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So Your Client Wants to Be in the Commercial

Can you grant that wish and still make a successful radio spot?

What’s the easiest way to get clients on the air? Put them in the commercial!

What’s the quickest way to make a bad commercial? Same answer!

He’s proud of his new store. Can you help him find his unique voice? iStockphoto/ Christopher Futcher

Most clients think they can pull off being great spokespersons. Most are wrong.

Are there ways you can fulfill their desire for 60 seconds of fame and still make a commercial that works? Yes.

If the owner is a great storyteller or has an exceptional personality (maybe he’s so outgoing, maybe he sounds so deadpan) — or if her name is on the letterhead — it might make sense to use a client’s voice on the air.

This is my story

For Bob’s Automotive, let’s hear from Bob — how he got started repairing cars at 14, about how he got his first fixer-upper before he could drive, how he ate, slept and breathed cars all his life, how he continues to take courses and makes sure his people have the same passion for all things automotive.

His name is on the door. His pride can say a lot.

Get him talking (no script) about himself and record lots more than you’ll ever need.

Most clients have great stories tucked away in their memories. Be patient and probe for them.

“How did you get started in business? What do you love about what you do? What do you hate about your business? What do you do for your customers that no one knows about? What emotional needs do your customers have that you solve for them? What’s the hidden secret you wish everyone knew about your business?” Then edit the responses into several spots.

If he can’t tell a great story, tell it for him. Record his intro and outro to each spot.

In: “Hi, I’m Bob and this is my story …” Out: “I’m Bob, and my name is on the door at Bob’s Automotive.”

Have fun

If your client has a sense of humor, create a campaign that lets her poke fun at herself.

Maybe it’s a pseudo-interview, where she never gets a word in edgewise because the announcer keeps interrupting to tell the audience what she was about to say. Maybe customers keep interrupting, or little emergencies keep appearing that allow you to work in benefits by the way she handles them.

If a client sounds deadpan, alternate him with a voice who is truly excited about the benefits his business has for customers, interspersed with just his unemotional “yup” or “you bet” comments.

Take a “goes nowhere” story, told by the owner in a flat unemotional voice. Cut it apart and create an epic:

Frank: My customers are regular, consistent.
Anncr: Frank Ambrosio, owner of Frank’s Restaurant with another amazing story!
Frank: She comes in ’bout noon on Wednesdays, orders the soup and the grilled cheese …
Anncr: Incredible! What a great combo!
Frank: Yep. That’s her favorite, sometimes a salad.
Anncr: Whoa, hard to top that one!
Frank: Well then, she has the lemon meringue for dessert, sometimes not. Guess she likes it. Always comes back.
Anncr: Another amazing story from Frank’s Restaurant!

Record short phone interviews with the client’s relatives about him and build the campaign around the family stories about the client.

You could just end each commercial with the client’s voice delivering a tag line that embodies the client’s personality. Record a series of comments from them like “Yes. No. Tell ’em about our guarantee. Your next car is waiting for you. Here’s something you might not know.” Then you simply write spots around each comment.

Have your client describe his product or service in highly technical terms or using lots of jargon. Between each phrase, explain to the listener the benefits in layman’s terms.

Ted: Dude, these boards are mondo gnarly!
Anncr: These surfboards are the latest …
Ted: You’ll be totally stoked when you see our rad rags.
Anncr: We think you’ll be inspired by the new fashion looks.

If your client speaks a foreign language, this technique can work well.

Don’t let your clients just read a script. Find an interesting way to use their voices to best advantage, and build them success stories.

Do you have successful techniques for using client voices? Send them to me for a free gift at Hedquist Productions Inc., P.O. Box 1475, Fairfield, IA 52556. Email [email protected].