to the forefront, where it's like, sure, it's not rocket science, but there are things that we can observe and then data that we can collect that help us make the most informed decision on why we're making the ad this specific way. All right. So, we've got three ads so far, Bed Bath & Beyond, the Home Depot, and Whole Foods. Right now, our champion that had both the highest Audiolytics™ score and the highest Veritonic score's Bed Bath & Beyond. So, let's see if maybe Macy's unseats them. I don't know, let's take a listen.

Speaker 8 (26:22):
The seasons are changing, so make sure your wardrobe is keeping up. Macy's has everything you need to add to your style, not overpower it. We're talking about their must-haves, like flirty fall dresses, tall boots, or faux leather jackets that you can add to any of your favorite looks for a fresh take. Just check out to stay updated on all the ways to bring your vibe into the new season. Plus, shop the way you want. Pick up in store, use curbside pickup, or order with same-day delivery to make your life easier. Head on over to for more details.

Stew Redwine (26:53):
All right. So, how did Macy's do, Amanda?

Amanda DiMarco (26:54):
For us, this one scored a 58. So, a little bit lower than the others. And again, Bed Bath & Beyond was a 64 against the Veritonic audio score. And, you know, this one was the lowest on attributes. It was the lowest on recall. Now, still above benchmarks, but, you know, one thing I see here is the energy was scored lower [inaudible 00:27:13] so a little bit more of a relaxed tone. Which doesn't always mean a bad thing, but it's definitely an observation. And one element that stood out to me here is, you know, there wasn't a promo. There wasn't a value. It, it spoke to making your life easier and I think that definitely can resonate with some folks.

But I also think this ad might have, you know, a little bit more challenge grabbing the attention of, "Okay, what was it again that I need to get out of this ad?" Macy's is interesting, right? Because, you know, like other retailers, there's often some type of promotion that's always happening, so, you know, how do you stay present and top of mind in between those, you know, big holiday events or, you know, the big friends and family savings? So, I do think this was a, a great way to fill the gaps of an ad, or, you know, a campaign space that keeps Macy's relevant, top of mind against its competitors, but is, you know, still speaking to some of those brand awareness metrics, right? Around, you know, high favorability or high awareness that [inaudible 00:28:14] had a play in.

Stew Redwine (28:15):
I like what you said there, Amanda, where it's like, it's hard to remember, right? Like, even within seconds of listening to the ad. It also had the lowest score in Audiolytics™ at, uh, 66.7%. So, lowest score Veritonic predictive score, lowest score in Audiolytics™. And that's something as we do more episodes of Ad Infinitum and bring in experts, you know, like yourself, or different methodologies, that we see they tend to track together to go like, you know, it's good to get different views and different ways of looking at the creative. And we all can recognize when it's stronger and more potent and more persuasive, and when it's not quite there. But it's so helpful to have the score and have the data to back it up. But, in this case, you know, it is tying into the seasonality, but like, it's funny. It's Macy's, there isn't an offer.

And, you know, when I think of Macy's, I do think of some sort of discount or something like that. The path, it is a specific URL they're asking you to go to. You know,, to stay updated on ways to bring your vibe into the new season. And then at the end, they say, "Head on over to for more details." They don't use that again. So, they only mention that, in my book a little bit longer custom URL, one time. You know? So, there'd be an opportunity there for more clarity. But when we look at all four of these together now, so we've got Bed Bath & Beyond came in with a 64. Home Depot at a 62. Whole Foods at a 60. Macy's at a 58. Is that the same way you would rank them? Would you stand behind those Veritonic predictive scores?

Amanda DiMarco (29:50):
I would. And, you know, there's two parts to this that are always critical. There's understanding how your ads do to a gen pop. You know, if you're going to a listener base of a podcast or you're targeting, you know, something at a low level, you do want an ad that can speak to a bunch of different demographics, or behaviors and interests. But, they ultimately with any one of these ads, and like we talked about with the Whole Foods, when you really want to understand how this ad is going to perform against a core audience, or have the opportunity to really optimize the strategy and use multiple different ads with multiple different voiceovers and call-to-actions and messages and really understand how does that speak to millennials, how does that speak to an older demographic, how does that speak to, you know, someone who's interested in football versus not.

That's where really taking the opportunity to test against that core audience with some of the work, you know, that you're very closely familiar with, Stew, from the Oxford Road side, that's where the true optimization really comes in. But, at surface level, 100%. I think, you know, just even if I went to listen and understanding what these retail brands are trying to accomplish, this, this feels right to me.

Stew Redwine (30:59):
I think so too. And it's like, just thinking back to them, I'm like, I still feel good about the Bed Bath & Beyond spot. Like, I can remember the bass lick (singing). Like, it, it makes you feel good. It's clear. I think to your point about audience, it's like, it's a general message that's done well to the general audience. The Home Depot one, and then from an offer standpoint, it's strong. 25% off coupon and I have to specifically get the new app to get that, right? So, from offer, scarcity and path standpoint. And they throw in, they sweeten the deal, they throw in some free shipping. And then next down in the scoring, it's like, you know, the Veritonic score followed exactly the, the order of the ads as we went through them.

You know, with Home Depot, it's like, I feel like this was kind of laced in with your answer, as like, you know, "Yeah, it was Home Depot, but man, it didn't feel as Home Depot as, as other spots do." So, it gets points for being a host-read ad, but, you know, there was definitely opportunities for it to be stronger. It does have the 40% off offer, so from an offer standpoint, it's still there. But it did not feel as distinct or as engaging as the Bed Bath & Beyond spot. And then Whole Foods is so specific, which really you, you bring up a great point. You know, this is specifically talking about football, we're pushing to that audience. Like we said, there's maybe some word choices stuff you could do different.

Maybe they could throw in some kind of offer, but they- they've got the scarcity built in there in the sense of, "Hey, I'm tying this to something that you're doing that's going to happen in time, and so you need to take this action." And then, at the bottom of the heap, we've got Macy's where it just didn't feel terribly memorable, but to your point as well, I think it's an impression. And it's mentioning Macy's and it is tying itself to the season. But there are definitely opportunities for the Home Depot, the Whole Foods ad and the Macy's spots to be stronger, while Bed Bath & Beyond is our clear winner of this episode.

Amanda DiMarco (32:56):
I definitely agree. The consumer wants to have perceived value, a sense of, "I won. I got this great deal, or I got this item that is not widely available to all." And in whatever way marketers can do that in advertising, I think that's the sweet spot right there. And it's this type of language that you play around with and, you know, the importance of testing at the end of the day, because it gives you a sandbox environment to say, "Okay. What is it that's actually, you know, capturing the consumers' attention?" And you think about the creative environment that we're in with inflation and, you know, just cost-savings.

Retailers likely aren't in the place to do as much promotion, you know, perhaps as they had historically. So, what is it that can recreate a perceived value, perceived need and still be effective, but allowing them a little bit more of that flexibility? And that's the ongoing challenge and what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. But how to stay abreast by, uh, what consumers are looking for, the desires that they have, and ultimately, what's going to make them take action.

Stew Redwine (34:02):
Very well said. Yes. It's being friendly with reality and looking at the ad, listening to the ad, looking at your Veritonic score and accepting, "Oh, I got a 58." Or accepting, "Oh, I got a 64." Or my Audiolytics™ score and then going, "Okay. Well, that means I could do this or that to improve it, or because of the brief and the brand are our decisions, maybe that's not where we want to go," right? It's not one size fits all and none of this is prescriptive to me when we're analyzing ads and talking about them through whatever lens it is. It's descriptive and just going like, "Okay. We're going to accept this is where we stand. Do we like where we stand, or do we want to change it?"

So, thank you, Amanda, for joining Ad Infinitum where we discuss audio advertising and break down audio ads. This week with a focus on Audiolytics™ key components number six, seven, and eight, offer, scarcity and path. If there's anything else you would like to say, Amanda, to the chief audio officers listening as they're working on their promotions and their offers, do you have any parting words of wisdom? You've already given us so much, that you'd like to leave the listener with.

Amanda DiMarco (35:05):
I'd say, just don't be afraid to push the envelope and learn and reconnect with your audiences and consumers to check back in and have the opportunity to understand what works best for you, how it works all together, and being able to put data behind it to help guide it is going to be in your best interest, your best efforts. It's another tool in your toolbox that really helps create that success that you're looking for in any given promotion or campaign.

Stew Redwine (35:33):
Yes. And Veritonic is a very powerful tool. So, thanks again, Amanda. And for you listeners, if you've got aspects of audio advertising you'd like to discuss or suggestions for a guest on the show, or want to be a guest, please email That's C-R-E-A-T-I-V-E at And until next time, remember to have fun making the ads work.

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