Your one stop shop for all your radio commercial cliché needs

Steve Williams takes a hatchet to radio advertising’s worst clichés.

(Headline): Your one stop shop for all your radio commercial cliché needs


(Body): You could always tell them to get *****d…


Not the ideal course of action obviously, but for a writer it is very tempting.

Sadly, the Creative Department is somewhere towards the bottom of the radio station food chain, possibly just above production. I mean that in the nicest possible way. For example…

Thursday 6.27pm: “Maaaate…You gotta write three different 30 sec tracks for this new client to start breakfast tomorrow. They’re spending heaps. The client is on their way in to approve and voice them. Onya champion.”

The account executive / sales rep / client-facing relationship liaison guru / buzzword du jour is by now enjoying his or her tenth glass of Merlot (cliché alert), while you and production have to attempt to weave some sort of instant magic.

Obviously most sales types are not like that, I’ve worked with many brilliant people over the years that totally get it. They realise the end product would be substandard, the ads wouldn’t work, and the client would be burnt by radio, unlikely to return. Nobody wins.

Still, even the above scenario is no excuse to (seriously) use any of the following godawful clichés in a radio commercial. You will recognise these from having them cruelly seared into your auditory canals as a listener, or being forced to insert them into a commercial by a sales manager or client with the imagination of a prawn.

In absolutely no particular order, with bonus appropriate responses…

“All your (whatever) needs” — I don’t have any needs… that you can help with anyway.

“Thinking (insert product here)?” — No, no I’m not. So do I have to listen to the rest of this?

“One stop shop” — The cliché to end all clichés (cliché alert). I’d rather sauté my scrotum than use that in an ad. Unless you’re mercilessly taking the
p*** out of it (the ad, not my scrotum).

“Located at… (address)” — Oh, so that’s YOUR address? I would never have guessed. Lose the “located at”.

“All roads lead to…” — No, actually they don’t.

“They have all the best (whatevers) under the one roof” — as opposed to seven?

“Tonight at 8.30pm.” — Thanks for clarifying that.

Client voiced ads — No. Their ego needs stroking? Get them some lotion.

Ads obviously voiced by station “talent” that say “we” — Unless the drive announcer is moonlighting as a car dealer, no.

“Family owned, Australian business…” — So if it’s run by a single Swedish person you shouldn’t shop / eat / drink / whatever there? Xenophobia much? Hopefully a very high-rating, high profile metro AM station has a drinking game with using this one. It’s very popular.

“Hello Beryl, that’s a nice (Wankel rotary engine), where did you get it?” — Pathetic conversational ads, sometimes nauseatingly described as “slice of life” are the work of Satan. Nobody EVER speaks like that. If you have a gun to your head, maybe try and gently take the proverbial out of it. Or ask them to pull the trigger.

“Wankel Rotary Engines R Us” – Difficult, the client has chosen a business name that sucks… see above option.

“Call us on (phone number).” — as opposed to? Unless the phone number is the only way to buy the product or makes up 90% of the jingle, lose it.

“See us at (address).” — Lose the horrific first few words.

“Check out our website, www.(whatever).com” — Ditto and lose the “www”, it’s not 1993.

“Are you in the market for…?” — Nope. Now what?

“Open seven days a week…” — Oh, so you mean every day?

“Don’t forget to like us on Facebook.” — No. You’re my proctologist.

There are no doubt many, many others, but I‘m feeling extremely nauseous having endured this lot… “Thinking nausea….?”


Steve Williams was born in the shadow of the Big Merino – a large, rather attractive concrete likeness of a sheep in an Australian country town. Having survived that gruelling experience, Steve headed for the media, and is still there after 30 years.

Steve is a communicator – working in print, radio, television, the music industry, digital media, PR and as a voiceover and actor. Swill Media contributes words and images including features, travel stories and columns to international magazines, newspapers, websites and corporate clients.

For a serving of Steve’s stream of conciousness words, visit

©Steve Williams 2014

Typing Hands photo from Shutterstock.

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