1. A successful commercial always has focus
What can you do in ten seconds? What can you do in twenty seconds? What can you do in thirty seconds? Well, rather a lot just so long as you don’t overstretch yourself. A radio or TV commercial that tries to sell everything actually sells very little!
- Less is more, be concise, be focussed!
- Simple is always better.
- One idea per commercial.
Want to target trade customers and domestic customers? Create two separate radio commercials. That way you can split the information and give a stronger emphasis than you’d be able to achieve in a single radio commercial. Rather than cram multiple messages into one commercial (and leaving very little room for creativity) surely it is better to split them into separate commercials that are better targeted at the correct audience? Be concise, don’t waffle. Be focused, don’t try to do too much.
2. A great commercial talks to the right audience
Knowing your target market is key to creating a successful radio or TV commercial; it dictates everything from music choice to voice-casting, to style and selection of language to use on the radio. Get these factors wrong and you may end up alienating the very people you wish to attract. Very few businesses can boast a broad, mass appeal. You might think you want to trade with everyone, but does everyone want to trade with you?
Let’s say you’re an independent jewellery shop catering for the high-end of the market; would you prefer 1000 people to visit your store, spending nothing, or 5 people to visit spending a grand each? That’s the difference between trying to target a large number of people, most of whom can’t afford your stock and so ignore your commercial entirely, and targeting those few specific customers who can afford and are very willing to spend big bucks with your business.
3. Successful advertising uses the correct tone of voice – radio or TV
The right tone of voice can invite, excite, reassure the listener; it can enhance the attractiveness of your product or service. Striking the right tone is crucial.
There are the obvious ones; bright and enthusiastic tones for products aimed at children. Serious and direct tones to convey a drink-driving message. Warm and inviting tones to attract listeners to the good-old country pub. And then there are those products or services that need more thought. Take the funeral home; somber, solemn tones might spring to mind. But wouldn’t someone who has just lost a loved-one be better reached with a more positive, reassuring tone?
Many new radio advertisers want big, they want attention grabbing, they want… shouty! There’s a big difference between ‘the hard sell’ and ‘the desperate shout’. The hard sell uses a strong, urgent tone with stress on the words that will make the most impact – the shout just sounds annoying. You wouldn’t shout at a customer face to face; so don’t do it on the radio!
4. A great radio ad is always underwritten
“I’m paying for a 30 second advertisement, I should make the most of my investment by including as many details as possible”. Please don’t. We seem to encounter this view a lot, but it happens to be completely counterproductive. If a voiceover isn’t given room to breathe and just has to gabble through the script, how on earth is the listener going to absorb it all?
Let’s be blunt, the listener doesn’t want to listen to a commercial, they are willing to hear to a commercial. If you’re talking to the listener in clear, concise, smoothly paced way then they will be more likely to take the message in and act upon it. Under-writing is the key to this. If you’ve bought a thirty second spot, write a twenty-five second script!
5. A successful commercial only includes one response mechanism
Too often an advertiser will want to cover all their bases by putting in multiple methods of contact. The result? Confused listeners! If you want to make it clear to the listener how they should respond to the commercial, then you should just present them with one simple method of response. You want footfall? Focus on your location. You want people to find out more? Keep repeating your web address. You want phone enquiries? Just give your phone number.
6. A successful commercial is transparent
You wouldn’t lie to your customers face to face, so why mislead in a commercial? As well as the creative side to radio production there is of course the legal side too. You don’t want something to be interpreted in the wrong way. Depending on context, use of the words ‘biggest’, ‘exclusive’, ‘best’ will most likely require substantiation to ensure they are true. Make a conscious effort to represent yourself accurately in your commercial.
7. A successful commercial uses music wisely
Advertisers have long used music to help set the tone of their commercials, and evoke the desired response from listeners. Advertising a sale? Then use music with a sense of urgency to excite and motivate your target audience. Advertising a spa? Include a slow, ambient backing track to create a sense of escapism and relaxation. Music can be used to enhance your message, but it can do much more than this. It can convey the things you don’t have time to say.
8. A successful commercial uses sound effects wisely
If you have something interesting to say then people will listen to it. A well-chosen sound effect used in the right way can add a layer of atmosphere, it can generate humour, underline a point or place characters in a scene (saving you precious time having to use the voices to establish the location or situation).
9. A successful commercial makes the best use of scheduling
The key advantage of broadcast media is the ability to schedule a commercial at a specific time of day to ensure it is heard by the most suitable audience:
A Kitchen Company? Schedule the commercial during breakfast time when people are in the kitchen. A Car Dealer? Schedule the commercial during drive-time when people are in their car. A Family Attraction? Schedule it during the school run when all the family can take notice. A Restaurant? Schedule it during the day when people are making plans!
10. A successful commercial is part of a well structured campaign
Too often a radio campaign is a hurried affair, a last-minute dash to cram some selling points into a single radio commercial and hope for the best. Successful campaigns think long term. If you are going to be a regular advertiser then you need to give yourself an on air identity. Build a brand. For continuity you could use the same announcer voice or music on each commercial. Create a strapline? Use characters? Incorporate a jingle or sonic ident? There are many ways of turning a single commercial into a continuous campaign.