Radio Hed: Metaphor Bridges

Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

A commercial’s success is often dependent on how successfully you can relate to what the listener already knows. What does your target listener know?

Each listener has certain knowledge, experience and memories. Want to move them? Use the influence of the familiar. Connect what you say with what they know and use metaphors to do it.

The use of metaphor (the representation of one thing in terms of another) is powerful in eliciting hidden or deeply held thoughts and, equally important, the connections between thoughts. Similes and analogies are good, but metaphors are the big guns. This is why studying poetry can make you a better radio writer.

Unconscious thoughts and feelings are the prime drivers of consumer behavior. So, while content is important, how you say those words – the voices you use, the attitudes of the voices, the sound effects, the music, the use of silence - all influence those prime movers.

Let’s say your client has a solution to the problem of mold in homes. Most homeowners are aware of this through their own experience or because of all the toxic mold news coverage. The major emotion associated with this is fear – of health problems, expensive cleanup, insurance non-coverage and lowered resale value of their home.

Your commercial can dramatize mold as the insidious, silent, creeping intruder bringing decay, disease and destruction into the lives of the listener. A horror movie trailer approach might be good here. Drama can be used to portray the advertiser as the solution to the problem.

Without a frame of reference your audience won’t have anything in their own experience to attach it to, and your pitch will fall by the wayside. Give them one and it will get integrated into their web of experience.

Metaphors are the bridges from where your potential buyer is to where you want them to go – straight to the advertiser.

© 2004 Hedquist Productions, Inc.

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