I was asked last week by a copywriter to have a listen to the ads that were on-air on their station and let them know what I thought, so I grabbed a sheet of paper, dialled them up on the inter-webs and started to take notes.
The exercise reminded me of a Listening Journal – and I thought that some of you might not have heard of this before – I don’t know why not – but 6 out of 10 people I spoke to in the past week hadn’t heard of it before.
Some of the on-air talent that I know use a listening journal to track their shows, noting things such as timing and songs, voice, levels, intro’s, outros, etc.
Or they listen to other stations and note how they do those shows.
But you can do the same thing with ad breaks too.
When I do this I tend to write down… Station name, time listened to (usually no more than an hour) and then something like this – note that this was taken from a listening journal created by one of the on-air team 2 weeks ago – thanks Paul for letting me use this:
4:10:54 💬TB: Stager Capital Give me the Cash
💰AD 1: TFL/Partnership
💰AD 2: QuickFit Tyres
💰AD 3: Just Eat
💰AD 4: Peppa Pig World
💰AD 5: Tesco Mobile
💰AD 6: Waggamama
💰AD 7: Corona Safety CSA
4:15:43 ⛓Out of Break Generic (Short)
I will also note down the opening line of each ad and anything about it that I liked or disliked, if it was a call to action spot, a branding spot or CSA spot.
In this ad break for example was from Capital London – they were all national ads produced by agencies.
Other stations I have listened to have nothing but local ads, others a mixture of the two, or include live reads.
I also take note of specifically timed ads or something that makes the ads stand out.
It all helps you with your writing, and you’ll discover the traps that you might fall into/fall back on – and some new ways to write that you hadn’t thought of before.
Try it – pick a station at random and listen for an hour, take note of their ads and see if they help you write better – I know it works for me.