These days I am not spending so much time blogging on my own site, but doing it for work… here are a few you may have missed!
My latest blog on the Get Carter Productions website I talk about my love of work by Douglas Adams. If you’ve not heard any of his radio work… find it!!
There has been a bit of talk recently about “3D Radio Adverts”.
Is it the latest “fad” or the future of radio production?
Here’s my take on it!
The Tardis is Doctor Who’s vehicle for getting around in time and space. From the outside it is the size of an old UK police box, inside it’s a massive maze of rooms. Even the Doctor hasn’t explored the entire Tardis. A thirty second radio ad is not a Tardis. I have once or twice asked clients to read scripts back to me over the phone (at the pace they want their amended script read) and time them. On one occassion the 30″ I had written had changed into a 70″ ad. But he assured me it was still a 30″.
You have to time your script out loud and leave time for sound effects.
A word count on the computer is useful… but it’s just a guide until you time it properly.
Read it with any music you’ve chosen. You could be 2 seconds or more over time on a slow piece of music
If you read it out loud and it comes to 39″. Congratulations you’ve written a 40.
If it’s 35 seconds… what can you cut out that’s not needed to make it a 30…. or what will make it BETTER and a 40?
If the client has revised it, is it STILL the duration you timed? Edit edit edit.
Before you ask….YES the Voice Over can go a bit quicker. But probably not THAT quick and it will sound rubbish. Make sure it’s right before you go into the studio.
BUY A STOPWATCH. They’re not expensive.
You are not selling suits in just one size.
If it needs to be longer OR shorter when the scripts have been written tell your client why it may not be a bog standard 30.
Learn about the advantages of longer commercials, more creative commercials and most importantly commercials that communicate and sell.
If you want to say more, if you want to mention something else (“… not to mention”) then, if you don’t want to damage your ad, ask for another script. The more you cram in the less effective your communication becomes.
Read it out loud. Project slightly. Time it!
It’s a bit over written.
Thanks for getting me out of a hole with your skills!
Radio commercials that win advertising awards are not always great effective radio ads. Sometimes they’re written just to win awards and may only get broadcast once, late at night, to qualify. Some radio ads have won gongs but not had any measurable result for the client… and some have.
Many year ago I wrote some ads using the voice of the late great Brian Glover…. based on an idea by the late great Mike Hurley. It was for a real client to sell a real car… and I didn’t know it was being entered into the London International Advertising Awards. I got a finalist certificate and was so pleased. It’s nice to be recognised in what can sometime feel like an industry where there is little recognition for the lowly copywriters and producers.
I have been recently asked on to the Grand Jury of the New York Festivals and I am very excited to be judging in the radio section. So what will I be looking for? I guess they will give us criteria… but personally I want a combination of these..
1. I want to be surprised where the ad takes me.
2. I want to hear people who understand and use the medium of sound.
3. I want to be held for the full duration of the ad.
4. I want to be moved emotionally or changed in my thinking.
5. I want to laugh or cry.
It’s been a long time since I wrote here.
But a LOT has happened.
January last year we had a baby boy. Alex is now 1 year old.
We also relocated back to the UK. It was a big move, especially for my wife who’s now getting used to the English winter weather, short days and different foods.
Since January 2015 I am working for a company called Get Carter Productions. Get Carter are one of the top independent producers of radio commercials in the UK. I’ve already done some nice national campaigns.
Opening a new chapter is very exciting…. watch this space.
Recently I had a mail from a former colleague from way back in the day. He is high up in sales for a radio group. I asked him who did his creative and he told me they use external production houses…. “It’s MUCH cheaper” he told me.
Mmmm. Lets look at that. A few years ago I was working as a freelancer at a radio station and we went out to see a client. We took a brief. Nothing different to what you may have to do with an external production house. The sales person kind of expected that the client would buy one ad to run on her station for a month. But we took more briefs, wrote around a dozen ads, and presented them to the client. We developed the relationship with that client, honed and worked on the creative and then they dropped the bombshell. They loved them so much wanted to run all the ads, in all the areas where they were launching their product. Suddenly an order that was maybe ten thousand pounds because hundreds of thousands. Creative and Sales working together can get clients to spend that would not have done so, it increases spend… it MORE than justifies having a Creative on the team…. if IF you do it right. IF you don’t see a writer as just a factory to make ads. In 2 visits I justified the salary of a Creative for the next 20 years. One Creative Consultant I know went into a radio station and worked out that every year the Creative Team added around a million pounds to the station that they would not have written without the onsite writers. I’m not sure HOW he worked it out, but I can believe it.
The UKRD Group has caught on to this and have employed Mike Bersin, putting site writers into their radio stations. Writers who can write multiple ad campaigns, who can present creative with confidence, and who have a wealth or radio experience. There are some big names and people who I hugely respect working at some UKRD stations now. I wish them well with it. They deserve to do big things.
As for production houses, there’s still a need for them. Healthy competition is a good thing. Agencies have choice, clients have choice and smaller stations that cant afford a production facility have an option. But if you want to see growth in sales, get a writer!
How many writers? Good question. Wouldn’t it be interesting if every sales person had a dedicated creative? I can only dream.
For more on Mike Bersin and his methods for increased Radio Station revenues, read these books!
The Creative Led Sell: The Definitive Guide to the Easiest and Most Effective Way to Sell Radio Advertising
Taking the Brief: A Simple Guide to Getting Great Briefs for Ads That Will Make the Client Money
Make More Money: A Business Users Guide to Creating Radio Ads That Increase Sales, Turnover and Profit.