Sunday, November 13, 2011

Radio Commercial Fail

Take a quick listen to the embedded video, and do it with your eyes closed.

Voice made for magazine ads


Does anything stand out to you? Did you catch the part about 50 fragrances, the exclusivity to the Bay, or the new trailer for the Gucci fragrance? My guess is that you were just focused on the sound of the woman's voice.

The woman in the ad is Bonnie Brooks, and she is the current President and CEO of the Bay. The Bay is Canada's largest merchandise retailer. Mrs. Brooks is an extremely accomplished executive who has worked in many senior positions including in marketing for the world's largest retailers. 

To be honest, I don't have much experience with radio commercials, but I have heard enough of them to know when one stands out. And this one does, but for the wrong reason. Her voice.

Am I the only one who thought her voice was just not made for radio? I decided to go where I always do when I have have a question of critical importance... Twitter. Here is some of what I found:

Needless to say, these people are not very positive, but there were some positive tweets as well, like this one:

You might be thinking to yourself, people are only going to comment on Twitter if it's negative. Well, that's not the case. I looked at ALL the tweets that came up for 'Bonnie Brooks' since the start of November. Here's what I found:
  • 11 - Positive
  • 13 - Neutral
  • 50 - Negative
Out of 74 tweets, 67% of the people commenting on Twitter were negative. What am I trying to say here? These radio ads are having a negative impact on the Bay's overall brand.


I can fully appreciate why a company would use their CEO on their ads. Apple built it's brand around Steve Jobs and look how that turned out. A leader of a company can express the company's voice to the market and can appear as a celebrity in their own right.

The problem is, not everyone was made to do TV and Radio commercials. There is something to be said about hiring talent to do voiceovers or acting. These people just have that certain something that makes your advertising to the next level.

One thing could have saved this commercial from ending up on epic marketing fails is testing. With tools like marketing automation and Twitter it's much easier to gauge how your audience is reacting. The Bay commercials with Bonnie Brooks have been going on for years now. A quick search on Twitter could have shown how their market was reacting.

I really respect what Bonnie Brooks has done for the Bay. Making it a more upscale department store and leveraging the great name that the store has earned over 341 years of business! [Sidenote: That is a long time! I knew they have been around forever but I didn't know it was THAT long]. I hope I am half as successful in my career as she is. I also hope that they figure out another, better way, to leverage their CEO, and leave the radio ads to some hired guns.

This is too good not to share:
Bonnie Brooks impersonator


  1. Hi, just a moment back I was searching for the information On Radio Commercials and now I am here. So much information, really well executed blog. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks

  2. Her voice makes me want to kill myself. the most boring voice ever!!!!

  3. I turn the radio off every time she comes on. Have for years. Even the kids yell "turn it off Mom"! That voice does not belong on the radio.

  4. We have to change the radio every time she comes on the radio. Shame we never listen to what the deals of the day are. Hope the Bay is getting their marketing money's worth!

  5. You are definitely not the only person...Yes radio ads may just not be the right fit for Bonnie Brooks...not only voice, but intonation and convincing messaging as well. Bonnie I am sure you are an outstanding executive, but radio ads are not your thing - please please... leave this to the experts in the field.

  6. It's the one time I change stations super fast...the most annoying voice ever...tried to listen once to actually hear the message...only lasted 15 seconds! Are they that oblivious to the overwhelming negative feedback?? Leave it to the experts is the thing to do.

  7. I always change the station as soon as I hear her very annoying voice. Smoke another pack of cigarettes Bonnie Brooks. ugghh.

  8. Way before I searched "Bonnie Brooks' Voice" on the net, I always thought her voice was grating. It's like an annoying munchkin telling you how to dress (trends).