Radio Hed: Character Generation - Part 1

by Jeffrey Hedquist

One way to give long legs to a radio campaign is to create it around a character or an ensemble of characters—ones who will be identified very strongly with the advertiser as soon as the audience hears their voice(s). They should have enough facets to their personality to allow for character development, for interesting stories to be told.

Make the character unique. Don’t just give us Sven, the generic Scandinavian for that cheese shop. Give him a name that reminds us of the advertiser. Develop a biography for him. Show the audience quirks in his personality—his feeble attempts at humor, his fondness for lütfisk, his plaid snowmobile. This will give you hooks on which to hang stories.

The characters can compliment the product or service—a reminiscing storyteller, who reflects on the “good old days” for a down home restaurant, historical district, or any business with yesterday’s prices or service; a character with a foreign accent for an ethnic restaurant or imported car dealership; a 12 year old genius nerd for a computer store.

More thoughts on characters and suggestions next month.

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