Set the scene quickly.

Unless there’s a reason to keep the listener guessing where the commercial is taking place, set the scene as quickly as you can (it will help the listener to imagine the situation straight away, and therefore understand the ad).

The last thing you want is for a listener to think, ‘Hang on, where am I? What’s going on?’

If you have to say that a melamine kitchen table is 100% scratch resistant, why not have the sound of someone tap-dancing on them in rough boots to prove your point?

Advertising Concept Book (Second Edition) by Pete Barry citing Tony Cullingham

Sound can be grand, subtle, complex, obscure, comical, spine chilling, or emotive.

Think about how a particular sound of an old song can make you feel; how it can transport you to a precise moment in time.

The final twist. The approach of ‘sending a person in one way then pulling the rug from under them’ is a perfect, popular technique in TV commercials. In fact, it’ a tried and tested method.

A mnemonic is a ‘memory aid’ that helps people to remember your product or campaign. These can be visual, audio, or both using a memorable voice, or even a simple sound effect or jingle.

Start with a press ad, then blow it up… and it’s a poster!

Stick it in an envelope…and it’s direct mail!

Film it… and it’s a TV ad!

Animate it… and it’s interactive!…

If a sound exists, it can be easily recorded, re-created, or imitated in the studio.

And don’t forget about audio mnemonics (memory aids like jingles and voice overs), which can help to brand a product or campaign.

When an idea is translated into more than one form of communication or media it’s known as ‘integrated.’

In other words, it’s not just a big idea that translates within one creative area, it’s a big idea realized across many areas.

Or put simply, a Really Big Idea.

The flavor of the month will date a commercial quickly, and generally over-used actors might not make your commercial sound distinguishable.

Use a voice that’s memorable, but don’t just think of the obvious actors: it will help to brand your campaign and make it unique.

It’s not that words like ‘went’ or ‘cut’ are particularly boring, but they do miss the opportunity to describe how someone/someething went or cut.

For example:
Went: slid, bounced, waddled, jetted…
Cut: hack, dissect, bite, saw…

Note, too, that verbs like these create faster pictures than adjectives.

At the very least, compare and contrast by taking any words like ‘great’ and ‘tasty’ out (of your copy) before putting them back in.

As a definite rule, honest humanity beats phony every time.

In general, use plain, simple, familiar spoken English. The only time to include a long or little known word is when absolute precision of meaning is vital.

And if the audience doesn’t know the word, what’s the point of being precise about the meaning?

Using, facts, statistics, demonstrations, and quotes within an ad help to create a more convincing argument for the client. More so than opinion.

Whether used within the body copy or elsewhere, these create an important sense of objectivity, as if saying ‘don’t just take our word for it.’

Whatever tone you choose, the more you can make your copy sound like one person talking to another, the better.

This helps to disarm and engage the reader. Perhaps pick a friend, neighbor, or relative who might be a typical consumer.

This will help you to get under their skin and talk their language.