Bad Radio Commercial Writing and How to Make it Better


I was asked to do a spec spot recently. In case you’ve never heard that term, it’s a radio commercial written and produced for a client who doesn’t know he’s a client yet.

Like builders sometimes put up houses on spec (speculation) radio salespeople call on business owners, and as part of their pitch, they offer to have a spec spot produced so the client can hear how good his radio commercial will sound, should he choose to purchase air time.

A good friend at a local radio station thought of me for a spec for one of her potential clients. She had the spot written by a sales assistant and emailed it over to me to voice, and I was to email it back to the station production person so he could put sound effects and music under it for presentation to the potential client.

That’s when the laughter started. The title of this article gives you a clue…think of all the Billy-Big-Voice, reverb-laden commercials you’ve heard in your life, telling you about an event you just CAN’T miss, and it’s this Friday…Friday…Friday!!!

Yes, the writing was that bad. The 60 second script had about 75 seconds of copy and there were at least 5 different ideas going on. I called my friend. She had questioned the sales assistant about the odd choice of style and was told it was all she could come up with. My friend and I completely re-wrote the spot, removing the cliches, tightening up the copy, and focusing the message to one strong one instead of the three different messages in the original script.

The secret to a good radio commercial is really no secret: relate to the listener, use vivid, descriptive language, keep the copy short, keep the message focused on one thought, include a call to action, and sell the benefit the listener will get by using this client’s service.

Meanwhile, the spec spot is done. I hope it helps my friend land her new account. I know it sounds better without all that Friday…Friday…Friday!!!


Source by Sandy Weaver Carman

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