I hate being asked “Have you got an idea for (X category Client)?”
I hate it on so many different levels.
First of all… it assumes that ideas are pulled out of nowhere for a particular client. Or that you have a database of script ideas that can be applied. I used to have a client who thought I had a file of scripts that I used for “Motor Dealers” or “Double Glazing”. I do keep all my scripts, and sometime look back at them for inspiration. But it’s very rare. I need to know what I’m trying to achieve before coming up with an idea.
The second reason is, it’s the first stop for a lazy salesperson who doesn’t want to take a brief. Let’s go back to them with an idea to get them on air! NO!! Lets go back to them and find a way to help their business grow through radio advertising! Lets help them see how radio can work for them. Let’s go back to them with an idea based on where they currently are, where they need to go. The second stop is the “Category Demo Showreel”… where the client hears a dozen ads in his category and then choses one… because he thinks it’s a menu.
There are books written with ideas for scripts and promotions. They contain prescripted ideas you can even go to a website, book your airtime, enter your business name, business category and location and it will send you a “script”. Frankly the scripts are OK… but they are not meeting the clients exact business requirements. How can they? If it’s a script for a plumber the script only says “Come to us, because we’re a plumber” Not very dynamic advertising. They may be creative and sound good on air, but what is it doing for the client? On the whole, very little.
I love Dan O’Days Bad Commercial Generator… and it’s amazing how many people think it’s a genuine useful tool! But there is no short cut to writing good radio advertising. The books will help you as a writer to stimulate your mind… but it’s not a bespoke solution for a client.
As Mike Bersin says.. “The reason you see copywriters staring blankly into space (or more often, Facebook) is not that they are trying to come up with an idea… they’re trying to work out what they’re trying to have an idea about!”
I can come up with great ideas for a client.
But I need an great brief in the first place.
Give me that BEFORE we “go back to the client with some ideas”.
Then give me the time and respect to work on it!