I don’t watch a lot of broadcast television these days. Time just doesn’t allow that luxury. (More on that soon…) But when I do catch the local ad inserts in the cable news shows, I’m torn between laughter and pity. This also applies to radio.
Let’s start with radio. If you are doing a spot on radio, the local station might talk you into doing your own spot as a play to your vanity. Restrain yourself. It will stink. You will sound stilted and stupid unless you’re a professional voice over talent.
The station might offer you the services of their own vocal talent. Again, run from that offer unless it’s a known quantity. Many spots are cut by Jeffy and Tameesha, the station part-time engineers. Both of them really want to be on radio and have taken great care to offer to do every ad possible for $50 each. They need the money, the station bills your company $200, and reminds you that not only do you have a “professional” doing the work, but you saved $300 over what a voice over artist would charge through an agency.
There is a reason Tameesha and Jeffy aren’t on the air. They are rotten. They don’t care about the product. They care about doing 20 spots a month so that they can pay for their e-cigarettes and super-cool Mini Cooper. It’s not their fault, but there’s a reason they work so cheap.
So, what should you do? I’m totally prejudiced, but I think you should hire a professional. You see, we are gifted liars. We lie on your behalf and sound convincing. We can actually read copy and make it sound natural. If we do it right, you will never even know it was on a script. Moreover, for an additional few hundred bucks, you have a commercial that won’t make people gag.
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Television. This one is going to be short. It applies largely to car dealers. I don’t care if you and your kids are zany. I don’t care if you have a giant iguana as your mascot. I do care about where you are located and what your service hours are. I would like to see interior shots of your maintenance bays and showroom. I would like to see your consumer ratings on a crawler at the bottom of the screen. I do not want to see you sitting in a director’s chair talking to the giant iguana about your new hot tub.
Which brings me to the final ad that drives me nuts: the hot tub place. I know a lot of it is manufacturer stock footage you use to show what the hot tub does. I even admire the models you use. As a guy, it’s always a pleasure to see fetching females, especially ones my age, in bikinis. Yes, sexist. But I don’t care about their husbands and grandchildren frolicking nearby. However, that is not why I would buy your product. I want to, again, know about your delivery program, maintenance crew, consumer reviews, and a good map of where you are located. The silver-haired woman in the bikini is nice, but I’ve got a wife and last I looked she’s not letting me go shopping for a new mate. Nor do I want to do that. But a hot tub is always a possibility.
Put your website on the commercial. Put your product on the commercial. Lose Jeffy, the giant iguana, and the bikini clad AARP member. I might just listen and check out your product.
Oh, and remember: I am available to do all of the above next time you shoot a commercial. I don’t look that good in a bikini, but if the check cashes I’d certainly consider the offer. Contact my agents.
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