A grocery store must advertise to increase awareness, create direct response advertising and fortify its branding efforts, with the ultimate goal of getting more people to come through the door. Radio is a popular for grocery stores because it has the ability to reach a large audience in a short period of time.

Why Radio?

Roughly 93 percent of consumers over the age of 12 listen to the radio each week according to research group Arbitron, and 96 percent of those who drove or rode in a car during a one-month span listened to the radio. Conventional AM and FM radio are free and therefore easily accessible, making radio a solid choice for grocery store advertising. It also contributes to branding over the course of time.

Radio is a good medium for direct response advertisements -- a type of ad that elicits an immediate response. That's why radio is a good way to advertise a grocer's weekly sale or another short-lived promotion. Radio, often dubbed “the theater of the mind,” is an important part of a larger advertising campaign because of its ability to easily reach and impact people in their everyday lives.

Dialogue Ads

Many grocery stores use dialogue-based script to advertise sales, specials or in-store promotions. A dialogue radio ad is akin to listening in on a conversation.


Voice One: Lisa, I loved your chicken pot pie from the other night. Voice Two: Thank you. I got the freshest Porcini mushrooms from Lombardi’s in La Jolla yesterday. They were only 99 cents per pound! And they had the most amazing selection of olive oil I've ever seen. Voice One: I bet any one of those olive oils would be divine with a little vinegar and a slice of hot bread right out of the oven. Voice Two: I'll get some olive oil and vinegar next time I'm there. That'll be a great appetizer for Jenny's graduation party. Isn't Lombardi’s a wonderful market? They import fresh from Italy!

The dialogue then cuts to a brief voiceover with important information about the grocery store: name and location, as well as the website address if time allows. Ideally, your radio ad should mention your grocery store name in the beginning of the ad and near the end of the script. For direct response ads, it’s a good idea to let your customers know when the sale concludes to make the most of your return on investment. Practice your format ahead of time to make sure everything is covered within the maximum length of your spot.

Voiceover Ads

Voiceover radio advertisements are ideal for grocery stores that want to cover all the basic and most important information, free from any gimmicks. A voiceover is a type of ad style where a voice reads off basic information about the store.

For example: “Lombardi’s is known for the freshest and most delicious imported foods from anywhere in San Diego. With over 30 years of purveying the highest-quality imported foods from Italy, Lombardi’s is recognized for its authentic pastas, sausages and desserts. It’s no wonder the Weaver Review rates Lombardi’s as the best specialty market in San Diego. This week, come enjoy free samples of our premium Napoleon balsamic vinegar paired with our exquisite extra virgin olive oil imported from Lucca, Italia. Served with the freshest baked bread in all of San Diego! Lombardi's is La Jolla’s hidden gem, located on the corner of Torrey Pines and Prospect Place just off the 15.”

As with all radio ads, a voiceover advertisement should conclude with the most critical store information such as name and location, as well as the website if time allows.

Cost and Intimacy

Radio is more intimate than most other media -- it's people talking to people, and it can use emotion more effectively. It can also be a better buy -- for the cost of one newspaper ad, your store can get multiple radio ads (the number depends on the size of the market and the time of day you want to run the ad). Radio ads cost far less to produce than television ads and can be generated more quickly, allowing you to target a particular audience and update your advertising campaign quickly to reflect changing circumstances.

Other Advertising Ideas: Television

Grocery stores turn to the power of television to further increase exposure and awareness. Americans spend roughly five hours each day watching TV. Ninety-nine percent of all households have a television in their homes. A marketing mix often includes television advertising because of its ability to reach a large audience by sight, sound, color, motion and emotion. Grocery stores can target their ideal demographic by selecting where television ads appear. An Italian grocery store can advertise spots on television shows like Food Network’s “Giada at Home” to reach individuals interested in Italian foods or “The View” to find new customers in the female demographic, ages 18-49. As a complement to radio advertising, grocery stores use TV as a solid medium to further increase awareness, promote sales and create branding over time.