by Albert Berkshire

I recently had the good fortune to develop a radio campaign for a very different client. This client was a jeweler. And what made this client different was that he had one specific goal. He wanted, above all, for the listener to feel good about the commercial—not the product or service, just the commercial.

The jeweler had no interest in screaming price or discount or reputation or years in business. He knew all of his competitors (and there are many) were doing that. He wanted to focus strictly on image. Can you say “Dream Client”? His whole focus was to tell people that he existed.

In our first creative meeting, he spoke of two things: quality and trust. But it wasn’t about his product quality and trustworthiness. It was about his potential customers’ quality and trust. We saw these two characteristics of a relationship as the foundation that would lead to a marriage proposal. And what comes with a proposal? Yup…a diamond. Who sells the diamonds? He does! Who reminded the listeners of the quality of their relationship and the trust they have built together? He did! Who do you think is on top of the man’s mind as he goes to pick out the engagement ring? (Bonus points) You guessed it…the jeweler.

The only catch was that he knew from his experience in the industry that in most cases the women are involved in the ring selection process. But this was something that he would handle in-store. It had no place in his commercial. His goal was to get people through the door; he would close the sale once they were inside.

After leaving the creative meeting, I looked at the sales rep and said, “Did that just happen? That is the dream client!” And then the campaign just came to life…for a number of other reasons.

First, I was extremely pleased to have a client that wanted to do image ads. (It really is a writer’s outlet.) The client was open to suggestions. He admitted he knew his product very well, well enough to know that few people understand the industry jargon associated with cut, clarity and whatever else goes with a diamond. He knew what his competitors were saying and he wanted to be different.

I think another factor bringing the campaign to life was the music. I originally wrote the creative to a specific piece of music. But I couldn’t get the ending to fit. So, I had to go back and find new music to fit the ending, and the rest of the script. It took a while, but I found it. And it was far better in the end, because the new music brought the whole commercial to life. It gave it the feeling it needed.

The finishing touch? The producer. Nothing can be said other than, ”the producer made it perfect. I’m very fortunate.”

The most important thing that came out of this campaign for me was that it renewed my faith in myself as a writer. Every day I push and push on clients the idea that they need to say something that appeals to the listener, not just their own egos. Sure, the ads are about them and their product or service, but they have to entwine the benefits to the listener, the consumer, and the person with the buying power or influence.

This jeweler has been very successful in his career. But not because of what other creative writers or I have done for him. He’s been successful because he knows no one cares about him. They only care about what he can do for them. And what has he done for his customers lately? Most recently, through a radio campaign, he told them why they were in love.

igh… yes, it was. It is. Just like software companies, gas stations, toilet paper mills… and radio. And if life is just a stage, each person must play many parts—sometimes Hamlet, sometimes the person that sweeps the stage after everyone else goes home.

I believe that most people keep a fine balance, and that’s saying something, especially considering the ever-increasing demands of the industry. Most understand that there are day-to-day details that need to be taken care of. They may not enjoy all of it, but they realize that it comes with the territory. They also know that if they are going to get through all of the “grunt work” and find time to actually do something creative, they had better get the commercials right the first time. They also know that if a commercial is playing wrong, the extra effort to make it right will pay-off in respect for their attention to detail and trust in their professionalism.

So, you have to be a grown-up to be a radio Creative, huh? Not necessarily, in fact I know that many of my favorite production pieces came from that kid that still plays around deep inside. I think it is important to remember that there is a huge difference between “child-like” and “childish.” The work can be wild and fun, but the job carries certain responsibilities that the adult in you needs to take seriously—and take care of. Like frosted mini-wheats, there is something for both sides of your psyche. So suck it up, be an adult and get to work on those pesky details. And who knows, the kid in you might have a field day finding a way to fix those five spots.

agreement only, no barter. They have a very helpful website at which gives full details of all the music available in all their libraries (10 full libraries, remember), and you can download mp3 demos in a variety of playback formats. Or you can call for all the details toll free at 1-800-247-5317 (USA only. International calls go to 210-530-5200).

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