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You need repetition, repetition, repetition

I’ve always been very keen on classical music, so when I’m in my car I’m in the habit of switching between Radio 3 and Classic FM.

I normally start with Radio 3 and if it gets a bit too avantgarde for my taste, I change to Classic FM. Then, when that station starts playing schmaltzy film soundtracks, I flip back to where I started.

For quite a long time now, there has been an advertising campaign on Classic FM for a cosmetic dental specialist called Dawood and Tanner. The adverts change periodically but (if my memory isn’t playing up), the basic premise is:

  1. Mozart (or another composer) was brilliant because he had passion
  2. We have huge passion for cosmetic dentistry
  3. If you want the perfect smile, choose us because your smile is our passion.


Whether I’ve remembered the structure correctly or not, it doesn’t matter. What I do know is that if I wanted to my teeth to look perfect, Dawood and Tanner is a firm I’d go and learn more about.

The reason I can recall the name of this dental firm is because I’ve heard its adverts dozens, if not hundreds, of times over the years. If I’d heard it only once, or even just a handful of times, I doubt I’d remember the company’s name at all.

Big companies know the value of repeating a message over and over again. When you hear the phrases “I’m Lovin’ It”, “Finger Lickin’ Good”, “Just Do It”, “Every Little Helps” and even “VorsprungDurchTechnik”, you know immediately which company they are associated with.

Why? Because repetition works.

Repetition works.

Repetition works.

It makes sense. Repetition is a powerful part of how we learn, whether you’re learning a new language, developing computer coding skills, brewing beer or trying to get better at almost anything.

If you’re in business, that’s an important fact to remember. If you want to get your message and your name into the minds of potential customers, you need to repeat it again and again and again.

So, if you’re running an advert in any medium don’t just budget for it to appear once. Make sure people have the chance to read, listen or see it multiple times. You’ll get a much better long-term response if you do.

But before you rush off and book 50 slots for your new ad, it’s worth knowing that too much repetition of the wrong kind can actually put customers off.

Perhaps the most famous example is the irritating opera singer in the GoCompare TV adverts. They were run so often that viewers ended up begging the company to take them off the airwaves. It did, and returned with witty adverts that referred to the fact their star character was so irritating.

In the same way, there’s an advert that’s often played on Classic FM when I’m driving around. It’s a hideous jingle based on the tune of Right Said Fred. The first verse goes:

“Right,” said Fred, “we want to help the family.

So let’s chat about releasing equity.”

Which company is it advertising? I’m afraid I can’t tell you because I’ve never listened to the end.

Each time it comes on the airwaves, I switch immediately to Radio 3.

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About Ben Locker

Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.

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