Flex Radio Systems advertisement

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, especially those at FRS. I know this will not be met well by some, apologies in advance for that. My idea is this. FRS hire an advertising firm to come up with a new ad campaign for QST (and the others).  I'll try my best to be kind here. Your current ad, featuring someone's pride and joys, is...well....goofy. I figure it was cute and novel for about a week. That was over a year ago.

The 6000 series (and its predecessors) are, and were, outstanding radios quite worthy of serious consideration, even for those of us that hate Microsoft Windows. How can prospective customers take the radio seriously when the front door to FRS is (way) less than serious? It's not comical, it's kind of seriously not happy.

I am sure for the parents and aunts and uncles of those two boys, it's a cute ad. For everyone else, it isn't.  Everybody, or most everybody, on this board want FRS to be wildly successful as well as the 6000 series. A new ad campaign will help.

With a tip of the hat and a fond Merry Christmas and 73,

Walt - kz1f

ps. In the northeast (US) there is, what some consider, a mountain for skiing in the winter. Mt, Wachusetts. Their ad to garner more skiers has always been a jingle with the words (to music) "WA....WAWA Chusetts". Insanely stupid and that got a very vocal opposition. I think it is either just shy of or just tops 3,000'.  49.5% of the listeners who hear that jingle cringe ever single time. I think when they took the vote someone had their finger on the scale. I know of no one who goes there because of the jingle.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Posted 3 years ago

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Burt Fisher

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The goal of advertisers is not to entertain you, it is to sell the product. On Cape Cod Thompson's Clam Bar for years had the most irritating jingle. I worked at WOCB and we got lots of complaints. But the restaurant was remembered and they were in business many years. The fact you remembered the Mt, Wachusetts jingle shows it was effective. Can you tell me the Loon Mountain or Killingsworth jingle? Amazing you know 49.5% cringe at the jingle. Generally entertaining ads do not do as well as irritating ones. 
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Walt - KZ1F

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Burt, compare/contrast the FRS ad with the Alpha Amplifier ads or Promethius ad. The one with the brick I wouldn't consider entertainment, more like serious fricken amplification. I remember the ad because it along with their other ads proved the place was managed by kids who never grew up.  I know what ads are for, my wife spent her career in marketing and advertising. Thanks for your advice. My idea stands.
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Burt Fisher

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My daughter is in upper management, I am a teacher. She knew me over 30 years as a teacher. She would never claim she knew the teaching profession because she lived in my home for many of those years. My idea stands.

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Walt - KZ1F

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Fair enough Burt, then I guess I just know more about advertising and marketing than you do. You did not have an idea. You simply attacked me.

Thanks again for your input.
(Edited)
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Burt Fisher

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I also worked in commercial broadcasting for 15 years. I saw what was effective and what was not. But I guess you learned more at the dinner table than I actually in the place of employment? I also have over one million views on my You Tube videos, unlike others smarter than I but not as good as "selling" it. When Flex calls you, let me know.
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Chuck

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I've heard that argument before. Seems like more of an excuse for a bad ad. The problem is that an ad might associate a bad feeling with the product. I don't see how that helps. The fact that the restaurant was successful may well have been in spite of the bad ad and could have been holding them back from greatness.
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Alan W4FBI

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I'll have to mostly agree with Walt, The ad is a little corny (and getting old, now)..

My .02

Alan
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Jon W1JDB

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To be fair here, an Advertising Agency and creative development are costly. I know, been there and done that. Tightly targeted advertising is even more expensive and the results are hard to measure unless you hire the Agency to do sales tracking, metrics, etc.

I'm thinking that the majority of Flex sales are driven by word of mouth from users, technical articles, the tradeshow booth and associated technical seminars.

The advertising in QST and other locations, in my opinion, is to be seen and counted more than make sales. The ad does the basics of who Flex is, what they sell and what separates them from the other manufacturers. If Flex was absent suddenly from QST and/or didn't take space at a major Event as they have done in the past, tales of Flex's demise would arise immediately.

I agree that at some point Flex will need to do better advertising targeting their primary market and to keep the news of continued growth and product offerings top of mind. Dare I say a PR department...

Spending that money now in trade for slowing development and getting the current customer base and interested potential buyers a platform V1 that is truly stable and at the bleeding edge of Amateur Radio would likely cost them some "bad PR" which would certainly offset any additional incremental sales at this point from better advertising.

I believe the tipping point will be the release of V2.X. Flex will then have additional targets to market to; early adopters, switchers and first time radio buyers.

And to those that have time to read the above musings on the day of Christmas Eve (whether you celebrate this holiday or others); I wish you all health, happiness and good radio,

 

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James Whiteway

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I guess. It's the kid in me, but "I" like the current ad. But, then again, I don't make purchasing choices based on logos and ad imagery. Instead, I base them on peer review and a LOT of research and questions. ( just ask the FRS guys, including Gerald, how often I bugged them while deciding on a 6300)

In other words, the image of two kids having fun, did not sway me in either direction. Facts and knowing if the 6300 would meet MY needs and expectations is what did it for me.
And so far, the 6300 has met, and exceeded my expectations.
YMMV
James
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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I doubt anyone spent $8000 on a linear amp because they liked the brick in the Alpha ad. The ad doesn't generate sales, it generates interest. What generates sales is Rob Sherwood's opinion, ARRL Labs opinion, and yeah, maybe some fanboys opinions as well. But an ad feature Aluminium foil hats with propellers on them doesn't make me want to put $8 large on the table. It doesn't take a NY Ad Agency, it takes a serious ad for a serious product at a serious price point.
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Jon - KF2E

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I'm not sure that in a narrow market like amateur radio advertising plays a very large role. That said...Flex advertising dollars would probably get more mileage sponsoring DXpeditions or even contest stations. If you are going to do print ads maybe show a big gun contest station endorsing Flex. How about an ad showing Sherwood's receiver rankings with Flex sitting at the top?

Just some thoughts...

Jon...kf2e
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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How cool is the FRS ad that the ad itself generates this sort of buzz? 

I'm partial to the rascals and for my 2-cents I think they should start having some "radio adventures" using their FRS SDRs!! 

Maybe even a modern "Carl & Jerry" sort of thing?  https://k9zw.wordpress.com/tag/carl-and-jerry/ 

Great to see the buzz still rolling...

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Godspeed!

73

Steve

K9ZW

BLOG "With Varying Frequency" at http://k9zw.wordpress.com/


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Burt Fisher

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One of the most effective ads was a full page ad for Baxter's Fish and Chips, set in the in the smallest type possible," Baxter's Fish and Chips."

We carried this ad 200x per week 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iAm6mTbbKk

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Walt - KZ1F

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Wow Burt, you just aren't letting go are you? Stop it. If you question the value of ad dollars for Ham Radio gear just count the number of ads in an issue of CW or QST for Alpha, Kenwood, Yaesu, MFJ, and Icon. The only ad you'll see with aluminium hats and propellers is FRS.

Oh Howard, you 'ol Daug, I hear tell you wrote the book on it. And yes, it was cute the first time, more than a year later it's old and dumb, IMHO. Ya know, it's Christmas Eve, it was an idea I haven't felt strongly enough to mention until tonight. Some agree with me, some not so much and Burt wants to attack me. Why don't we all just put a ribbon on it and call it a day.
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Burt Fisher

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Stop it? I did not know you were the moderator here. Are you? If so I better comply.

(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I know absolutely NOTHING about advertising but I am pretty good at selling.....

Personally I get a kick out of the cute ad....I have used it a few times in presentations and it always gets a good laugh...  
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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T'was the nite before Xmas and all thru the house not a creature was stirring except for the kids wearing the aluminum colandars...

With Propellers a twirling they wished all a good nite...
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Mike - WB8CXO

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Hiring a professional ad agency is just plain expensive. That money would be best spent on software! These are SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIOS that have a hungry appetite for software which must be constantly developed long after the radio is sold to keep customers happy and attract new customers. The real issue is cost. Flex radios have seen a renewed interest because the 6000 series has driven the cost of 5000 and 3000 series to a point where they compete with high end entry level radios. Most hams want the best bang for their buck and Flex can't do that paying an ad agency tens of thousands of dollars for fancy advertisements. If you listen to the talk on the bands it's all about the software... the updates and getting SmartSDR to the point where new buyers will buy new radios. Too many folks are saying "don't buy a 6000 series flex cause the software is no right yet". We don't need that. The overseas competition is killing us with lower priced equipment but what most folks don't realize those radios still run PSDR. So Flex Radio MUST develop the ABSOLUTE BEST SOFTWARE that will attract new sales!
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Walt - KZ1F

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Mike, you last hired a professional ad agency when? There is a catch 22 here that you actually mentioned, new sales. Net new sales start with net new interest. Interest is generated by eye catching, compelling ads. That won't make the sale but that will make the click through. For any company to spend more money on product, they have to have net new sales. And for new sales, well, that won't come from the folks on this board, folks already in the bubble. Just count the number of ads Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom, MFJ have in any given issue of QST, CW, or the other lesser know pubs. If they didn't generate sales they wouldn't do it...right????? BTW, there are way more people that disagree with Darrell than would agree with him. You attract them in through compelling ads. When one does that on the cheap it shows and doesn't work. With that, I am done with this conversation.
(Edited)
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darrell montgomery

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only a few words needed
"If you don't have a Flex your no where"
Merry Christmas to all!

k5wid
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Steve W6SDM

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There's a reason why people spend years in college to get marketing communications degrees while some of us studied electronics or engineering.  Most of the marketing guys I know are challenged by the task of changing a light bulb but they are really good at getting people's attention.  Most of the engineers I know don't do real well at mass communication.

Sometimes that's all an ad is designed to do - get attention.  It doesn't tell you anything.  It's void of relevant content.  It just gets you to look, recognize, and remember the product and company, and move on.

Another type of ad, an image ad, just tells you the company is a nice guy or the product is desirable.  Nothing more.

Then there's the add with multiple lines 8 point type and a complex message.  It tells you everything you want to know about the product.

In the case of the kids who got into mom's pots and pans ad, I would call that an image ad.  It says that Flex fans are quirky (true), cute ( a reach, at best), innovative (very true), and nerdy (spot on).  It's not like direct marketing where you gauge the response to your ads by how many inquiries you receive.  The ad says, here we are, check us out.

As far as effectiveness, I believe that word of mouth is Flex Radio Company's best advertising media.  The image ad is still needed because seeing a company's name in print in a trade publication lends credibility to the brand. 

 
(Edited)
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Guy G4DWV/4X1LT

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I think that the "two kids" photo is an amazing piece of art. I spend ages just looking at it - not long enough for some though, hi hi. The young lads' expressions look 110% genuine and for me the photo suits the FRS brand and ethos. The photo may be childish, but it looks fun for children of all ages. I'd LOVE to be able to d/l a high resolution version (hint, hint).
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NX6D Dave

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I was thinking just yesterday that I would like a high res copy of that picture. Makes me laugh, with not at, FRS every time I see it.
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Dale KB5VE

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I personally have owned 10 flex radios some multiples and not one was bought because of the advertisement. On the air usage with a friend got me started and excellent customer service got me. At this point I do not worry how many Flex radios are sold, that is Gerald's thing to worry about, what I do want is a good product working the way it should with the features I was promised.

So hireling a expensive ad agency over paying for programmers to get our radio to where it should be only makes sense. I am sure Gerald would accept any donations to the ad fund. Do not take this as a disagreement OM the advertising, in fact I feel it really misses the mark in that it appears to take the view we are not interested in the numbers of performance, what dx expidition is using the radio or what commercial unit has a flex 6K being used? So flex as Julia Roberts told Richard Gere in Perty Woman "you do not have to do the seduction scene. , I am a sure thing!". Ads will not do any good with me I am hooked. Spend the money on programming, in fact I would like the QST ads stoped and spend the money on remote over the Wan, that's what I paid for correct?
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Steve W6SDM

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Dale, if everyone just bought products because they liked them, billions of dollars in advertising revenue would drop out of the economy. A good example is the tobacco industry who, even though their clientele was physically addicted to their product, were still one of the largest television and radio advertisers - until Congress made their TV ads illegal in 1970.  Even after that happened, they kept the magazine industry afloat with centerfold and cover ads to attract new victims. 

 It does no good to have an outstanding product if people don't know about it.  I'm afraid there are still a lot of Kenwood, ICOM and Yaesu owners out there, not to mention the guys just getting interested in amateur radio, who still need a little of seduction.

Oh, and despite years of keeping the night shift working at Phillip Morris before I quit fifteen years ago, I still don't look like the Marlboro man - not even an aged, wrinkled version.  :)
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James Kirk

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Bah Humbug
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Joe - KC2TN

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The value of advertising? Maybe the Kids should appear in a Super Bowl time slot. Of course the cost might delay. 1.4 indefinitely!
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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What a great thread for Christmas morning, waiting for festivities to start. You all assume the ads are supposed to sell more product. Maybe they're really there to manage demand. A better ad would just get a flood of orders, lengthening deliveries and making life miserable at FRS.

I have a better idea. Adopt a cute, exotic animal for a mascot. (Say, a penguin?) Then you could narrow the market even further, FRS people could smell the roses again, and Flexers would be in an even more exclusive club...

Merry Christmas to all!
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Do you know what would get me to part with a lot of money for a radio?
Word of mouth, the thoughts  from owners. No amount of advertising dollars would make me spend. In the case of Flex it seems to be a simple fact, if you love your radio others will want one too.
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Michael - OZ1MDF

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My 2 cents as to the market-research :-)

The ad (the two kids) in its current version sends a few messages to *ME* ..

1. HAMS are geeks. If you are not a geek, stay clear ..
2. If you automatically start identifying Farraday cages and stuff on the picture .. you are a geek
3. Geeks are intelligent, and will need this product to further their research.
4. People that wears "silverhats" are generally looneys, and can safely be ignored.
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Roger Rockwell/na4rr

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This is an amazing topic.  Santa must have missed a lot houses this year.  So far everyone has overlooked the real question.. Is it Steve and Greg.... Greg and Dudley..  or Steve and Dudley or Greg and Dudley? 

Now my ad story.  Remember beepers?  Way back when, I had some RCC pager channels.  I had more pagers than I had people to rent them. So what do you do?  Pay a big ad company to do their thing.   After spending 7K, (a whole lot of money 20yrs ago)  What I got was and ad campaign that won first place in the big annual media awards event but not a single verifiable new customer.  I think the award was really a disguise for sucker of the year. 
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Joe - KC2TN

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I guess us OLD KIDS like to play with new toys too! I still like the ad!