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Writing Persuasive Media Copy. Developing and writing Commercials, Promotions, and Announcements . Persuasion. Persuasion is a type of communication that interests many people advertiser political candidates and parties public organizations such as public health organizations or MADD

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writing persuasive media copy

Writing Persuasive Media Copy

Developing and writing Commercials, Promotions, and Announcements

  • Persuasion is a type of communication that interests many people
    • advertiser
    • political candidates and parties
    • public organizations such as public health organizations or MADD
    • religious organizations
spot lengths
Spot Lengths
  • Generally 30 seconds or 60 seconds
  • Estimating time by words
    • “dime” spot -20 to 25 words “wall to wall”
    • 30 second spot -70 to 80 words “wall to wall”
    • split 30 -two 15 second spots
    • 60 second -135-145 “wall to wall”
persuasive spots
Persuasive Spots
  • Commercial Spots
  • The Public Service Announcement -PSA
  • Promo or promotional
  • Station ID
    • You are listening to

W-U-A-G, one-oh-three point one, Greensboro.

audience analysis

age, gender, economic level, political orientation, occupation, education, ethnicity, geographical location


lifestyles, interests, attitudes, beliefs

Audience Analysis
audience analysis7
Audience Analysis
  • Affirmative audience
  • Dissident audience
  • Skeptical audience
  • Apathetic audience
  • Creative people will make unlikely combinations to make a point or draw attention
  • The same is true of copywriters
persuasive creativity
Persuasive Creativity
  • Writers for Trigon Blue Cross designed this spot for television, but the spot found its way to the internet, where it is passed around because it is so cute. What a tribute to its creators.
  • Notice how two unlikely things are paired:
  • A little boy talking about a movie
  • And health care

Windows Media

Mac QuickTime

rational and emotional appeals
Rational and Emotional Appeals

Understanding human motivation

logical and emotional appeals
Logical Appeals

persuasion based on facts or product claims

product or service fills practical needs





Logical and Emotional Appeals
logical and emotional appeals12
Logical and Emotional Appeals
  • Emotional Appeals
    • appeals to emotional needs such as power or prestige
    • sex appeal
    • patriotism
    • family values
    • peer acceptance
appeals and needs
Appeals and Needs
  • Advertisers construct the persuasive appeals of commercial messages based on their perceptions of audience needs.
human needs
Human Needs
  • Abraham Maslow established the theory of a hierarchy of human needs, believing that human beings are motivated to action by unsatisfied needs.
maslowe s hierarchy
Maslowe’s Hierarchy
  • Certain lower needs must be realized before higher needs can be satisfied, just as a person must cross lower stairs in order to reach the top step.
abraham maslow
Abraham Maslow
  • According to Maslow, there are general types of needs (physiological, safety, love, and esteem) that must be satisfied before a person can reach self-actualization (and act unselfishly).
satisfying needs
Satisfying Needs
  • Satisfying needs is healthy, blocking gratification of needs can makes us sick or evil. We are all "needs junkies" with cravings that must be satisfied and should be satisfied. Else, we become sick and dysfunctional.
physiological needs
Physiological Needs
  • Most Basic
  • Air
  • Water
  • Food
  • Sleep
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
safety needs
Safety Needs
  • Establishing stability and consistency in a chaotic world
  • Safety can be Psychological
  • Safety needs can motivate religious belief –religion can comfort with the promise of a secure place after we die and leave the insecurity of this world
love needs
Love Needs
  • Human beings have a desire to belong to groups, clubs, families, couples
  • We need nonsexual love -- to be accepted and appreciated by others
  • We need friends
esteem needs
Self Esteem

Competence and mastery of tasks

Peer Esteem

Attention and recognition from others for our competencies

Can be related to desire for power

Esteem Needs
self actualization
  • The desire to reach the fullest self potential
  • Seek knowledge, inner peace, aesthetic experiences, oneness with God, etc.
audiences and attitudes
Audiences and Attitudes
  • Need Driven Audiences

1. Survivors

rooted in poverty

2. Sustainers

fortunes drastically ebb and flow with the state of the economy

outer directed audiences
Outer-Directed Audiences

Belongers–largest and least wealthy-- being accepted is extremely important to this group --tend to prefer heritage brands

Emulators–want to be accepted, noticed and envied-will sacrifice economy and maintenance for looks

Achievers–have acquired success and economic status but continue to push for more social prizes

inner directed audiences
Inner-Directed Audiences
  • I-Am-Me Audience –group in transition –unpredictable
  • Experientials –securely inner-directed, concerned with self expression and personal goals
  • Socially conscious – personal needs defined by social responsibility
integrated audience
Integrated Audience
  • Making up no more than two percent of the population, this group is so self-assured they can combine both inner and outer directed values in their preferences without self- contradiction.
logical appeals
Logical Appeals
  • Advertising appeals to needs at the basic and middle rungs of the hierarchy of human needs.
  • Appeals to physiological needs
  • Safety needs
  • Needs for community or belonging
  • Tend to involve claims of fact
simple logical appeals
SIMPLE Logical Appeals
  • S afety
  • Indulgence
  • M aintenance
  • P erformance
  • L ooks
  • E conomy
  • Listeners and viewers want to know if a product will make them sick, ruin their plumbing or injure the psyches of their children
  • Consumer and industry action groups have caused the advertising of tobacco to be banned for safety reasons
  • Advertisers appealing to safety assure consumers that their product is safe to use

Traveling first class may be an indulgence –more expensive than economy- but may also make someone traveling for business more productive –arriving rested and ready to work.

  • Some things involve more upkeep from the consumer than others
  • A product that is useful for a long time or a service with long term benefits may overcome a higher sticker price
  • A product that must be replaced, fixed or repaired often may not command as high a value.
  • Will the product or service function in the way the consumer expects?
  • Does it meet a consumer’s need?
  • Often considered an emotional attraction –the least rational
  • Evaluates on how appealing something is to the eye
  • For example, it is rationally important that paint look good –its primary function is visual.
  • Deals directly with costs
  • If something is expensive, is it worth what you pay for?
  • Is an activity wasteful?
emotional appeals
Emotional Appeals
  • Deal with needs on the middle to upper rungs of the hierarchy.
  • Human desire for amusement and pleasure.
emotional appeals45
Emotional Appeals
  • P eople Interest
  • L aughter
  • E nlightenment
  • A llurement
  • S ensation
  • U niqueness
  • R ivalry
  • E steem
emotional appeals46
Emotional Appeals
  • People Interest –nosiness, human curiosity about others
  • Laughter –human enjoyment of humor
  • Enlightenment –need for information
  • Allurement –sex appeal
  • Sensation –senses --sight, sound, taste, smell, touch
  • Uniqueness -novelty
  • Rivalry –the drama of conflict
  • Esteem –snob appeal
commercial noncopy data block
Commercial Noncopy Data Block
  • A standardized memorandum –keeps track of scripted messages and their scheduling
  • Dates
    • Submitted for review
    • Revision submitted
    • Revision approved
    • production
noncopy data block
Noncopy data block
  • Agency
  • Client line –firm’s official corporate designation
  • Product line- specific product/service being advertised
  • Spot title
  • Length –run time of the spot
  • Specific script number –for specific ID and correspondence –can id the originating agency, client or company for which the spot is written, location in the total number of spots that agency produced for that client, year aired, medium, length
  • Example BE-167-04R (B&E chemicals, 167 treatment for that client, aired in 2004, radio)
types of radio commercials
Types of Radio Commercials
  • Univoice (straight) commercial
  • Multivoice commercial
    • Both voices speak directly to the listener- not each other
  • Dialogue Commercial
    • little radio drama
  • Musical Commercial
    • Pseudo-sound effect
    • Slogan/sales point enhancer
    • Backdrop
    • Lyric vehicle
ad lib spot
Ad-lib spot
  • Use only with known talent, strong on-air personality or DJ with a wide listener following
  • Writer prepares not copy but a fact sheet
  • Radio stations that have top D-Js ad-lib copy often charge a premium for that service
the music spot as pseudo sfx
The Music Spot as Pseudo-SFX
  • ANNCR: In 1985, an old American soft drink changed its formula.
  • ANNCR: You were not amused.
musical spots
Musical Spots
  • Slogan or sales point enhancement
  • Music “bed” or backdrop
  • Lyric Spot
    • open donut --spot begins with lyric followed by announcer copy, lyric is not reintroduced
    • closed donut --spot begins with lyric, followed by announcer copy, lyric concludes the spot.
tenets of good radio copy
Tenets of good radio copy
  • Stay conversational
  • Remain present and active
  • Keep humor in bounds
  • Stress sponsor identification
  • Conclude with energy
  • Call for action
things to avoid
Things to Avoid
  • Question Lead-ins
  • Clichés
  • Superlatives
  • Talking down to audience
  • Confusing statements
  • Offensive language/visuals
question lead ins
Question lead-ins
  • Avoid lead-in questions that invite a yes or no answer or invite audiences to mentally argue with you.
    • POOR: Are you looking for an inexpensive way to cool your home?
    • BETTER: Here’s an inexpensive way to cool your home.
avoid clich s and superlatives

Conveniently located...

Stop in soon...

The next time you’re in the mood for…

But wait! There’s more!

For all your ___needs.



unbelievable savings

lowest possible prices




Avoid Clichés and Superlatives
political persuasion
Political Persuasion
  • Political advertising has become a critical part of any candidates campaign
  • Here is Robert Goodman, who specializes in Republican candidates, discussing two of his successful spots
  • A successful spot is one that gets your candidate (client) elected.

Windows Media

Mac QuickTime

political persuasion64
Political advertising has become a critical part of any candidates campaign

A successful spot is one that gets your candidate (client) elected.

Political Persuasion

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Mac QuickTime

production in advertising
Production in Advertising
  • This spot has all the production values of a Hollywood film, though produced in Europe.
  • What gives the spot its impact?

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Mac QuickTime

humor in advertising
Humor in Advertising

As you might tell from the examples used in this presentation, humor can play a powerful role in advertising. But the joke must never interfere with the message. What is the message of this spot?

Windows Media

Mac QuickTime

  • To induce someone to act by argument, entreaty, appeal.
  • To develop or change an opinion