Dan O’Day is a great, reasoned, sensible thinker on radio advertising. He developed the Certified Professional Commercial Copywriter course for the RAB in the USA (I was the first person to qualify outside of Texas!!)
Here are some of his wise words… Click here.
I wrote about wanting “funny radio commercial”. You can read it here. If you DO write a funny radio commercial (and there’s no need NOT to if the humour comes from the brief… and lots of reason TO, because humour can really engage the audience), there’s some really handy hints from Dan O’Day in this short video.
Remember, if you get a good brief, think about whether a humorous approach is the right one.
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!
Can you come up with a great idea for a removal company?
I first met Dan O’Day about 15 years ago. I had heard his name mentioned by programmers and I thought that his main seminar program was all about training presenters. I soon began reading pieces he’s written on radio advertising. Dan showed a passion for getting results for clients. Many sales operations forget that the best sale is the resale… that is the client that books again because the radio advertising works for them. Many radio sales operations I know focus on getting the client “on air”… as long as the client “likes his ad” that’s all that matters… give him what he wants! Reading Dan’s Advertising Letters and reading his advice online at http://www.danoday.com
has helped me to concentrate on “getting the advertising to work”.
In around 2000 I completed the course he wrote for the RAB in the USA.. the Certified Professional Commercial Copywriter Course. I was the first person outside of the USA to get the qualification (according to the RAB the first person outside of Texas!). I learned many new things, but also things I already knew were organized logically, and received wisdom was challenged. (For example the section on client voiced commercials opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about it, when most radio writers threw their hands up in despair at the mere mention.) I am about to put 2 of my staff through the course, because it’s as relevant today… and in Kenya… as it was 10 years ago in the UK.
I’ve since been fortunate to attend his seminars in both Paris and London… enjoyed a car journey with him from Bristol to Northampton, and kept updated by his blog on both his travels, thoughts on advertising, and his experiences around the world.
If you are a radio advertising copywriter at a radio station or at an agency, take the CPPC course. It’s around $350 from the RAB. Also, sign up for his advertising email.
If you’re a client or a sales person read some of his articles and advice, even take the CPCC to get the insight on how radio advertising works.
If you are a radio station owner, book him for Advertising seminars for your commercial team.
You may not agree with EVERYTHING he says, but you will at least be able to organize your thoughts and formulate your opinions based on clear arguments and discussion.