The brief is the key to a great radio ad. Here are some doís and doníts.
DONíT brief at the last minute. Radio ads may be quick to produce, but they need just as much time as TV scripts.
DONíT use a copy of the print or TV ad as a brief. Relate the radio brief back to the core idea.
DONíT be afraid to ask the media buyers to change the ad length. 30 seconds is a default not a necessity - the length of your ad may not be apparent until after it is written.
DO express the core idea in a couple of sentences. Focus on the productís main benefit.
DO get rid of any other unnecessary information, it confuses writers and if it reaches the ad it will eventually confuse the listeners too.
DO avoid including mandatories. In radio every line carries the same weight.
Radio is good at enhancing a brandís share of mind. Thatís because it plays a vital role in supporting and extending other media.
UK & Australian studies found that redeploying 10% of a TV budget onto radio, raised brand awareness an average of 15%. This effect has been largely attributed to the fact that radio reaches audiences from morning to early evening.
TV and radio work in different ways. Radio is an intimate medium and the creative needs to reflect that difference.
Use consistent theme music, voice overs or sonic brand triggers for TV and Radio synergy.
Remember that radio also works very well with the Internet and effectively drives consumers to websites for information that would be too detailed to outline on air.
Scripts: radio is a difficult medium to write for, so here are a few handy tips.
Make sure your script runs to time - time scripts by reading them out loud.
Understand the environment. People tune in for entertainment and for company. Ads that yell provide neither of these things.
Speak the listenerís language. Avoid marketing-speak, clichťs and above all use conversational language Ė itís more believable to the listener.
Engage and entertain listeners with intriguing opening lines and genuinely funny comedy.
Make scripts relevant - don't just tack a product onto the end of a gag.
Keep it simple. Simplicity is even more necessary on radio because youíre limited to sound - make sure the communication is clear.
Judging: as a client, the final decision on a script comes down to you.
A good idea can often be described in a couple of lines, if it relies heavily on elements of production, question whether or not the core idea is strong enough.
Insist that the script is read aloud. Thereís a big difference between how a script looks on the page and how it sounds.
Make sure the product/brand is central to the idea. A generic idea with the product relegated to the last 5 seconds wonít make a lasting impression with the listener.
Advertisers often use a particular ad as a benchmark to judge creative. Itís important to compare the creative with existing ads, but make sure you donít end up with a Ďme tooí idea.
Get feedback from someone who isnít involved - they arenít close to the project so are more likely to give you an objective opinion.
Thorough casting and pre-prod will improve the quality of your ads and save you time and money.
Ensure the cast, engineer and director are fully briefed and prepared.
Casting is the most important component of pre-production because the voice sets the tone for the commercial.
Be open to the casting process and allow time for it in production schedules. Create cut-through by casting Ďrealí sounding people and more unusual voice-over artists.
Fully brief the studio engineer - give them a copy of the script before the recording day, so they can source sound effects or arrange for recording on location.
Make sure the studio and director have a clear production schedule to avoid mix-ups and delays.
The director: makes sure the script is executed in a way that gets the most out of the idea - ensuring that the script will translate well onto radio and providing feedback to creatives.
In the studio, the director is the link between the actor and the production team. By channelling and filtering feedback, the director provides a clear vision and communicates it to the actors.
Directors should avoid giving line readings. Describe the emotion and let the actors interpret it. Introduce changes slowly so that the voiceover becomes familiar with the script.
Finally, a good director is responsive to feedback from actors, the engineer or the writer and has the flexibility to make changes that are practical, effective and legal.
Media: the writer needs to know exactly where and when the media is being placed. This allows them to tailor the creative to what the listener is doing.
Burnout is also a major listener complaint. Rule of thumb is to introduce a second execution when a media schedule achieves 3 or 4 OTH.
Where the spot falls in a break is also important. Book the first and last ad in a break is one technique, but if the listener needs to remember one spot in order to understand the second, itís better to space the two ads a little closer.