Radio Hed: Conflict

by Jeffrey Hedquist

Life is full of conflicts (No it’s not!), yet most radio commercials have none.  The characters are usually agreeing with each other.  Conflicts will breathe life into your radio commercials and make them more “real.”  They don’t have to be violent.  (They could be!)

The conflicts can be resolved completely or only partially by the end of the spot, maybe even introducing new ones.  Conflict can take many forms.  It can be two or more people in a relationship with differing views on the same subject.  One character can be the “believer” and another the skeptic.  (I don’t believe you.)  Radio listeners will automatically identify with the skeptic.  As the believer tries to make a case, the skeptic keeps coming up with rational or even outrageous objections, giving an opportunity for humor. 

The conflict might just be a contrast between two different personalities: the old pro and the novice, teacher and student, conservative and liberal, traditionalist and contemporary, scientist and artist.  Sometimes the greater the difference in the point of view, the more interesting the commercial can be.  (Yeah, right.)  It could even be a schizophrenic’s different personalities talking to each other, or the left brain arguing with the right brain...the possibilities are endless. 

Audiences will tire very quickly of a commercial where  everyone agrees (Who says?), everything is right, and the client is perfect.  Don’t be afraid of conflict in your commercials (Or, ignore all of the above).

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