Steal This Script - August 1992

How's That For Openers?

by John Dodge

Recall studies show that your ad's first and last statements are remembered best and longest. So take advantage of that fact and treat them like headlines or billboards. Don't wait to build -- there's no time for that -- grab ears straight from the get go! Careful with cheap tricks though, or you'll !#96&$@! people off. Sure, you could open a commercial with, "Bulletin, bulletin, bulletin! This just in from the news desk...atomic bombs are falling on Washington! Before the radiation spreads you still have time to make it to the Big Blowout Sale at Mike's Microwave Warehouse!" That would get attention...followed shortly by a clickety-click sound that you first mistake for castanets but which turns out to be the sound of thousands of angry listeners punching your button out. Make your opener fit the subject. And do it in an unusual way.

Case in point: I recently wrote a series for "Ergonomic Solutions" -- ergonomics being the science/design of the way humans physically interact with their stuff. This business makes chairs, workstations, lighting, computer accessories, a whole array of well-designed products for the modern office. Our target was business owners and those responsible for outfitting the workplace.

I knew that a strong and unusual opening line was the way to capture attention. One ad began, "If you knew how dangerous your office really was, you wouldn't come to work." Another began with, "Next time your co-worker tells you he's sick of his job, better take him seriously." But the one Mr. Ergo liked best was a true story -- one that also begins with an attention grabbing device:

"The $90,000 Chair"

The following is a business owner's nightmare. A penny wise, pound foolish tale we call, "The $90,000 Chair."

Last year one of the top billing sales people at a well-known (insert your city) business was out of work for the entire fourth quarter, the busiest time of the year. The doctor's diagnosis? A slipped disc caused by years of cold-calling from a cut-rate chair. You know the chair. You probably own a few.

It cost this company plenty...in lost business, lost productivity, disability. Around $90,000 they figure. All for the price of a good chair. The kind of chair you can buy from Ergonomic Solutions.

Ergonomic Solutions offers an employee-friendly line of workstations, seating, lighting, computer accessories and other modern office products designed with health and safety in mind. Call them at (phone #), and they'll send you a free brochure. That's (phone #) for Ergonomic Solutions in (your city). If people are your most valuable resource, call Ergonomic Solutions...your solution for a healthier, more productive workplace.

Chances are there's a business in your area that doesn't do radio, that just might sign on if you creatively modify this ad to suit their needs. Good luck! And whatever you write, avoid the boring, the mundane and the obvious. I gotta go now, my back is killing me, and I'm fighting off a wicked eyestrain headache. There's something about this deck chair and fluorescent lamp....