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Let’s talk about radio copywriting for radio commercials and radio advertising, as well as for television.

Both radio advertising and TV advertising sell with pictures. On radio, you paint the pictures in the listener’s mind; the fancy psychological term for that is “constructed imagery.” On television, you present the actual pictures — or what is known as “eidetic imagery.”

But whether you call them “eiditic images” or “constructed images” or just plain “pictures,” those pictures need to tell the story.

In both TV commercials and radio commercials, it’s pictures that tell the story…including this commercial from Australian television…

If you’re not already familiar with this commercial, it’s likely you’re not quite sure how the story connects to the advertiser.

They’re trying to advertise for automobiles. But if I hadn’t just pointed that out, there’s a good chance that five minutes from now — or perhaps five seconds from now — you wouldn’t be able to tell me what this commercial was trying to sell.

You’d remember something about the women stopping, eyeing the guy, and then driving away. And perhaps a call center. But not, unfortunately, automobile insurance.

Why not? Because the pictures they’ve presented don’t sell the results of auto insurance.

Instead, they use a spoken voiceover to attempt to connect the pictures to the sales message. The message is supposed to be that the guy’s shoes were too dirty for their car. From the visual images, it looks as though they think his shoes are ugly.

But the announcer asks, “Do you really love your car?” So we’re supposed to think, “Oh. Those women think that guy is hot, but his shoes are so dirty they’d mess up their car. And if they care that much about their car, they probably want to make sure they have good automobile insurance.”

If you want viewers to see THAT story, you’ve got to paint it with pictures, not with a voiceover.

Television advertising and radio commercial campaigns DO work — when the pictures sell the results of the product or service being advertised.

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