Radio Hed: Be Careful How You Seed the Imagination

Radio Hed Logo 2By Jeffrey Hedquist

As creators of audio marketing we have tremendous power. With a few words, voices, sound effects, music and silence we can get listeners to feel, taste, smell, and see.  But sometimes, without realizing it, we misuse our power and leave the listener with an impression or experience that defeats the purpose of the commercial.

I’ve heard commercials for restaurants that would kill appetites; for security systems that instill fear; for do it yourself suppliers that leave the impression that it will be very difficult for the listener to do it himself. What happened here?

If we’re not careful, our creation can demean the prospective buyer, make us remember the analogy, the metaphor, the humor, or the drama, but forget the advertiser.

I’ve been guilty of this myself at times.  Hey, we’re creators. What we do is fun. We love being clever. In the midst of cranking out dozens of commercials each week, we finally get one that shows off our creativity and we want to keep it. We look at it and think, “Pretty cool.”

What helps me get better results for my client is to keep asking myself as I’m writing, “Is this leading to results for the client?”

What’s the dominant experience I want to leave the listener with? Hopefully it’s, “This product or service solves my problem, makes my life better.”

In a problem/solution spot, don’t make the problem so overwhelming, sense involving or compelling that the obstacle becomes the dominant experience the listener takes away. The most powerful sensual experience should be the solution the client offers.

OK, let’s say we’ve crafted this gem of persuasion. Now, before we produce it, examine it carefully. Remember, we have to be marketers as well as artists. We have to harness our skill to sell.

Does the overall impression of the commercial get in the way of that goal?

In no way do I want to discourage you from creating an entertaining, provocative, funny, shocking or otherwise attention-getting commercial. Just be sure the attention is drawn to the benefits the advertiser provides.

If the intended audience members can picture, feel, smell, taste, touch, hear themselves getting the benefits, then go ahead. If not, then redirect your creative juices to making that happen.

Painful commercial surgery may be necessary to save the client’s message. Keep a file of those glorious scenarios you removed. They may be adaptable for another client.

A listener’s imagination is the best ally we have in getting results for our clients. Make sure the seeds you plant there will grow the results you want.

Got a commercial that needs re-direction? Email me Jeffrey@hedquist.com.

© 1997-2016 Hedquist Productions, Inc.  All rights reserved.

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