I'm Getting Angry about Ads
The last mile of my run was ruined yesterday by an annoying ad.
It began by telling me that thirty seconds was not long enough to describe how wonderful it felt to step inside a shower manufactured by Advertiser X.
Yes it is.
Thirty seconds is quite sufficient to say: ‘I love you’, ‘War is declared’ – or in the case of Matt Hancock, ‘I’m having an affair and I’m leaving you’.
If you cannot describe how something feels in thirty seconds, you should not be writing radio ads.
What’s more, if the place you start is the duration of the ad, rather than painting the picture of how stepping into a shower feels, then you really are in the wrong business.
These sorts of scripts come from the same brains that generate scripts based around a voiceover session, using the talkback effect in studios ‘Client Y, take one’.
What sort of mind decides that setting an ad in a studio environment – one unfamiliar to most listeners – is a good idea? Not only does it simply not relate to any listener’s life – it shouts in neon lights that there is nothing authentic at all about what the voiceover is saying. They are reading a script. The latest offender was the London mayoral election campaign. But it is the last in a long line of culprits.
It’s not an original idea and it’s certainly not funny. Just stop it.
Audio is in a very exciting place. With podcasting now alongside radio, more ads are being created and inserted in all manner of audio streams. Do those suddenly thrust into the world of writing and producing commercial audio really get it?
Don’t even get me started on the ads actually promoting podcasts, when the cheery host from a podcast we don’t yet listen to says ‘hello’ and informs me of their impenetrable series title without ever troubling to seize my attention first. Ah well, they’re available wherever you find your podcasts. As opposed to where you park your car.
Next time your agency or production company prepares to write something for your brand, ask them about their relationship with audio. What inspires them in general terms about listening to radio or audio? What excites them? And what commercial creative has blown them away? Find out if they truly understand the job you're paying them to do.
Let’s remember the gift that thirty seconds of audio delivers: the ability to make something unforgettable happen in a listener’s mind. The ability to generate emotion. The ability to paint an unrivalled picture. The ability to sell.
Radio Secrets is a comprehensive guide to contemporary presentation and production techniques in all formats, from writing to delivery, across radio and podcasting.
Read this book and gain insights into:
Tight contemporary music presentation-
Developing authenticity and likeability-
Handling double-acts, callers and contests-
Understanding the audience and keeping them listening
Whether you are a newcomer or a seasoned performer, Radio Secrets is essential reading.