- Radio Commercial Scripts and Production
Since I’m in the business of providing radio commercial scripts and production, it seemed like a good idea to create a radio ad to sell my services.
So that’s what I did. It was great being my own client, except for the part where I had to pay for the airtime. Plus recording studio time, and, of course, the voice talent. At least my actor buddies let me hire them at scale. And I voiced the end tag–with a phone number, I’m sorry to say, that is no longer my phone number.
It felt a little strange to pay to bray about my prowess at creating radio ads.
But it was the perfect way to not just make wild claims, but to prove those claims to the entire San Francisco Bay Area in the very spot I was airing.
So I tooted my own horn.
Hey, I’m in advertising after all.
Funnily enough, it worked.
Every time the ad played, my phone rang.
One of those calls was from the publicity manager for Beach Blanket Babylon. I wound up writing a few scripts for Steve Silver.
Other leads shook out.
Here’s my radio commercial to sell my radio commercials. Let me know what you think.
“Hal’s Hall of Humiliation”
Our Radio Ad Script Holiday Spree Continues with Scrooge in Blue
All right, we’ve beaten Scrooge to death for Christmas. So now let’s dig him back up and resurrect him into a traffic cop.
As you’re struggling to do your last minute shopping, your budget may get blown just paying for parking if you live downtown. So, once again this freelance copywriter charged into the holiday retail breach to sell shoppers on the idea of coming out to the mall, where shopping is free and easy.
In fact, this spot goes so far as to make a parking spot seem like the perfect gift.
Only to have officer Scrooge snatch it away…Play it now:
“Park! The Herald Angels Sing”
Just what you wanted for Christmas: more wonderful holiday radio commercial scripts!
And I’m happy to oblige. In fact we’ve stepped up our copywriting services for this most wonderful time of the year.
To commence the festivities, we’ll turn to radio spots of Christmas Past and finish what we started last year by bringing Ebenezer Scrooge back for a sequel performance on behalf of Stonestown Shopping Center in Daly City, California.
In our last radio commercial script episode, Santa gave Scrooge some push-back on shutting down the holidays.
But Ebeneezer is circling back with another anti-joy ploy. How odd to be employed at Yuletide to channel the holiday’s most dedicated opponent for the purpose of driving more people to come, celebrate, spend–and give…
“Scrooge’s Christmas List”
Next time, a modern Scrooge in uniform tries to dampen holiday shopping spirits…
Subscribe now and don’t miss out on the Xmas drear!
Here are a few Bridgestone Tire TV commercials that were finalists at the annual Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
The first two spots, “Scream” and “Obstacle,” combine fun and simplicity of message with a dramatization of the product’s benefits, which are the maneuverability the tires add to your driving experience, which in turn translates to safety and, at times, driving fun.
However, these are benefits offered by any new car tire. Why buy Bridgestone? Nothing non-generic is alluded to. So we’re left with, “Hey, we’re the fun, ‘creative’ tire company. Doesn’t that just make you want to plunk down several hundred dollars and bet your life on us?”
The third award-winning tv commercial script goes even farther off track.
This one shows a dog getting inside a tire and running in it like a rat in a wheel through his doggy streets and world. It has some of the charm of Babe: Pig in the City. Starts at about 1:20. But again, besides implying that your tire is the stuff of fairy tales and animal stories, I’m not sure this is going to drive a financial and personal safety decision.
Cannes seems to applaud tv scripts and commercials that are cinematic but not necessarily commercial.
I guess a lot of their film accolades go the same way. I like movies that come to a moving and meaningful conclusion. And I love tv commercial scripts and spots that move me to buy.
The only bone I can throw the Cannes Lion is that these spots were not the winners.
They were merely ranked in the top 10% of 4,600 entries from around the world. So these spots were 3 among more than 460. Not an amazing distinction. Even before you actually view them.
Of course, maybe I’m all wrong about his. In which case I’d enjoy learning why these are great television commercials.
The dead-weight tagline my client imposed was the gift that kept on giving this freelance copywriter more concepts.
My freelance client, Handy Andy, handed me the slogan, “Nobody but nobody sells for less.” In a previous post I described how the constraints of working with this burdensome line actually gave wing to quite decent concepts for radio and television commercial scripts.
I asked myself questions along the lines of:
Who could sell for less?
Well, a crook could sell for less. So I had fun scripting radio and TV spots dramatizing that.
I asked myself:
If nobody sells for less, how do other stores compete?
Here’s my answer:
When the client wanted concepts and copy for yet more television spots to drive home their promise, I asked myself:
Who doesn’t care that nobody sells for less?
The answer was someone who’s too dumb to understand the benefit or someone who’s just too rich to care.
So I scripted a spot set in a big box store where an actual dummy is shopping and runs into another customer who’s actually made out of money. Quite surreal. The bills were blooming out of the aristocrat’s shirt. The dummy’s arm flew off when he proudly exclaimed he didn’t care about low prices.
The ads worked, so my client kept asking me to ask myself more questions, so I could turn around and script more commercials.
Since I was getting paid and the ads were working, I was happy to ask myself:
Who cares too much that nobody but nobody sells for less?
Here’s some of the fun I had answering myself…
“Big Chill Anniversary Sale”
I could go on and on.
But you get the ear picture.
Ad Campaign development for Handy Andy Appliances Continued
In a previous post I explored how creative confinement actually led to creative liberation. Having the rather ordinary tagline “Nobody but nobody sells for less.” actually freed me to explore every way that claim could be contradicted and proved.
One direction within the overall direction was to dramatize examples of how one might sell appliances, TVs, etc. for less than my client.
The following radio and TV ad scripts provide the answer while underscoring the wisdom of going to Handy Andy.
“Lucky Day” 60-Second Radio
“Greedy Stevie” 10-Second Television
You can see and hear how the ideas keep flowing from a ho-hum tagline here…
I concepted and scripted television and radio advertising for a chain of TV and appliance stores called Handy Andy.
I’ll be sharing several of these commercials and their genesis over several posts.
The client’s basic promise and tagline, which I could not persuade them to rethink or reword, was “Nobody but nobody sells for less.”
In such situations, rising to the occasion means not just living with such a requirement, but breathing life into it.
So I retired to my concept couch to explore how the fact that ‘nobody sells for less’ could play out over several engaging and persuasive ads.
One way it could play would be that you’d have to be insane to buy from anyone else.
Another thought bubbled up. There must be somebody who could sell these TVs and appliances for less…
Or, somebody could be so rich that the claim is meaningless…
Or one could be too dumb to care…
And just when I began to get self satisfied with all these directions, I shifted 180 degrees on my couch and realized I could have someone care too much.
“Gee, your store really is the best store to go to.”
“Thanks, Handy Andy!”
Each of these areas yielded more than one commercial.
And as these ads clustered around these creative directions, they seemed to form little campaigns within the larger campaign.
In the end, the dumb tagline became my friend by allowing me to have a few flavors of fun persuasion and still round all these radio and television commercials into a unified message.
As often happens, confinement became freedom.
This point about confinement seems particularly appropriate for this first mini-sub-radio campaign:
“Bureau of Bewildered Persons”
“National Bureau of Bewildered Persons Revisited“
Stay tuned for further spots covering who could sell for less, who doesn’t care, who’s too dumb to care, and cares too much.
And, as always, let me know what you think.
When it comes to copywriting services, here’s one great television commercial script.
I laughed the first time and every time I see this tv spot.
A solid, streamlined concept any decent freelance copywriter has to admire.
It’s a great, simple idea: Show how high-definition and lifelike this Samsung smart phone’s screen is by having people freak completely out when a spider appears on it–to the point of screaming and fleeing the phone and summoning every last atom of manly courage to swat the phone into arachnid submission.
As a freelance copywriter, I wish I got brought in on more tv commercials with production values like this.
The direction and/or acting talent on this television commercial is also inspired. When Ms. Bizlunch sees the smart spider, her scream progresses through three stages of increasing horror as she fully, then more fully, and then completely realizes there’s a tarantula on the table.
Mr. Bizlunch Sr. swats the eight-legged innocent into submission, and then swats him again to make sure. This is even more hilarious because he manages to let a certain shakiness come through his voice that communicates both how cool and collected he’s trying to appear and how much fear he had to overcome to swat the spider.
Every Holiday Season the Wise Merchants Make Their Way to the Lowly Manger of the Radio Ad Script Writer.
And the wise radio commercial copywriter answers their entreaty by summoning the spirit to craft a new tale out of an age-old story.
Over the next few posts, in that spirit, I’ll bring you some of my summonings. This first spot is built on another tale, Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
I resurrected Ebeneezer Scrooge to help Stonestown Shopping Center ring in the season.
The obvious inspiration was the promotional tie-in with San Francisco’s ACT production of this Dickens tale.
I was also lucky enough to cast Sydney Walker as Scrooge. Sydney played Scrooge in ACT’s production for many years.
“Flick That Switch”
It seems nobody can catch Tim Dauber in his artful misuse of house paint–except, perhaps, Tim Dauber. Pay particular attention to the word “perhaps.”
This radio ad script‘s title was “Nightmare,”…and it nearly was.
When I presented this script to my marketing friends at Kelly-Moore Paint Company, they brought it to the Big Guy upstairs, who green-lighted production. (And why wouldn’t he? Kelly-Moore was more than holding it’s own as the industry was sagging. They attributed their immunity to the slump to Tim’s immunity to K-M.)
When the marketing team brought the finished radio spot back upstairs for final approval before broadcast, the Big Guy decided not to run it because “It sounds like a nightmare.”
He slept on it and, a few days later, decided to air it.
This was the last spot of this radio advertising campaign. In future posts I’ll return to my work for Kelly-Moore to show how I built further campaigns on Tim Dauber’s back.
About Freelance Copywriter Dan Goldstein
I write copy to get results.
But flat-footedly asking for those results doesn't always work. You have to get your customers' attention, convince them you understand their problems, needs and desires, and then present a compelling solution in a memorable way. I offer copywriting services in all media, including the Web, that jump through all these hoops with enough style to enhance your image while scoring sales.
I spent the first part of my career as a copywriter at major advertising agencies.
I worked for a wide range of clients on everything from food and beverage accounts to financial services to travel, real estate, restaurants, and much else. Along the way, I picked up numerous awards, including a Clio.
I now offer my copywriting services directly to businesses as well as advertising agencies and design firms.
You can contact me with questions about copywriting or to get to work on your next piece of powerful communication.
You can also subscribe to my blog for hopefully pithy and entertaining insights on advertising copywriting and the creative process.
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