Notes Off the Napkin: Constipatus Cerebrus

Notes-Off-the-Napkin-logo1By Andrew Frame

A sucking chest wound. It’s not a good sound. Very similar to the sound your brain makes when you’ve got a block. Days when you can’t write to save your life. And trying to plow through is akin to appealing to reason with a sixteen year old girl.

It might not help that the cocktail napkin that contains the “copy notes” is pretty marginal, too. So, instead of going through, let’s go around.

A script framework calls for an opener to hook the listener, whether it be a question, vignette, or piece of interesting information. You need to get them in and you have about three seconds to do it. Then reinforcement with emotion, which in turn is reinforced with logic. A move towards the sell, then ask for the money. Finally, wrap with a tie-up that brings back the initial lines of the script, which if done right, will create a closed, emotional and logical loop with a call to action.

Is this “formula” writing? Of course, and there’s nothing wrong with it. You can still go after the amorphous “image” commercial on your own time. We’re talking about going around a writer’s block here so you can get the rep (or client for us indies) off your back and make sure the spot makes it to air on time. Nothing keeps you from going back later and making something prettier.

Start with your single main important key point. What ONE thing is this spot to do?

• Increase floor traffic.

Write three different supporting facts. You hopefully will have this from the rep.

• Fresh, never frozen fish, grilled, blackened, or broiled.

• Li’l Mates Cabin for the kids, Captain’s Quarters for a more private mealtime.

• Weeknights in July, ten percent off your bill celebrating the tenth anniversary.

Now, what kind of emotional hook can you build on this product or service? Satisfy ego! If it’s about anything visual (from floors to cars) press the point of just how good this is going to look with the customer in/on it. If it’s a service, angle towards how it’s good for kids, families, health, virility, or any type of welfare and safety.

Write those emotional tugs:

• Wouldn’t you love to have someone else cook a fabulous supper and do the clean up for you tonight? (vanity, stress relief)

• Big portions to take home. (money, value)

• No matter how you like it, let us cook you a fabulous supper tonight! (entitlement, vanity, reward)

Write the customer’s slogan after the first and third key point, and again before the last line. If they don’t have one, make one. Clichés are fine at this point in the game. Remember, this is a Frankenspot. It just needs to walk, talk, and breathe until you can come up with something better.

• For fish any fresher, you’d have to get wet!

Add at least two locators for the clients business. A locator isn’t an address. It’s how you would tell someone where to find them.

• ...at the corner of Beach and Boatyard Lane.

If you’re selling a service, swap the locators for phone numbers or website URL. By now, you should have the script pretty well blocked out. Make sure you have identified a need and supplied a solution, provided an emotional hook to hang the need and solution on, and provided logical support to reinforce the emotional solution.

Need a few extra seconds? Add the phone number. A phone number is at least seven words. Plug in the phone number discreetly. You want it there for time, not for a flow-stopper. Websites are good too for time fill, but don’t do the “www” stuff. Just the name and domain.

You should now have an informative – and not boring – one or two voice commercial that can be easily produced, and hits all the key points without overkill or over-information. Plus, it can be easily slimmed to a :30 by pretty much cutting all the information in half. Smooth it out, tweak your punctuation and grammar, and for the killer touch, make it a two voicer! Find someone of opposite gender, and get a read on the whole script, line by line. Then you do a set of lines. If they’re a weak reader, you can compensate with your reads. When editing, go back and forth. It’s amazing how something that simple can make a huge difference in the impression the final product makes on the rep and the client.

In about an hour, you’ve covered all the basics that a good piece of advertising should cover, and you’re the hero for another day. Or at least for another hour.

The Quick Script:

Wouldn’t you love to have someone else cook a fabulous supper and do the clean up for you tonight? How about a deliciously fresh, never frozen grouper supper grilled, blackened, or broiled with all the sides? Then set course for Baxter’s Shark Shack at Beach and Boatways Lane, south Squeak Island! If the fish at Baxter’s Shark Shack were any fresher, you’d have to catch them yourself! Every night in July, we’re taking ten percent off your bill for our tenth anniversary celebration! Crunchy quick fried, sizzling delicious grilled, or spicy blackened, our fresh grouper supper is so big there’s probably enough to take home! Or ring us up at “fivefivefive fish” to get a line on our catch of the day! Baxter’s Shark Shack on south Squeak Island has the Li’l Mates Cabin for the kids and for a more private rendezvous, the Captain’s Quarters. No matter how you like it, let us cook you a fabulous supper tonight! Baxter’s Shark Shack, Beach and Boatways Lane, south Squeak Island! Open every day, three ‘til midnight. For fish any fresher, you’d have to catch them yourself!

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