While effectiveness is a BIG thing in any business, money that a client is willing to invest in their radio commercial should also mean that it is effective too. But how do you do it?
From the very first second of the ad you need to grab their attention.
You need to ask yourself…
Will it grab the listeners attention from the beginning?
Could it be any better if there were less words in it?
Could it deliver an effective message with some more tweaks?
Does it need something… different off the top? An attention getter?
Let’s think about print advertising, especially newspapers…
When you create a print ad you target the average 12-year-old reading level…
Why? Because that’s the average reading level of people (it’s an old piece of advice we were given when I worked for newspapers that still holds true today – although it might be lower now).
So, will the reader of your print ad hear the words in their mind as you intended them to be heard or not?
Is it too complex? Too… boring? Too much text? Too little? A lot of ‘white space’ to draw your eye to the core message? BIG BOLD TEXT?
I want you to think about the last time (or maybe it’s right now) that you listened to the radio…
Were you doing something else?
Reading a blog post?
Working at your desk?
Were you distracted?
Did a commercial you were listening to, ever make you stop and pay attention?
If it did, was it because it started with a question that was relevant to you?
Did something unexpected happen, or was there an unusual sound effect or piece of music?
When you are writing any radio commercial script, remember to start smart with something that aligns with the clients branding, yet grabs a listeners attention.
As copywriters we can make the details jump out of the listeners speakers/headphones and into the “theatre of the mind”, if we have enough time, but if we don’t have that, we need to write better, and clearer.
There here are a couple of things we can do to make them work even more effectively to let you get people’s attention faster.
THE UNEXPECTED OPENING LINE:
I really hate writing scripts that start like this “When you come to Don’s Car Yard, you’ll….”, but sometimes you’ve got to do what the client wants, no matter how much you try to educate them about what works and what doesn’t in radio.
Instead I would prefer to create something like:
“Manoeuvre your old monster down to Don’s Car Yard…” or “Tap-dance down to Don’s Car Yard…”
Why? Because the predictable is boring, the unexpected grabs your attention and makes you stop… and listen. AND, alliterations work well to make people stop and listen, especially if they are clever and unexpected.
Also, asking a simple question about a problem that everyone can identify with sets the tone for your commercial – “got a problem A – here’s the solution, it’s B!”
This is by far my favourite way to get people’s attention, then, by using action and sound effects we can help to build that picture in that “Theatre of the Mind”
THE WRAP UP:
I would like to suggest that the opening line of any commercial (print, TV or radio), should have an unexpected opening, something different that gets people’s attention, then you can go in for the details or your commercial offer.
Remembering that there should only be one idea or theme per commercial, so you need to make that opening really set the scene fast – otherwise people get confused.
Try to steer clients away from shopping list style commercials.
Why? Because it is not an effective use of their time, or their money – it just won’t work for them.
If you want to see what I mean – check out my free 319-page e-book available HERE and see some of the hard to write for categories I have covered.