Jan. 19, 2022

How To Create High Converting Ads With Stew Redwine

How To Create High Converting Ads With Stew Redwine

Not all podcast ads are created equal, so Stew Redwine, Creative Director from Oxford Road, shares his experience and expert advice to help us create high-converting podcast ads.

"We talk about brevity, clarity, and potency, making every word count so that every ad will count. Never use two words when one will do." Stew's extensive experience in performance marketing allows him to craft high-converting podcast ads. In this episode, we discuss why it is critical to have clarity in an ad and how advertisers can support hosts in driving the brand message.

He also talks to me about what hosts can do to be more involved in the creative process and ultimately get more sales from their ads. He encourages hosts to ask questions like, "How are you [advertiser] attributing success to this? Is this the best offer you have available anywhere?"

Here are some of the critical components that Stew covers in this episode

  1. Grab attention
  2. Hold attention
  3. Build Trust
  4. Clarity
  5. Be specific and back up your claims
  6. Create scarcity

Stew uses his in-depth knowledge to help educate others and improve the overall quality of podcast advertising. He recently wrote an article for Sounds Profitable, essentially giving away all his secrets.

I absolutely love talking with Stew and laughing a lot!

To learn more about Oxford Road, visit their website, or reach out to Stew Redwine.

Contact Heather if you want to advertise with True Native Media's podcasts.


This transcript has been edited.

[00:00:29] Heather Osgood: Hello and welcome to The Podcast Advertising Playbook. I'm your host, Heather Osgood. And today, on this show, I have a special guest for you. I have Stew Redwine. He is the Creative Director at Oxford Road, and Stew has some amazing things to share with us today about putting together a good ad read for podcasts and much more.

[00:00:53] Heather Osgood: So welcome to the show. 

[00:00:55] Stew Redwine: Thank you, Heather, thanks so much for having me.

[00:00:57] Heather Osgood: Thanks for being here. When you and I talked initially, I was floored by your background. And I know you've been at Oxford Road for a long time, but tell us how you ended up in the podcast space.

[00:01:12] Stew Redwine: The most curious part about my career is that I'm from Kansas City. I started in California, then went back to Kansas City, and worked on sets. And I was even in the mixed local, out of St. Louis where the people that move around lights and stands on sets like the grips and the electrics are the same.

[00:01:35] Stew Redwine: There's a decent amount of work there. There's a lot of commercial work. And I ended up working on a lot of direct-response television commercials. And I look back over my career, and it's like this trajectory that I didn't even know existed, but the very first early-days sets that I'm on was performance marketing.

[00:02:01] Stew Redwine: Then I continued to work in production, and I looked around, and I noticed the guys that were twice my age and carrying the same heavy objects that I was carrying. I'm like, wait a second. Does that mean...? Yes, that's what that means. So I was like, okay. So I got to figure out how to be one of the people over there sitting in a chair with a laptop on their lap.

[00:02:22] Stew Redwine: So that's what I went after. And I just kept climbing and kept moving up and came to a point where I was either going to take a job at a production company in Kansas City or because my wife and I had been in California before. So we're convinced there's gold in them their hills, it was like, let's go back to see palm trees.

[00:02:41] Stew Redwine: Cause when you see a palm tree every day, you know you're on vacation. Anyway, fast forward. I was producing in Los Angeles, and then I began to do some work at Oxford Road. Since before the beginning, I've been doing contract work, and then it continued to become a bigger and bigger chunk of my business.

[00:03:10] Stew Redwine: And I thought, do I join Oxford Road or I keep doing this? And Oxford's incredible. The founder is incredible. It's been quite the ride over the last eight years, going into our ninth year. And so I hitched my wagon to Oxford, which made all the difference.

[00:03:27] Stew Redwine: And there I was again, doing performance marketing. A large chunk of what we do is podcast and radio. We also get to do some TV and OTT stuff now. So some of that stuff from way back I'm able to do again. And so it's like I was saying on that trajectory, it's all come together, and that's the short version. 

[00:03:54] Heather Osgood: It's a fantastic story that, as you said, things often in life do come full circle, and I think it's great that you've had this neat trajectory. The other thing I'm always so excited about is talking to somebody who has been in podcasting for so long, because like you mentioned, you've been at Oxford for eight now going on nine years. So you've been in the podcast space for quite a long time. 

[00:04:18] Stew Redwine: Absolutely. From early days when it was this brand new space, we were trying to convince people that they've tapped out on in other channels or even at the very beginning, to try it out and to figure out, Hey, do we take over a lot of us at Oxford Road have a background in radio.

[00:04:43] Stew Redwine: So it's like, well, do we cross-apply everything from that? Wow, they can do these long reads. I'd say one of the main things I think, you know, with your question of going and being a part of it for such a long time. And now we're at this place where we ship almost 6,000 ads a year.

[00:04:59] Stew Redwine: [00:05:00] I've seen a lot of different versions of what you can give to a host for them to do the thing that only they can do. And over the years, I remember when we'd send them... I was looking for a stack of paper. Who uses paper? We would send them these packets that were so long. And it was like, let me tell you about the company for 27 pages. And then here are 17 different ways you could talk about it, and here's the copy, but it's long, but choose the part you want. And then here's an addendum. Then we swung the complete opposite way.

[00:05:36] Stew Redwine: Here's the bare minimum that we could give you. Do your thing. And now we've landed in a more balanced spot. It's about finding the deepest, personal connection between the host and the advertised product. In radio it's 180 words for a 60-second spot. I like to see a script that's got an intro, but we've done onboarding, connected with them, and it has got maybe four bullet points that's really tight. Every word counts. Then it's got your call to action. 150 words would be the ideal length to equip a host to do their thing. 

[00:06:40] Heather Osgood: So what I hear that I think is the most critical piece of all of this is that connection.

[00:06:46] Heather Osgood: How does podcast advertising, and the creative in particular, vary from other media out there? Creating podcast advertising copy is ultimately about connection. The connection between the advertiser and the host. Between the host and the product. Then ultimately, between the host and the audience

[00:07:27] Heather Osgood: What are your thoughts about how it is differentiated? 

[00:07:33] Stew Redwine: I've got on headphones that are over my ear. You've got on earbuds that are in your ear. Talking with the host one time, it's like they made a point of how close that is and how intimate that is.

[00:07:49] Stew Redwine: People are deciding to listen. You're not as bound by time as you are in other audio formats. We, as listeners, feel like we know these people. And so what it does is it sets you up. There are three primary ways that we think about influencing someone and getting them to take action. Aristotle broke it a long time ago.

[00:08:14] Stew Redwine: Its pathos, ethos, and logos. It's the emotion, and it's the reason. And a lot of times, that's a conversation. I think it kind of also gets represented as like art and science. So the ethos piece of it is credibility. You know, the people closest to us feel like we know where we do know, like actual people that we do know.

[00:08:33] Stew Redwine: And then these hosts that we feel like we know so well when they say I use this and you should too, and they're authentic about it. And you can tell that they understand it. There are no more powerful words in the lexicon of advertising than those words, "I use this, and you should too." So the premium is on intimacy. So the premium is on their understanding. 

[00:08:58] Stew Redwine: If you have a product that's hard to understand, I'm thinking of one that we just did recently, where it's a software interface. We go to great lengths to call them and show them exactly how it works in the demo.

[00:09:13] Stew Redwine: So you can see that moment where they understand. They saw it and put themselves in the consumer's shoes because not every product will be a product the host can use. So ultimately, we're all human, and we understand finding a solution to a problem.

[00:09:29] Stew Redwine: You've got to dig in deep to get that aha moment so that the host can make that connection. Then they can connect it to their audience. And I think another piece of this is you; you've got to get out of their way in the host bringing their personality to what they're saying, which they're going to do.

[00:09:52] Stew Redwine: If you try to write in the host voice or you try to be too clever, sometimes you try to write something in a way [00:10:00] that they wouldn't say it, or even write something in a way that they would say it. It's like; it's really about getting out of the way so that, you know, they're our salesforce so that they can do the thing that only they can do.

[00:10:11] Stew Redwine: And say those critical words to the listener, I use this, and you should too. Or I've inspected. I've looked under every rock I'm telling you for those of you who need this kind of solution, I've met these people. It's incredible and will work for you. It's going to solve this problem.

[00:10:28] Stew Redwine: If I had this problem, that's exactly what I would use. So you guys need to go sign up today, you know, I'm telling you, and because they know them and feel like they know them, they're going to take action if they have that legitimate need.

[00:10:43] Heather Osgood: So I think you made a couple of excellent points in there.

[00:10:45] Heather Osgood: So one of the most essential factors in advertising and with product sales period is that you're solving a problem. And one of the challenges I think we face in advertising often is that people get [00:11:00] annoyed by ads, right? Everybody's like, oh, I don't like ads. I don't want ads. The reality is that we all like to buy products and services that we feel are going to make our lives better and solve a problem that we have.

[00:11:11] Heather Osgood: So it's key to make sure that the advertiser understands how we communicate that? And what is that maybe problem that we're solving? But I also feel like that goes hand in hand with the fact that podcasters do very, I would say, harshly vet the advertisers they have on their program, which I think is very different from many other forms of advertising out there.

[00:11:43] Heather Osgood: I am shocked at the number of podcasters who turn advertisers down. So I think that there is a level of trust between the host and the audience. And I feel like that's something I would love to just shout from a mountaintop. It is accurate, and I experienced it every [00:12:00] day. And many times, I get annoyed because I'm like, come on, you guys, like, we're just trying to fill your show up with ads.

[00:12:05] Heather Osgood: Just take this advertiser, come on. But podcasters turned down advertisers. So what are your thoughts about those two components? Do you think that that helps just strengthen the ad read? 

[00:12:17] Stew Redwine: If it was purely transactional, you feel that, and then you, in the break, like the kind of advertisers that are there, like it's not going to fit.

[00:12:28] Stew Redwine: So the more it can fit the show's content and the more it fits the host themselves, the more sense it makes. This idea of like, you know, you can put anybody in this, um, kind of old saying is like, you know, the customer is not an idiot, they're your husband or your wife, they're you. They're real people.

[00:12:51] Stew Redwine: Like we know what real feels like. And I think you're exactly right. There's a premium on this space. It's like the free market economy of thought[00:13:00]  where, if it's real and people can trust it, it's going to continue to get rewarded. And if they trust the product and feel it, that's something that you can feel as well.

[00:13:12] Stew Redwine: Now, I think what's weird about podcasts is you can also have hosts that, yes, I hear you on the vetting right there. They're making sure that it's something that they can stand behind, especially with dynamically inserted ads. They'll do a pretty dry read, but it still performs well.

[00:13:35] Stew Redwine: So the way that we approach it is like, look, it will never hurt to dig in as deeply as possible to make the most personal connection as possible, but we're going to have ads out there where, you know, the host is reading it, do you need to wash your hands? I know everybody needs to wash their hands.

[00:13:53] Stew Redwine: Sometimes this soap is lovely. You need to get this soap today. Go to my site, get promo code dah, dah, and you'll get the best soap on earth. Okay, hey, back to the show. Performance is performance. It will never hurt us to dig in as deeply as possible because trust is such a premium in this space. So what can we do to make sure that this feels as trustworthy as possible? The other thing with Oxford Road is we advertise products that we believe in that we'd use ourselves, that we do use.

[00:14:54] Stew Redwine: And so I think that's valuable. You know, we vet them really hard as well, so that when we're talking to the advertiser and we're talking to the podcast host. We've used it. We know what it's like; we can talk about it because that's everything translated to the audience.

[00:15:13] Heather Osgood: Yeah, for sure. So I'm really curious because I think that example you just gave was perfect. In the host read space, we lean so heavily on how authentic, and good the ad read is. Ads can maybe come across as being bad and still perform.

[00:15:41] Heather Osgood: So if the ad maybe, especially from the advertiser's perspective, maybe isn't as sexy or interesting or appealing as they would like it to be. Can it still perform? But then on the flip side, are there principles that a host could use to actually create a good ad read. 

[00:16:02] Stew Redwine: So on the first point, yes, absolutely.

[00:16:05] Stew Redwine: That's what's wild about it. We stacked up different airchecks, that the host reads, that are at different levels of energy. Like let's just call it levels of energy, where some of them are being read like this. And they're just really, you know, straightened dry. Now that one's, oh my gosh. I got to tell you about this.

[00:16:22] Stew Redwine: It's the most significantt thing you've ever heard of. You know, all along there and then performance numbers on the other side. And then we match up which one you think goes with which performance number, and you can guess it does not follow. So that's the weird part is that you can have these super dry reads or ones that don't feel energetic and they still perform.

[00:16:43] Stew Redwine: But again, that's where I say it never hurts to push them. So to give the hosts some principles that can guide them. I mean, it's get real, get human. Now look, some of them. They're reading it like this, but when you listen to the show, the show is like this, right. But it fits, I think where the contrast is, you can just go, Hey, we want to talk to you about this ad read.

[00:17:08] Stew Redwine: It goes back to what we were talking about before. When you look at a painting, like a really good painting, or you hear a good song, it's connecting to you emotionally. If they haven't made that connection yet where they can't understand why somebody would care about this, I think that's the most important part.

[00:17:26] Stew Redwine: And there really isn't a shortcut to that. I think it takes time and a conversation. And I'll tell you with so many people working from home. Over the past couple of years the way everything's gone, I've noticed this kind of trend towards a lot of box checking and like let's move through stuff a lot quicker than it used to be.

[00:17:46] Stew Redwine: And it's like, yeah, we did that. We did that. You know, here's the script let's go. But across the board, across all industries. So it's like slow down. Something we used to say on set- slow is smooth and smooth as fast. If you're not hearing that emotional connection, slow down and talk to them. Now scaling that gets really hard. But if it's the podcast hosts themselves and they're wondering, and they're looking for guidance on, well, how do I do that? I would say, okay, well, take some time with it and really think through and try to feel why would this matter to someone? And if you can't imagine why this would matter, I think that's what the really great host is.

[00:18:27] Stew Redwine: The really great salespeople, that's what they are. And storytellers, right? Songwriters do that. Johnny Cash, all the stories in his songs. Like he didn't do any of that stuff. You know, maybe some of it like , it was outlaw country, so he could, he could misbehave. But he didn't shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

[00:18:48] Heather Osgood: It's just sounded really good. 

[00:18:50] Stew Redwine: We felt like he did. So I think as a host, you got to access your storytelling capabilities to go, okay, let me imagine why this would matter to me. Let me feel it myself. Let me do it. And you've got to have an open heart. You've got to unlock that part of it.

[00:19:07] Heather Osgood: One of the things that you said when you and I talked the first time, which really surprised me is that you find in the research you've done and all the different ad reads that you run through the agency, that it is not uncommon for the host to follow very closely along with what you have written in the talking points.

[00:19:29] Heather Osgood: What are your thoughts about that? Do you think that the ads would be so much better if the host put in more personal flair or more authenticity, or do you think that having them read something that's been provided is really just as effective at the end of the end of the day? 

[00:19:46] Stew Redwine: It can be, and we're seeing this space evolve.

[00:19:50] Stew Redwine: How many ad breaks are there in podcasts in an hour? That numbers continuing to go up? How many ad breaks were there in radio or are there in radio? So I think that's the dynamic that's really at play that causes someone to move through it where they're just going to read it straight.

[00:20:17] Stew Redwine: It's also easier just to read it straight. And I think it can also be a function of how well we did our job in the onboarding process to make the connection. But to answer your question about effectiveness, yeah, they can be effective. They can still get people to take action, but it's never gonna hurt for them to open up and to ad-lib and make their own case and do it in their own style.

[00:20:48] Stew Redwine: If we could have them all do that, that would be magnificant. 

[00:20:52] Heather Osgood: Yeah, I totally agree. I was having a conversation with a podcast with the other day, and I know many of them feel this way. But not many of them will vocalize it. And this was a show that we were talking about bringing on board and, a fairly large show that's been in business and doing their show for quite a long time.

[00:21:12] Heather Osgood: They said, we decided we really just like scripts better. So if you can get any of your advertisers, just to send us a script, we like that. Whoa, that is a slippery slope. I think that more podcasts was probably feel that way than I realized because there's quite a bit of work that they need to put into creating a good ad.

[00:21:34] Heather Osgood: Do you see the industry going in that direction where we would just provide a script instead of talking points. 

[00:21:41] Stew Redwine: Oh, yeah, I think so. I mean, I think that, you know, just like in radio, what you're going to see is you're going to buy your 60-ad units and they're going to be 60-seconds on the dot and they'll pre-record them.

[00:21:55] Stew Redwine: And those are those. And then if you want to pay extra to do a longer integration. Then there'll be a premium on that. The economics are gonna come into play as more brand dollars pour into the space. We got to get more ads in there. Okay. Well, we've got to get more ads and then we've got to get it under control.

[00:22:14] Stew Redwine: So the inventory can be something we could control. Okay, great. Then that means we've got to set a clock. Okay, great. If I gotta set a clock, do I want to try to add lib within that time? No, just send me a script so I can read it. Which makes the case for making sure that your copy knowing that that dynamic is at play is really, really well-written and well structured and that every word counts and that you're making the way in that you're making that emotional appeal, that, that it's clever at the top.

[00:22:47] Stew Redwine: And that everything is really, really tight. So if they do that and when they do that, and as they continue to do more of that, it's still really well-written copy. I still would make the case to [00:23:00] go shorter on word count because then you might cause that to happen. Give it some breathing room.

[00:23:07] Stew Redwine: There's a large number of hosts, from what we've seen, that read verbatim. And you're just going to continue to see that increase as the ad load increases. I think they're going to increase together because I don't have time to think differently about it. 

[00:23:29] Heather Osgood: One of the important elements to me is the CPM. I know that CPMs can be all over the place, but the value of what the advertiser is buying is that, Hey, my audience knows, likes, and trusts me. And when I say, oh my gosh, you guys have to go buy this product, it's amazing. It's going to help your life. It's just like me telling a friend to go buy something. And so when we transitioned from that into a script, how does that affect pricing? 

[00:24:15] Stew Redwine: Well, the way I think about it is that you're going to see the price, you're going to see more competition and you're going to see a higher ad load. So you'll see the price go down, but you'll see a premium put on the longer integrations.

[00:24:33] Stew Redwine: And so you can pay more for that. That's what I see coming is that we'll go, okay. Well, here's all the ad units and it's spots and dots, and it's similar to what we're doing on radio. And now here's these longer, deeper integrations where you can pay more. Pay a premium for the talent to actually voice the spot and go along.

[00:25:09] Heather Osgood: And we're kind of getting off the topic of creative, but I guess for me, the next step is, well, why are we just not inserting all these ads, programmatically?

[00:25:18] Heather Osgood: And then we can know for sure that we're getting, you know, the right target audience and, you know, so does that just mean the whole industry is going to shift more toward not buying a show, not buying a personality, not buying an influencer, but really just like you said, spots and dots, but just buying impressions.

[00:25:36] Heather Osgood: And then do we then just get meshed in with every other media out there. Like, is there no differentiation? 

[00:25:45] Stew Redwine: No, I think it's still different because it's on demand, you know? So that's different. And I think that you've got with brand safety and everything now and, and a hundred, you know, 1.8 million podcasts, the United States, [00:26:00] we do have to be really thoughtful about that.

[00:26:02] Stew Redwine: So I don't, I think we're in this, the future's here in pieces. And so I don't, when I am saying, you know, what's been done will be done again and it's not, I don't think we're going to revert. I think these things are going to combine in a way that we don't fully, obviously don't fully understand where, particularly with wanting to make sure that an advertiser's not on a show that isn't brand safe. That isn't helping the conversation, getting us all to be able to hear and talk to each other. But is looking to divide everybody which is a big piece of what we do at Oxford Road through the media round table is to change that dynamic.

[00:26:42] Stew Redwine: I think that, that you, you can't just put the blinders on and not engage that part of it. so yeah, that's what I think of when it, when it comes to that part of it is that you're not getting, you're not going to be able to check out because you want to make sure that you're running alongside content that agrees with your brand's [00:27:00] value.

[00:27:00] Heather Osgood: Absolutely. And I think that that's one of the big concerns that I see more and more is brand safety, right. I don't, gosh, I don't think like three years ago it didn't seem like brand safety was really brought up much at all. And now here we are. And I feel like brand safety is brought up a lot.

[00:27:15] Heather Osgood: And part of it is because of the very independent nature of podcasts. I could be anybody. I could say anything and I can publish a podcast and people might listen. Right. And enough people might listen that an advertiser might say, oh, I'm going to buy ads on that. Maybe not fully understanding the extent of what they're advertising on.

[00:27:35] Heather Osgood: So, I mean, that is, I think that that's a really important piece. When you're looking to, as a brand, enter the space, are there certain things that you would recommend? Like if a company has never advertised on podcasts before, and they're thinking about getting into this space, are there important things for them to consider both maybe creatively as, as well as [00:28:00] the types of podcasts that they're choosing to advertise on?

[00:28:03] Stew Redwine: Oh yeah, absolutely. I think the first thing to consider is working with Oxford Road. Yeah, I think that's like top of the considerations. Okay. I come check out Oxford Road. Yeah. We have a weekly newsletter that we do that's got a bunch of great thought leadership pieces, the media round table. So the two things I would say are creative and then like, what should I consider? Like I said, the effort that we're doing with the media round table is absolutely worth looking at if you were a brand, that's looking at getting into podcasting, look at that to see, okay, how can I make sure that I'm approaching it in the right way?

[00:28:42] Stew Redwine: And then when it comes to the creative piece, it's less is more. The job of an advertisement is to say one thing and just say it powerfully.

[00:28:53] Stew Redwine: So it's like have a lot of clarity about, you know, what is our goal here? How long do we have to get there? What is it [00:29:00] that we want to accomplish with this? And equip those hosts. Like if you're going to do it direct, you know, equip those hosts with the tightest absolute message possible. Look at what's worked in other acquisition channels that you've done, you know, ultimately, you're communicating with people asking them to take an action, like you've done in other places.

[00:29:18] Stew Redwine: And sharpen everything up as much as possible. I wrote a article for Bryan Barletta on Sounds Profitable that like lays out. Like I'm, open-handed, it's like, you know, like all these books behind me or advertising books, like all this stuff, it's all available. But I've really, I really condensed it in that article.

[00:29:37] Stew Redwine: You know there, which is like, how do I think it's like how to write a podcast ad, you know? So it's like, I, you know, look at Oxford Road, look at media round table, read that article. Yeah, I've done all I can for you. I wrote it down. I wrote it down for you, you know? Yeah. The, you know, that's so that's, that's [00:30:00] my best.

[00:30:00] Stew Redwine: It's like a Sean Connery in The Last C rusade, the old Indiana Jones movie. Cause they lose a grail diary. And then his son's like, well, don't you remember what you wrote down in the diary, dad? Like you wrote the diary, sorry. That's why I wrote it down. And that's, that's how I feel like, I don't know. I wrote it down.

[00:30:19] Heather Osgood: And I would highly recommend if you have not read the Sounds Profitable article that Stew wrote, go check it out because it is very detailed.

[00:30:29] Heather Osgood: And like, like you're saying it lays down the process step by step. So, you know, definitely I do think that there are leaders in the industry. There are, you know, people like yourself, who've been here and have done it and you really should be learning from what has happened in the past. And I do think that, what you have said repeatedly, that I cannot emphasize enough is that put the most important things in your talking point, [00:31:00] because every personality is different. Every person is going to look at something differently. And I do usually think that it's good for you to give some sort of a background history of the company, right?

[00:31:10] Heather Osgood: Like what are the important parts that, you know, maybe that person might need to know is just general background information, but be really clear about what you want the host to say in the ad, because we get sometimes like pages of talking points, right? And then you're expecting this host who, by the way, doesn't know the first thing about putting an ad together to come up with a really good ad read.

[00:31:35] Heather Osgood: And if you don't lead them in the direction you want them to go, they're not going to go where you want them to go. So if you can be very concise, that helps tremendously. 

[00:31:46] Stew Redwine: Absolutely. I mean, we, we talk about brevity, clarity and potency making every ad, making every word count so that every ad will count.

[00:31:56] Stew Redwine: Right. Never use two words when one will do. We have a [00:32:00] nine key components that we use to construct an ad. First you want to grab their attention. If we haven't done that, if they're not interested, then, then all's for not right. Then you got to keep them interested.

[00:32:11] Stew Redwine: So is it an interesting way in? Is it a personal way in? So, yes, okay, I'm interested. That's great. Well, what is this thing, right? What is very clearly and succinctly, what's most important about it? What does it do? Why is it better than the alternatives? Why is it better than the status quo?

[00:32:28] Stew Redwine: How does it work, exactly? What does this thing do? Like what specifically, how does it work? Where do I go to get it? And why should I trust you? Why should I trust this company? Like, what are some specific things like, you know, you go into a, when you, I always like to take stuff to the extreme.

[00:32:44] Stew Redwine: So like you go, you know, surgeon, right. You're going to a surgeon for a life-saving surgery and you, you go into their office. And on the back of their wall, and maybe I've had little baby surgeries, procedures, whatever. And you know, if I go in there and there's like a bunch of [00:33:00] those diplomas back there, I've never gotten up and read them.

[00:33:05] Stew Redwine: Right. But it's got a gold seal. It's got a red ribbon. It says, you know, maybe it's good. I'm like, yeah, trusted. Okay. Now, not at all, not ever advocating for that not being real and bulletproof, if I did get up and read them, like it's real. Okay. But using specifics to substantiate your claim, you're, you're making a claim.

[00:33:30] Stew Redwine: The fundamental thing that advertisers are trying to do is be trusted. Right? And now it goes back to the beginning of our conversation. Trust is at a premium in this channel. The intimate because intimacy is happening. Okay. So that means like, I need to know, I trust you. Okay. So then any facts or figures or anything like specific sets you use it better be bulletproof.

[00:33:57] Stew Redwine: They need to be real not saying that. And then [00:34:00] if you can do an offer. All things being equal that does that. Isn't always the case and, and an offer can kind of be defined in a number of ways. There can be a guarantee. Great. Can you guarantee your product, but, but let's say you can do, an offer that it's real as well.

[00:34:15] Stew Redwine: And that, that if the, if there's a date that it is over, it's over that if it's in limited supply, like, I want to hear when I'm talking to an advertiser. Okay. Yeah. I see. We want to say limited supply. So how many units do you have? And you're not getting any more? Are there more on the way or right now and not with the, not in a critical, not just in, like we're telling the truth, let's tell the truth because trust, because we got them to trust them.

[00:34:46] Stew Redwine: And then on the clarity piece, you know, the last bit is like, you know, where do they go? And how do they get it? You hear a lot of offers, you know, in performance marketing, you hear a lot of offers in the podcast space. The thing to do something to keep in mind, just make some real practical [00:35:00] advice here.

[00:35:00] Stew Redwine: And if you're the host, actually this is a good one. Is if it's hard for you to understand. And it's convoluted. Like, something we talk about is like, there's a restaurant and they go, you can get this really special deal. Okay. But you've got to go around to the back alley. Now there's a gate and there's a gate.

[00:35:16] Stew Redwine: Here's the deal. You've got to climb over that gate. Now you go down, it's a red door. It's the second one. There's another red door. But this is like, you'll know when you see it. Anyway, knock on that six times followed by two quick ones and then we'll let you in for the special deal. Oh, okay, man. This a lot of work, but I mean, what's the, what's the deal?

[00:35:35] Stew Redwine: Why like what, what's it? Oh, you get free napkins. It's like, oh, I don't think I'm going to do all that for free napkin. So it's like, if it's a convoluted path, go to whatever advertiser.com/blah, blah, blah, promo code, blah, blah, blah, and hit the blah, blah, blah. And on top of that, the offer's not even that compelling.

[00:35:55] Stew Redwine:  If you're the host in that case and right, you're having trouble computing that this is valuable. [00:36:00] And then it's clear, like advocate speak up about that. If I was a host you could, another thing that would be cool. This would be awesome. Is ask about like a special line or a special project or a special product, or what could you guys do special?

[00:36:15] Stew Redwine: I'd love to do something special. What can we do? Do you have some kind of, you know, whatever the different product might be? You know what, like, because that that's going to help it work better on your podcast, right? The more distinct and better and different than anywhere else to offer can be, that's like a fundamental of persuasion, right?

[00:36:33] Stew Redwine: Because that builds in scarcity. 

[00:36:36] Heather Osgood: Love it, love it. I would say one of the things that irritates me the very most about offers and calls to action are that I buy things from podcast to advertisers and I use promo codes and nine times out of 10, when I am on the site, an offer pops up that is better than [00:37:00] the offer that I had, you know, and they make it so easy because they're like, oh, this automatically populated.

[00:37:07] Heather Osgood: Now you get 25% off because you're a first time customer, something like that. Gets under my skin so much, because I know that we're in performance marketing. I know that it matters if I use this code. And when the advertiser is kind of essentially you usurping the other code and making it better, it's like why in the world would the consumer want to use a code that is going to be for a lesser offer.

[00:37:32] Heather Osgood: Do you find that that happens as you're working with clients? Because I feel like when we talk and we work directly with client, sometimes it's really difficult. And I constantly will say, free shipping doesn't work. We don't want the same offer that's popping up on your Facebook page or on your website when somebody gets there, like, we want something that is going to stand out and be different if we're really truly testing the value of this, you know, this platform.

[00:37:58] Stew Redwine: Yeah. You just made the key [00:38:00] point is like, especially in testing that that's because we're going, is this thing on, is this thing on, right. So we want to know, we want to know what every show in every ad unit is worth something. They're like baseball cards. Has some value. We just want to figure out, stack them up, figure out, okay, what are they all worth?

[00:38:22] Stew Redwine: So a couple of things come to mind. I mean, a critical piece, again, like advocacy on the part of the podcast host is to lean into, Hey, how are you guys attributing success for this? And that also goes back to the offer piece that, is this the best offer you guys have available anywhere?

[00:38:38] Stew Redwine: I want to make sure we're offering the best, you know, cause I really want this to work. We all want this to work. Because like you said, you've gone to the sites and with the offer you have from the podcast, you get the free napkins. And you're like, I don't want free napkins. I want to get, wow. Look at this.

[00:38:53] Stew Redwine: I get a free dessert. It's like, I want that offer. So that's why. And then on our part, as an [00:39:00] agency, what we work really hard on doing is, to Oxford Road, we do media messaging and measurement. All of it is together. So we're working really hard to understand how hard those ads are working. We're working hard to see how hard the ads are working.

[00:39:16] Stew Redwine: All right. We're working hard around here,

[00:39:19] Stew Redwine: We don't question that, 

[00:39:21] Heather Osgood: Stew., 

[00:39:23] Stew Redwine: working hard. But the attribution is a critical component and like common to mankind. You know that the thing you're talking about, it's a tough one. We do our level best to try to get the best offer available anywhere we do our level best to have multiple ways of measuring so that we can hone in on what's really happening.

[00:39:46] Stew Redwine: But I think, you know, thinking of this from like thinking of your audience going okay, as a podcast host, I would advocate for a couple of things. Like one is this offer really better? Well, if it's not, don't stop there. [00:40:00] Go well, what can I do to make it better? Could you guys do a landing page just for my page, just for my show.

[00:40:07] Stew Redwine: And I'll make a video, I'll make a video of me trying it on, or me talking about it. could you do a special, is there any kind of special deal and like, you know, what I find too is that if you push and push and push and push, there tends to be a way, right? Like energy and persistent conquer, all things that.

[00:40:28] Stew Redwine: If you just don't relent there, they'll probably come up with something. Cause that's like the whole, you gotta get all the way into the corners. So in thinking of talking to podcast hosts, I would go, Hey, is this really the best offer available, particularly in a test. And then if it's not get creative on how you could make better, or how you could partner with them or even give them ideas on what would make it better. Because what it's going to mean is if your show works and everybody else's, doesn't, you get to continue to tell your audience about this [00:41:00] fantastic product or service. But if it dies in that first test, it's all over.

[00:41:04] Heather Osgood: And you just hit the nail on the head, which I think a lot of podcast hosts don't realize is that they think getting back to what you said, let's check all the boxes, like check, check, check. I did what I was supposed to do. And it's like, you know, well is showing up on time, really exceeding expectations . It's kind of a given that you should show up to work on time or what have you. It's kind of a given that you're going to check all the boxes and just do the ad read bare minimum. But if you're a host and you're really looking to retain advertisers, you should be asking yourself on a regular basis, what can you do to exceed the expectation of the advertisers? And what can you do to engage with your audience and actually show your audience that the product that you're bringing to them is an amazing product. It's all about partnerships like we've been talking right. The brand needs to give the host to the materials they need to succeed. And then as a host, once you get that, you need to make sure that you're doing everything you can to make [00:42:00] sure that the brand succeeds, because ultimately we're looking for really good win-win situations.

[00:42:05] Heather Osgood: And then, I mean, advertisers will advertise on shows for a really long time when they know that they're successful. For sure. So that's an important piece. 

[00:42:15] Stew Redwine: Oh yeah, I think, and it's like the office right it's a win-win-win. That's right. See advertiser wins, the podcast host wins and the agency wins.

[00:42:27] Stew Redwine: Exactly. Win-win scenario all around. 

[00:42:32] Heather Osgood: Okay. So the last question I have for you is what I know you obviously work in direct response. So that's like where your focus is, but, is there a different approach when we're looking at brand advertising? I mean, I think that there is so much brand advertising moving into the space, which I think is amazing and we want more of that.

[00:42:53] Heather Osgood: But how has creative different or is it just a totally different beast altogether? 

[00:42:59] Stew Redwine: I don't [00:43:00] view it as a totally different beast all together. The main thing I think of is how am I measuring success and how long do I have to get there? So when it comes to brand advertising, what are my metrics to know if that's been successful?

[00:43:21] Stew Redwine: And if. And if we, what you get from the advertiser is, well, I mean, we really needed to work in these six weeks, so I go, okay. It's yeah. Okay. It's a brand thing, but you really needed some form in this short time horizon. That to me is probably the biggest thing is that you can go, okay, well, we want to do, you know, 40% brand, 60% activation.

[00:43:46] Stew Redwine: Whatever that is, then you go, okay, well let's carve out those brand dollars and then adjust our expectations. Are we going to do some sort of lift study? How are we going to analyze whether the brand stuff was, is [00:44:00] working and how do we really look at, do we think that that's successful?

[00:44:04] Stew Redwine: I mean, I really to boil it down to me, it's those two critical things with any time that somebody is investing their money into the marketplace to tell the story about their brand or to get a transaction is to go, okay, cool. How are we measuring success? Let's get really clear on that.

[00:44:24] Stew Redwine: And how long do we have to get there? And once you answer those, then you can approach it the way that you want. So more on a brand approach where I don't want to be sales. I want to build these memory structures, maybe use pneumonic devices to cause people to it's it's Pavlovian, right? I'm training them to hear a certain thing or to think a certain thing or to feel a certain way when they get these cues. And I build that over time. And then I get my return over time. And there's been [00:45:00] lots of studies like Les Benet, the stuff that Byron Sharp talks about and how brands grow that over time, the more successful approach is brand advertising. Because it builds this value over time and it has this Pavlovian component to it.

[00:45:17] Stew Redwine: And that activation, pure activation degrades over time because it's just sale sale, sale, sale sale. All that to say, and a lot of this is in the article there for sounds profitable. It's like, you know, all these simultaneous truths that you want to have a mix of brand and activation. So if you put everything into activation or everything into brand.

[00:45:39] Stew Redwine: And you want to have a mix of the two and you're building the value over time with brand and you're building, you're getting that immediate return with the activation stuff. But to, to get back to the question about like, well, is brand advertising fundamentally different? I don't really think so. I think all the components are still there.

[00:45:58] Stew Redwine: It's just some of them, [00:46:00] some of them move way down or you don't have to do them as strong because you know you've got a whole lot more time to close the sale or that you're just doing this. You're just training them and getting them to feel a certain way so that when they see one of your, see or hear one of your activation spots, then they'll take action.

[00:46:18] Heather Osgood: And if you ever want to look at advertising Pavlovian responses, just come hang out at my house because my children can sing jingles and recite phrases. And all you need to do is say the brand and they go, blah, blah, blah. And you're like, what the heck was that? 

[00:46:35] Stew Redwine: Yeah, I have my, yeah, one of my daughters came up to me, one of our current advertisers, she'd seen a commercial for one of them, Monday.com. She saw a YouTube thing and she was like, Hey dad do you use monday.com? I'm like what are you talking about? Like, why aren't you getting served ads?

[00:46:50] Stew Redwine: And then she's asking me about a ZipRecruiter ad. She's like, Hey dad, you know, um, do you guys use ZipRecruiter? I'm thinking, why is she keep asking me what business solutions are using? Like, am I in [00:47:00] trouble? You know?

[00:47:01] Stew Redwine: And then I go, why are you asking if I use ZipRecruiter's she goes, oh, because it's just, it's the smartest way to hire.

[00:47:09] Stew Redwine: I'm like what? 

[00:47:12] Heather Osgood: You're like, no, I use Indeed. It's the better option. 

[00:47:15] Stew Redwine: That's right. That's right. One of our other advertisers. We do are very grateful to have them. Yes, indeed. Exactly. That's the, that's our plug for indeed there. 

[00:47:25] Heather Osgood: All right. Well, Stew, thank you so much for coming on this show. I really appreciate your insights.

[00:47:30] Heather Osgood: And if someone is interested in working with you and Oxford Road, where can they find you? 

[00:47:35] Stew Redwine: Oh, absolutely. at oxfordroad.com. There's a way to engage with us right there so you can contact us. But I would say like reach out to me, stew@oxfordroad.com. We can get the party started. 

[00:47:51] Heather Osgood: Yes.

[00:47:52] Heather Osgood: Yes. And every time I talked to you, it does feel like I'm at a party. So Hey, it's, it's, it's going to be tons of fun working with Stu. I could promise [00:48:00] you. 

[00:48:00] Stew Redwine: Hey, you know what, now nobody remembers what you say; they just remember how you made them feel. 

[00:48:05] Heather Osgood: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. For sure. Well, thanks for being on the show and thank you for listening. I hope that this has been an insightful episode for you. I know that it has been for me, and I hope that if you have not tried podcast advertising yet that you will give it a shot because it is a really powerful medium, and it will continue to be. Have a good day. 

Stew RedwineProfile Photo

Stew Redwine

Creative Director

This particular vintage of Redwine has a distinct creative flavor. Bright, Complex, and down-to-earthy, Stew Redwine is an unforgettable blend of performance, brand, advertising history, fun, facts, feels, with a hint of wizardry. Grown in Kansas City on direct response TV sets and professionally advertising aged to perfection in Southern California, Stew's been helping make the ads work at Oxford Road since the early days of podcasting.