Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day 7 of 7 Tips for writing ads

Time to wrap up this little series on writing ads for radio and television. This series is from a blog post on Craig Arthur's Blog. Here's the entire series:

7 Tips for Writing Radio & Television Ads

by guest writer Sonya Winterbotham

Clutter V Clarity. It is better to tell one idea well, than to tell ten badly. Are you trying to put too much into your message? Try to strip all the information bare and find the strongest message, so you can tell that story well. Put aside all the client information that meets our expectations and go digging for that one little piece that surpasses our expectations, that piece of new information that will surprise the customer. Simplify that core message down to one sentence, even one word, than start to build your masterpiece from there. This little piece of gold is your foundation... now you can build the creative and it won't fall over.

Commercial speak is passé... My rule is simple - write the way you speak... don't follow Dorothy and Toto down the yellow brick road to Adland. Customers live in the real world - so should we. Be natural in your writing style, it's warmer, fresher and more welcoming. Think about the very basics - use contractions, use natural stumbles and hesitations (Think Big Pond's ‘Too Many Rabbits' ad), use slang, most importantly get out there and study real life and real speech.

Clinical words... I like to call words that are cold, generic or overused - clinical. These words don't contain any emotion so they don't allow the customer to create an image in their head; they simply bounce off the brain without making an impact. Clinical words are words like ‘entertainment', ‘convenient', ‘quality'. Be more specific, describe the entertainment, what makes something more convenient, why is it such good quality? Lazy, or inexperienced writers tend to use clinical words, dig deeper, find a word or a way to give it meaning.

Be succinct... When time is critical, every word must earn its place. You're not writing an essay; in fact, you're writing style needs to be the opposite. The message needs to be delivered in a short sharp manner. Short sentences can carry a massive amount of impact, just think about the most famous speeches in history - It is those short powerful statements that we spit out and quote for decades.

Remember the elements - In writing for radio and television, a breath, a pause, music, sound effects are all just as important as the words themselves. Don't sacrifice these things in order to ‘squeeze' in another line. A good ad is good because every element is just right. The script wasn't rushed, or maybe it was because that's how you wanted it; the music played the role it needed to play; the sound effects had time to establish the feel. The visuals didn't overpower the audio. Don't underestimate the power of good delivery, because bad delivery can change the effectiveness of the entire commercial... lose it and you've just lost a customer.

Enough about me, let's talk about me. As a business owner often the biggest hurdle you'll face in advertising is - well, YOU. Advertisers want to do two things - One; talk about themselves, Two; decide whether ‘they' like the commercial not whether their customers will connect. Don't get trapped into writing about you, you need to write for the customer. Give the customer a reason to buy.

"I am the greatest"... So it may have worked for Cassius Clay all those years ago. Being ‘great' or ‘the best' even ‘better than the rest' are now advertising clichés. Statements of divine grandeur lack belief, because they lack qualification. Don't make a claim if you can't back it up with reasons, establish the claim and you will make it real.

Other articles by Sonya, Protect Every Inch of Your Brand.

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