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The Five Rules of Great Radio: Rule 5 [Video]

by Brent Walker  |  
September 15, 2011

Editor's note:This video is the sixth in a series that lays out some best-practices not only for radio in a digital age but also for marketing and advertising generally. Next week, we begin a biweekly video series of advertising tips and tricks based on decades of radio experience.

You and two friends have spent the last three hours climbing up the edge of a giant pizza crust. Finally reaching the top, you look out over the vast plain of pepperoni and green peppers. The aroma causes you to lose your balance and tumble down into a pool of warm, tangy tomato sauce. Etcetera.

Radio's greatest asset is its ability to stimulate people's imaginations. Quite literally, it causes images to form in a listener's mind.

The reason that's such a strength is this: The images formed in a listener's mind come from that listener's life experience. If you use the imaginative power of radio, you've welded your brand into thousands of minds in a very personal way. You've combined your brand with their life experience. And those imaginative pictures stay with people.

Rule 5: leave the listener with an image.

(For more, watch the brief video and listen to the sample radio spot, both below.)

Radio Rule 5, Exemplified (click on the arrow, below, to hear the radio spot):

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Brent Walker is owner of Soundscapes, creative audio for broadcast and emerging media. Contact him by phone at 501-661-1765 or via the Soundscapes website

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  • by c bravo Thu Sep 15, 2011 via web

    excellent series and examples..Thanks! great work!

  • by Jef Dueck Fri Sep 16, 2011 via web

    I have greatly enjoyed this series and shared it with my radio co-workers as well as posted the series on a LinkedIn page for our group! I also greatly enjoyed all of the examples...the noticeable difference in what happens in US radio vs Canadian radio is we have VERY few 60sec spots - every market and advertiser seems satisfied with 30's...15's...we've even created 'Blinks' for those business that feel they already a strong brand identity.
    But we used to always hear "30's sell, 60's tell". Do you have any more good 30sec examples of stories, or is that asking a tall task for the time limitation?

  • by Brent Walker Thu Sep 22, 2011 via web

    Thanks everyone for the comments & compliments! Jef, regarding 30s versus 60s—it's FAR more difficult to pull a story together in 30 seconds than it is in 60. The old adage you quote is accurate.

    One way in which 30s can work is if you're doing a nice, long campaign—a serial—in which you can begin, continue and end a storyline over time. If you're forced into 30s (thanks, Clear Channel) this is a form you should consider...but the story MUST be really engaging.

    I once produced a series of 30s (which ran over the course of the summer) in which the character (me) went on a hunger strike until everyone in that market had stopped into the store. As the summer wore on, my condition became worse and worse until, in the last spot, I was just mumbling and my nurse had to translate. It had the market transfixed...sales went up. It was a good use of 30s.

  • by Collin Fri Oct 7, 2011 via web

    Can you provide a few examples on how to do it effectively? I do understand your presentation but could not imagine how to actually execute it.

    For example, I am meeting a client today, I will entertain him first and then sell second, but how do I get the sound effects in his office or my office?



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