Sounds Like Creativity: The Power of Words

Eric Suliga, Creative Director

This blog post is part of a series celebrating Cannes Lions and creativity in advertising. If you missed the kick-off, you can catch up here

Advertising is founded on good copywriting--and in no other area of this industry is that truer than with audio. It's why we say that audio is inherently a writer’s medium. It’s the thing that separates an audio spot that resonates with its listeners from one that fades into the background.

Still, what constitutes good audio copywriting has evolved and improved over the years. Traditional AM/FM radio spots employed tactics like shouting and repetition to break through the clutter. But now, with media clutter at an all-time high and more than half of Americans choosing to stream, these annoying techniques just don’t work like they used to.[1]

Digital audio is delivered directly into the ears of a listener so we already know they’re engaged and tuned-in. That’s why good audio creative today is as simple as one human speaking to another. You don’t even need many words to make an impact. In fact, audio creative is best received when it’s clear, simple and precise. (This brings to mind Hemingway’s famous--and dark--six-word story: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”)

And while we may not all be genius copywriters, there are distinct techniques we can employ to make our audio message more poignant.

Let’s see an example...

[audio m4a=""][/audio] Hilarity for Charity is an organization and movement started by Seth Rogan and his wife, Lauren Miller Rogen, to inspire awareness about Alzheimer's Disease among millennials. The voice in the ad is unmistakably that of Seth Rogen (even though he introduces himself in the first few seconds). Throughout the spot he employs his own brand of humor and irreverence to convey a direct message about donating to his charity. The voice is not only culturally relevant, but the script is smart and straightforward--and stands out overall compared to other charity donation ads.

Hilarity for Charity also successfully checked the boxes on our proven best practices for telling a brand story with sound:

1. USE A CONVERSATIONAL TONE Most audio is consumed through earbuds, so there is no need to shout anymore. Consumers will appreciate you more for speaking to them like you would a friend.

2. ADDRESS THE INDIVIDUAL LISTENER Digital audio allows brands to reach millions of people, one listener at a time. So make it personal! A natural tie-in to the platform will make your message stand out as part of the experience, rather than another ad.

3. EMPLOY A CLEAR CALL-TO-ACTION Tell the listener exactly what you want them to do and why. Be specific and straightforward, and they’ll be more likely to follow your direction.

4. COMPLEMENT WITH DISPLAY In an ideal scenario, audio and display go hand-in-hand. Let the audio message deliver the hardworking information, while the display captures the eyes.

Did you know that Pandora’s Creative Services team has helped our brand partners produce over 65,000 audio ads to date? That’s a lot of copywriting expertise! If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your brand sound it’s best on Pandora, please get in touch.

Sources: 1 Edison Research, Infinite Dial Study, 2016 (adults 12+ who stream music weekly)