Production is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Where the other 3 elements come together. It’s the secret sauce. When you tell your radio rep that you want the spot to “pop,” to jump out of the speakers, to make listeners drop their popcorn, whether you know it or not, you’re talking about the production.
The magic is in the mix.
For most spots on the radio, “production” amounts to little more than picking a music bed that kinda sounds like it fits. If you’re lucky you get a couple of sound effects dropped in on top of the voice over and the music bed, and if you ask, really, really nice, you get some reverb thrown in.
At the very least, have the station switch music beds halfway through the spot, the subtle change in the background will give you another chance to grab the listener’s attention because people notice contrast.
Most spots we produce never have much more than 5 seconds of continuous music in the background. Switch the music up, include dry sections with no background music at all, mix in sound effects and ambient noise and do it all so subtly that the average listener never notices and only hears the BIG voice that POPS.
The background production is just that… background. Almost at the subconscious level. It makes people pay attention and they won’t even know why.
Most locally produced radio spots sound the same, because most local DJ’s sound the same, especially when they turn on their “Radio Voice.” They’re trying to sound excited, energetic, authoritative, engaging and memorable. What it mostly sounds like is they’re trying.
They’ll either lower their voice to sound smooth and authoritative. We call that “puking.” Or they dial the energy and enthusiasm up to 11 to sound like a truck and tractor pull ad. We call that “screaming.”
What you want is a voice that does all of those things, and even mixes a little personality in.
Without trying. Without puking. Without screaming.
They’re few and between, but that’s the one you want. That’s the voice people will hear in their head when they think of your store.
Terry Lancaster is the Vice President of Making Sh!t Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, a Certified Radio Marketing Consultant and has been helping car dealers stand out, get noticed and sell more cars via radio since the Reagan Administration.