What makes a Good Successful TV & Radio Commercial & How to Write Scripts for Them


Credibility & Straight Talk = Successful Commercials

Contrary to public perception, the content of radio commercials or TV commercials (“creative”, as it’s called in the industry) is just as important as the airtime itself. For small businesses that use direct response radio commercials or TV commercials to generate telephone leads or web leads (and do not have a store-front), content is even more critical.

In the past, some “Straight Talk” postings have looked to “Mama” for guidance. However, now, I am going to ask you to go against what “Mama” probably taught you: the art of being politically correct. The most effective commercials cut through the clutter and simplify things. In order to cut through the clutter, you will have to take off the P.C. hat for a while. It will probably be hard for most of you to do. Over the last 20 years, we have been taught that being “politically correct” is not just for politicians. I have always found that to be a little bit of an oxymoron. NOBODY likes politicians because they do not say what they mean (IE being P.C.), which is interpreted as being dishonest. The quickest way to have a radio advertising or TV advertising campaign fail is to have the commercial sound like an attorney disclaimer or like it was written by a politician. Cut out all of the watered down, nice, P.C. language and get to the point, period.

Please understand, using this type of commercial writing style is not just our wild opinion. We are also citing a book: Jump Start Your Business Brain. It was written by the famous Marketing Genius and Author, Doug Hall.

Doug is also the CEO of Eureka Ranch, and they are hired as a marketing/sales consultant by the largest companies in the U.S. He has a unique ability to “cut through the clutter” and get to what is important. He has a great understanding of the metaphorical “trees” and “tree roots,” but always gives advice with the “forest” in mind. He states that any great promotional or advertising piece must cut through the clutter and contain the following 3 pieces:

#1 The Overt Benefit: What is in it for the customer? Described short & bluntly.
#2 The Dramatic Difference: How are you different from the competition?
#3 Credibility: Why should the consumer believe your Overt Benefit and Dramatic Difference statements?

  • The Overt Benefit is the cut-down version of what your product will provide to the consumer. Not the glowing, politically correct, marketing sales pitch that you use in brochures. A hard and blunt statement about what is in it for the customer (10 words or less).
  • The Dramatic Difference is your chance to differentiate between your business and the competition. State very succinctly what the competition is doing and why your method or angle is better.
  • Credibility is the simplest to explain, yet it rarely gets addressed appropriately in commercials. I believe it is just as important as the Overt Benefit. In direct response advertising, it may actually be more important. Here is why: If you ran a radio spot that said, “Call now and I will give you a million dollars, no strings attached, just call in the next 20 minutes”, do you think everyone that heard the commercial would call? The answer is No. I imagine only 1-3% of the people would call. Why? Because almost nobody would believe it. The offer is great, but the statement is not credible. So if you think that you can just pitch a great offer, not address the credibility factor, and millions of people are going to call you, you should head out to Vegas. Casinos are the only businesses that make money long term dangling a carrot.

A great 60-second commercial will include two verifiable points of credibility.
What would those be, you ask? How about being a good standing member of the local Chamber of Commerce? How about the CEO of the company giving a short closing statement ensuring satisfaction? How about listing well-known companies/individuals that you have done business with? How about a 10-second testimonial about the quality of your product from somebody that is well known in your community?

Writing a great commercial is not hard if you are passionate about the product, provide credibility to the listener, clearly describe the benefits to the listener and outline how you are dramatically different from the competition.

If you have any questions about TV or radio advertising, feel free to give us a call.
The Wholesale Airtime Auction LLC