Over the next few weeks, I will be making some posts regarding various marketing campaigns. This week we dive into some of the most popular and successful radio ads over the last decade and a half.


5 Radio Ads

Motel 6: “DVD”


  1. This Motel 6 radio ad used humor to draw their listeners in. The actor/voice is essentially making fun of himself and critiquing a previously recorded ad. The overlap of audio definitely catches a listener’s attention.
  2. The objective of this ad is to get you curious about Motel 6 and to let listeners know that they will “leave the light on for you.” As a listener myself, I find comfort in that slogan as it insinuates that even if you are arriving late, you will feel safe and at home as you arrive.
  3. The target audience here would be any traveler needing a reliable and safe hotel to stay at while on the road. I think it really appeals to travelers who may be traveling alone and/or late at night as the message is friendly and the tag line is “we’ll leave the light on for you.”
  4. There is no direct action requested by the ad. However, it does state that it is the best place to go after a long day’s drive. So that would insinuate that the listener should find the closest Motel 6 as they get ready to call it a night on the road.
  5. The value proposition is you will get a clean comfortable room for the lowest price of any national chain.


Dos Equis – Heineken: “Coffee”


  1. This Dos Equis ad ropes the listener in with a catchy melody and a very attention grabby radio voice. It proceeds to describe a man who is capable of doing things that most others would not be able to do. These ridiculous claims really get the listener involved as it adds a sense of humor to the ad.
  2. The objective of the ad is to relate drinking Dos Equis beer to being “the most interesting man in the world” and ultimately sell more beer.
  3. Of course, this targets the ego or competitive side of a listener by enticing them to follow the lead of the most interesting man in the world. The tag line “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis” is also catchy and would most likely replay in someone’s head when seeing the XX while standing in front of the beer section contemplating on a drink of choice for the evening.
  4. The ad wants the listeners to drink Dos Equis if they are in the mood for a beer.
  5. The is no clearly stated value proposition other than the most interesting man in the world chooses to drink this beer.


Citibank: “Too Old”


  1. This ad is promoting a service for paying off student loans while you’re still young. The ad uses humor to describe people who are too old to still be paying off student loans. I found it comical and attention-grabbing. It also uses the well-known graduation theme song in the background.
  2. The objective is to notify listeners that when using a Citi card, they will receive ThankYou points that they can redeem and use towards paying off bills such as student loans.
  3. The target audience is young professionals who may still be paying off student loans or other loans for that matter. The Citi ThankYou points are earned by using applicable Citi cards and can be redeemed to pay off bills or purchase items such as plane tickets or hotel rooms.
  4. The ad wants the listeners to sign up for a Citibank card and utilize the ThankYou points program to earn points that can be redeemed to help them pay bills. It states that you can learn more at thankyou.com
  5. The ad doesn’t necessarily state how it is better or different from its competition, but it does use the following phrase to entice listeners to use their service and become debt free. “Pay off your student loans while you’re still young. Redeem your Citi thank you points to make payments towards your loans and watch your debt disappear.”


Old Spice: “Momsong”


  1. This ad is promoting the Old Spice deodorant spray for boys/men. It uses a song with comical lyrics of a mom singing about her son who is now using Old Spice body spray and being treated like a man by women.
  2. The objective is to sell Old Spice body spray to young men. The lyrics of the song talk about boys becoming men and getting more attention from girls because they used Old Spice body spray.
  3. The target audience is young men getting to the stage of needing/wanting to use body spray to improve their scent.
  4. The ad wants the listeners to buy and use Old Spice body spray. Users will benefit by smelling good, attracting potential mates, and becoming men.
  5. The value proposition is that boys will become men with the use of Old Spice body spray. Women will begin to take notice to those that use it.


This American Life: “Keep Stories Going”


  1. This ad has an attention-grabbing eerie tune with the voice of a podcast host telling a compelling clip from a murder story to draw the listener in.
  2. The objective of the ad is to raise money for This American Life to continue to produce high quality stories for people to listen to.
  3. The target audience is anyone who enjoys listening to stories, specifically podcasts. It uses a clip from a murder story to really rope in the target audience.
  4. The ad wants the listener to donate to This American Life so that they can continue to provide high quality story telling. The listener will benefit from good stories and podcasts going forward if they support the company.
  5. The value proposition is that with more donations, This American Life can continue to provide high quality stories for listeners to entertain themselves with. These will help listeners pass the time when driving, traveling, or looking for something fun to fill up some free time.

13 thoughts on ““Greatest Marketing Campaigns” – Radio Ads

  1. Joseph Rudy says:


    You made good choices with your selection of radio advertisements and have an excellent range of different methods. I had forgotten about Dos Equis and how entertaining their commercials have been throughout the years. Dos Equis knows how to use dry humor to convey the point. Another interesting technique is when companies use the same voice actor year after year. For example, Motel 6 has been using Tom Bodett since 1986 in their radio advertisements. Immediately upon hearing his voice, I think of Motel 6 and what they have to offer. For entrepreneurs, I am not sure this is feasible, but it makes a lot of sense.

    Great work.


    • Joe,

      Thanks for the feedback. It really is an interesting technique to use the same voice actor year after year that does seem to be effective. I agree that the effectiveness probably doesn’t kick in until more and more people become familiar with the voice over time. Probably not as effective for entrepreneurs during the start up phase of their business.

  2. Hi Zach,

    Great reviews here! I think you did a better job than I did balancing facts versus your own impressions of the ads. Did you have a favorite or most compelling ad? I enjoyed the This American Life ad, but that’s probably because I already listen to their content so much.

    Looking forward to following along with more of your reviews!

    Brian G.

    • Brian,

      Thanks for the feedback. I have also listened to some of This American Life’s content so that ad definitely caught my attention. I really liked the Old Spice “Momsong” as well as it was just catchy and humorous. I’m a big fan of good humor and laughing!

  3. Katherine Pearson says:

    Great job on the ads. I find that you have to grab me at the beginning of the ad, or I am changing the channel. I am very intrigued by the podcast ad and am going to follow that. I think you chose some great ads and your reviews were easy to read and very organized.

  4. Terrie Brown says:

    Hey Zach,
    Your marketing analysis’ are spot on. I have nothing add. I really like your choice in the Citibank ad considering we are all in higher education and most likely have some collage debt. Plus it was hilarious.

  5. Hello Zach,

    I’m responding to your analysis on The American life advertisement. This ad particularly stuck to me because it starts off differently than most. I agree the use of the eerie catches most attention, but for me, it was the narrator starting the ad off with a clip from a murder story. The producers did a good job with switching it up and not necessarily making the ad just like any other advertisement. Good analysis!

  6. Ryan Glover says:


    Great choice of ads. The Dos Equis coffee ad was my favorite. Their consistent marketing technique using outlandish characteristics describing “the most interesting man in the world” is always funny to me. Your choice of ads shows how powerful humor is in marketing, because I was entertained by each of them. I also noticed all of the narrators were men and am wondering if this is strategic to what they’re selling. Great work!


  7. Hey Zach,

    Your radio analysis was thorough and precise, and I enjoyed it. The last radio ad was funny in that he didn’t finish telling the story but ended with requesting donations to help their radio program. I can recall when the Old Spice commercial came out in 2014; it is hilarious; it seems so far many of the radio ad’s I am coming across are using more humor than anything else for their emotional technique to engage the prospect.


    Stokes Warren

  8. Hi Zach,

    I like the selections, especially Motel 6 🙂 Something about the tone that is comforting. The other selections are great as well.

    The format turned out well too – I need to take some lessons from you, as I should adjust mine.

    Thanks – Ed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>