Blog experts suggest that a post such as this should be 1500-2000 words. What? Do you have time for a nap?
I’m jokingly tempted to embellish my word count by simply adding this rhythmic chant, “Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah” to the tune of the Wisconsin Band number during halftime. You know, the tuba player marching solo up the aisles of Camp Randall playing one note at a time blowing , “Bump, Bump, Bump, Bump, Bump, Bump, Bump, Bump”.
Unfortunately many advertisers try this approach when faced with what to do for thirty seconds or sixty seconds of messaging. Some want to throw five gallons worth of words into a one gallon bucket and expect the listener on the receiving end to understand what they’re saying. I have older relatives with the five gallon bucket disease when they talk on the phone. They’ll rattle off a litany of speech with little or no pauses, breathing, or room for response. I’m surprised they don’t faint or hyperventilate in the process.
This behavior dates back to costly landline long-distance calling in their younger years when our parents would say, “Make it quick! Long distance cost money!” Do I ever recall what is said in these clutter-clatter, rattle-rattle conversations? Well, yes in a way. I think they said, “Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah!
When writing for audio or video applications I use a process to help eliminate unnecessary words. Before I begin to write a script, I first think of the style and context the message is to convey. I toss around ideas in my head as to who is best to voice the words and tell the story.
Should I voice it? Should one of our influencers voice it? Should the client voice it? Should a customer voice it? Should I hire the booming voice that takes my order at Taco Bell? Maybe a character voice? Maybe a talking dog? Maybe one of my experienced fast-talking relatives?
All in all, I begin with a thought about who will be performing the read way before I form the script. And I certainly enjoy writing shorter scripts with fewer words. This gives the talent time to articulate and dramatize where needed. The goal is a storytelling approach or conversational message.
Here’s an example of a short-form storytelling :30 script:
WHEN THEY’RE SAD THEY SHOW THEIR WRINKLES, THEIR COLOR FADES AS THEY PILE UP IN THE CORNER CRUMPLED ON THE FLOOR.
WHEN’S THE LAST TIME YOU CHEERED THEM UP? TOOK THEM OUT ON THE TOWN? SHOWED THEM OFF TO OTHERS?
FELT CONFIDENT WITH THEM WRAPPED AROUND YOU? WHAT YOU WEAR DESERVES LOVING CARE FROM CLIENT CLEANERS DRY CLEANING.
CLIENT CLEANERS, YOU NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD.
Here’s an example of a :30 message with five gallon bucket disease.
CLIENT CLEANERS, MADISON’S FAST AND FRIENDLY DRY CLEANERS FOR OVER FIFTY YEARS!
SAME DAY SERVICE IF CLOTHES ARE DROPPED OFF BETWEEN TWELVE NOON AND ONE PM. .
FOUR CONVENIENT LOCATIONS. 538 OAK STREET, 7021 FALCON WAY, #2 WEST LANE CIRCLE,
AND AT THE CORNER OF 5TH STREET AND MAPLE AVENUE. OPEN SIX DAYS A WEEK EXCEPT FOR
HOLIDAYS. MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY SIX AM TO SIX PM, SATURDAY ELEVEN UNTIL THREE
QUALITY, PERSONAL SERVICE YOU CAN TRUST! TOP NOTCH DRY-CLEANING AND LAUNDRY SERVICES
AT FAIR PRICES. FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED WITH A LEVEL OF SERVICE THAT EXCEEDS YOUR
EXPECTATIONS! LOOK FOR THE FLASHING NEON SIGN THAT SAYS, “CLIENT CLEANERS!”
That is one huge pile of blah, blah, blah that is a waste of words and advertising dollars.
Here’s another example of a short-form :30 TV script that’s highly effective for the brand, “Simply Orange”.
If you’ve seen their TV ads you might have noticed the voice talent is the wonderful actor Donald Sutherland.
WELCOME..TO THE SIMPLY ORANGE PLANT TOUR… THIS IS OUR PLANT…(video shot of Orange Tree)
THESE ARE OUR WORKERS.. (video shot of oranges)…AND THIS IS UPPER MANAGEMENT..(video shot
of the sun shining) BUT WHAT YOU WON’T FIND AROUND HERE IS ANY FREEZING, FLAVORING, OR
CONCENTRATING. WHICH BRINGS US TO OUR END PRODUCT..SIMPLY ORANGE. .HONESTLY SIMPLE.
When you think about word count and the words that really count in advertising…less is more every time.
Keep the blah, blah, blah where it belongs. In a tightly sealed five gallon bucket.
Paul Blair serves as our Creative Services Director writing and producing many award winning branding and public service campaigns for clients such as Zimbrick, Settlers Bank, Gunderson Life Celebration Centers, Carpets Plus, Chalmers Jewelers, Saint Vincent de Paul, The Healthy Place, Genesis Painting, Benjamin Plumbing and many, many more. His successful career at MidWest Family Madison spans over thirty years.
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