OVER THE WALL (Building Blocks of Local Radio-TV Copy)

Home | Audio Magazine | Stereo Review magazine | Good Sound | Troubleshooting

Most advertisers have a lot of things they want to tell their potential customers, and if you take their instructions at face value nobody is going to get rich and famous--not your client, not your listener, not you.

Local advertisers, in particular, are newspaper oriented, a habit built from years of relying on the local paper to bring in customers for weekend sales. It is true that people read the newspapers for news and information, and sales with lots of facts and figures are legitimate subjects to treat as news. The trouble is, when this type of material is transformed into radio and TV copy, it becomes a dull, boring wall of words. Adman/humorist Stan Freberg says that people have an invisible switch in their minds that they click off when such commercials come on the air.

I like to say that newspaper copy sells for today, but radio/Tv copy sells for every day. In an ad budget, they both have a place, but we're concerned here with how to handle the copy for every day.

We said in the last section that every commercial has to start with an idea. A corollary to that is: Every commercial should focus on one idea.

One idea. That's a basic difference between your typical newspaper ad and a good radio or TV commercial.

Newspaper ads can be crammed with copy and ideas. But radio commercials don't sit around in the living room all day, to be picked up and referred to again and perhaps again. You have to make your central selling idea stick--the first time.

In order to be heard, understood, and remembered, use single-purpose, single-idea sentences. Build premise on premise, promise on promise, benefit on benefit, all adding up to the one Central Selling Idea.

Use short sentences. Direct, forceful verbs. Concrete nouns. Then, when you're through, read your commercial aloud. This will help you catch any tongue twisters or awkward consonant combinations. (More about the specifics of copy technique in a later section. ) So. You start with a single idea that promises a benefit.

You phrase it so it is memorable, to the point, and believable. You make it easy to understand because people listen to commercials with only half an ear, when they listen at all. And you make it interesting, so they'll be compelled to listen.

Of course, the idea of the benefit itself should be interesting. If it is interesting enough, you don't need this book. On the other hand, when Volkswagen had the most economical, most practical, and least obnoxious car on the road, they also had the most interesting advertising campaign. Somebody asked an agency to give them a campaign like Volkswagen. The agency replied, "Give me a product like Volkswagen." Interesting products make it a lot easier to write interesting ads. It takes imagination to write interesting ad copy on white goods or snow tires. I assume that you have an imaginative bent, or you wouldn't be in this business in the first place.

Just remember that no matter how much information an advertiser wants to cram into every commercial, all he is interested in is one thing: RESULTS. Radio and TV commercials get results when they vibrate with a single interesting, believable idea that promises a benefit to the consumer.


Prev. | Next || Index

Top of Page  |  Home

Updated: Thursday, 2020-11-26 9:57 PST