04/20/2012: "How To Write Radio Commercials That Really Stink"
I write many radio commercials and have for decades. Most of them are what we call straight reads or dry reads. That simply means theyíre written to be read in a very straight forward manner, no music and no dialogue, no trying to be funny or particularly entertaining. The wonderful thing about these radio spots is that they sell my clientís products and services exceptionally well.
There are a few clients who want a "funny" script and others who would like to hear their product or service advertised in a dialogue or conversation.
Letís first look at the funny script. Fact is, whatís funny to me may offend someone else. Or, it just might not be at all funny to them. People respond differently to humor. So, it safer and smarter to avoid it in a radio ad. Itís OK to try it out if you have the money to invest in trial and error.
There are a few very good humorous scripts. But, not many. Most just sound like noise. And nothing is worse than someone trying to be funny. Funny, to be really funny, should be spontaneous.
Now to the dialogue script.
The dialogue script is when two people are discussing the clientís product or service. Most such spots stink. Really bad. They sound amateurish and artificial. No one spends sixty seconds talking about a business and wonderful offers and telling aunt Mary the phone number three times.
Now, for a successful dialogue script youíll write a script that has nothing to do with the product or service, a script thatís pure entertainment. People will listen. Then, at the end, tack on how that relates to the product. Very few scripts today do that, however. Itís not easy to write that sort of script. Thatís why I charge a good deal more for it. Few people can write one. But, itís the only type of dialogue script that works. All others just suck.
How about a music bed in your script. Music is ok. But it adds nothing to the sales message. I use music rarely and only when I feel it will enhance the script. Radio people try too hard to be too creative. In the process, they create commercials that stink.
Finally, if you want to make your radio commercial really suck, have the client read it! Yuck. Naturally he or she thinks she can do a great job of it. They think their voice is as good as a professional announcerís. When I hear the local plumber read his script I start laughing at his Kansas twang and his way of talking like a goon bird. Whoever let him read that script did him no favor other than build up his ego a bit.
By the way, I too have a Kansas twang. So, I can laugh. You canít.
Have your commercial read by a pro. Every time. Let the professionals help you sell your product or services. Do-it-yourself just doesnít work in business.
Radio commercials are a great supplement to your advertising plan. They shouldnít be the whole plan in most cases. But theyíll get business for you if theyíre well written and professionally delivered. And, of course, if you donít try to be cute or outlandish with your spots. Leave that to the television writers who write the weekly comedy shows. Of course, they wonít let Joe the plumber read their words either.