by Sheldon Hovde

What’s the number 1 reason great ads don’t make it to air?

Read on my friends.

An eager young writer gets a new order on her desk. There’s a small “done” pile to her left, and a very large “to do “pile on her right. Usually the new order would go to the bottom of the right pile, but something about this client peaks the young writer’s interest. She picks up the phone, dials the phone number on the order, and shortly begins a conversation with the new client.

After a short chat about objectives and details, the eager writer gets right to work. Sure, she has a lot of other things to do. More pressing things. But this script has that certain energy that can’t be ignored. After finishing up a few minor tweaks and giving it a quick proof read – Voila! It’s done. Will it win awards? Who knows – who cares. It’ll work, she’s certain of that.

A quick email is written, along with two short sentences on why the approach taken will of course be the most effective, and it’s off. A few tasks taken care of later and the anticipated email returns, and as quickly as it was sent, the script our hopeful writer had penned had not been approved. “Please try again” were the words of the client.

Hmm...? What went wrong?

So, with what she would admit to be slightly less enthusiasm, but still a willingness to do her job well, a second script was put together.

“Not as fantastic as the last, but still a job I can be proud of,” she says to herself, and the script is once again off to meet its fate.

Again, not approved. “Still not what I’m looking for,” comes back on the cold black letters of the computer screen.

So for the third time a commercial is created. “It looks okay, but please make these changes,” comes back like the final blow to a marathon boxing match.

Finally, it’s done. It’s not great. It’s not at all what the writer would have thought it should have been. But at least it’s done.

Do you see what’s happened? A commercial has gone from being written with the intent of engaging the listener, to being written to please the client. THIS is how bad, boring, nobody-wants-to-hear-it-advertising is created.

Solution: Educate and train your clients.

Will it be work: Yep. Tons. And it’ll never end.

Will it work: Absolutely.

Caution: Not everyone learns the same way.

I know some of the things I’ll be doing to train my clients. Do you?

You'll find some audio from me on this month's RAP CD. It's a short piece we’re using here locally to try to educate our clients on what makes a good ad (or at least what keep it from being bad).