The Double-Edged Sword of the Radio Ad Disclaimer

free-vector-antenna-and-radio-waves-clip-art_117043_Antenna_And_Radio_Waves_clip_art_hightIn the past few days we’ve received a handful of comments about Butler’s radio advertisements, specifically the wordy disclaimers at the end of each commercial.  At least one gentleman said the disclaimers send his blood pressure sky-high.  Others who chimed in said they wonder why dealerships include disclaimers at all because the often sped-up jargon makes dealerships appear shady.

In fact, disclaimers exist for the opposite reason.  The Federal Trade Commission requires dealers (and anyone else who advertises on the radio) to follow certain guidelines and include specific information to keep the message from being deceptive.  The reason that portion of the commercial often runs at a faster pace than the rest is that there’s frequently so much information in the disclaimer (including stock numbers and dates, which take longer to read) that there isn’t time after the ad’s main message is recorded to voice it at the same pace. Radio stations sell air time in increments of seconds like  10, 15, 30, or 60.  If an ad’s copy (or script) runs 50-seconds that leaves just 10-seconds for the disclaimer.  If we were so inclined we could edit the copy to leave more room for the disclaimer but we figure you’d rather hear about the discounted prices and rebates we’re offering than listen to us reel off a list of stock numbers.

As the voice of Butler Auto I have recorded many an auto commercial complete with painfully long disclaimers, and I can tell you that from a creative and aesthetic point of view we wish we could go without them.  Imagine painting a beautiful picture only to be told you have to slap a disclaimer sticker on it… it ruins the aesthetic.  But as an ethical company Butler understands the importance of the information included in the disclaimer.  Ultimately it’s there for YOUR protection.  Maybe knowing that will affect how you hear them from now on.


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