Even though it’s really fun to write for the Web and for TV, the true challenge for any writer is radio. No pretty pictures to give your words an assist. No fancy fonts to show emphasis. Just words. Of course, skilled voice talent and gifted sound editors can help soothe any writer’s existential terror when faced with 60 seconds of air time.
I’ve written over 60 radio spots for national and local radio stations in the U.S.– :60s, :30s, and :15 call-outs/tune-ins for both terrestrial and digital formats– so I’m no stranger to fear. Here are spots from two of my favorite campaigns.
To illustrate the ease of using Esurance, the “Easy As” campaign sought to juxtapose rather complex life situations with the hassle-free nature of the service. In “Coffee,” a :60 I wrote for this campaign, I contrast the somewhat convoluted experience of getting morning caffeine with the simplicity of using Esurance.
This particular spot generated very strong consumer response, as did this campaign overall.
Have a listen: Esurance Coffee
As a part of the company’s environmental commitment, Esurance worked with the SOS campaign (the longer-term outreach related to the global Live Earth concerts) to educate consumers about cutting back on driving, reducing paper consumption, and decreasing carbon footprints.
For these spots, which were aired during listeners’ morning and evening commutes, it was important to break through the clutter by not sounding like every other radio spot. I wanted to use a rich soundscape to attract attention and to reinforce the spots’ overarching message of slowing down consumption. I also needed to use the audio cue for the SOS/Live Earth campaign– an altered distress signal. To achieve the symphony of sound I envisioned as creative director and writer for this campaign, working closely with a very talented sound editor was crucial.
The radio campaign helped generate strong audience engagement with Esurance’s environmentally themed content and tools. The broader integrated campaign, in which radio played an important part, won two Silver Halo Awards for best joint messaging (cause marketing and environmental awareness categories). In addition to the award recognition, the integrated campaign helped solidify Esurance’s positioning as an environmentally friendly company, important in terms of long-term, strategic differentiation.
Have a listen: Breathing Room