Greg Lowe of CKBW/CJHK writes:
“Our sales department really enjoyed Tuesday’s's radio branding seminar. We actually started branding for many of our clients a couple of years ago. More and more seem to be going in that direction. Here’s one that just hit our airwaves last month….It’s one of our best. What do you think?”
It’s a lovely, genuinely moving radio advertisement.
Here are a few things that could improve it.
1. If you’re locked into a 30-second spot, you need to edit more. “Branding” requires more than sticking your name somewhere on the commercial. This needs some sort of Call To Action — even if it’s only implied (e.g., by including the Web address, if that’s the most common first contact for prospects, or by alluding to the physical location).
If there were more time, you could tell the story and then invite the targeted listener to respond:
“Provincial Hearing Services, on Hillcrest at Dufferin.” (Thanks, Google Maps.)
But I’d hate to lose the emotional impact at the end of the commercial.
(WOMAN) And tears started rolling down her face.
(ANNOUNCER) Provincial Hearing Services, on Hillcrest at Dufferin. Enhancing people’s lives.
(OPERA VOICE — the one note that ends the original version of the spot)
If you move the announcer tag to the end and have the opera singer’s solo note as the last sound in the commercial, that sung note punctuates both the “sales message” and the emotional thread of the story.
Also, placing the advertiser’s name at the end would tie it in to the emotional connection the story has established. Saying it 2 seconds into the advertisement, however, squanders the time because at that point there is no emotional experience to be associated with the advertiser.
2. By following the standard (and usually ineffectual) structure of having an announcer interrupt the storyteller to identify the person who’s speaking, you also interrupt the very story you’re attempting to tell.
In the original version, the placement of the announcer’s voice immediately dampens the listener’s memory of the story’s opening line.
Notice how much stronger it is if you just let her tell her story:
Here’s a quickly edited version of the story you just heard:
I removed 5 seconds from the story, thereby freeing up an additional 5 seconds for the announcer to make the connection at the end.
That’s 5 seconds of a 30-second radio commercial. Did the story sound weaker? Did you miss anything that had been in the original version?
3. If you ignore all of the advice I’ve given so far, at least do this one thing: Replace the “Radio DJ” voice with a gentle (not faked sincere, but honestly gentle and respectful) voice.
I know the jock who voiced the part is wincing now. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be on the spot. In fact, I’m saying the opposite: Those words should be spoken by the genuine human being I’m sure that announcer really is.
P.S. Registration for the world’s most advanced radio copywriting course now is open.