Quick Copywriting

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Advice and help for would be copywriters

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Both Tend To Favour The Younger Marke...

Both tend to favour the younger market too strongly. Can't we dream up a pitch that satisfies the oldsters, too? 'Where do you get your ideas from?' The question is unavoidable when in non-advertising circles; it's also wholly unanswerable wherever you happen to be. If I knew from whence, I'd patent it pretty smartly. Ideas just happen.

One minute you're staring at a blank sheet of paper in the PC, making anagrams of Olivetti, and the next wallop! - it's salvation come to call. Very often, though, 146 inspiration comes from others, right out of the blue. The trick is to recognize it when it happens. By way of explanation, and so as to craftily introduce the solution to the problem now before us, permit me to quote part of a conversation I was involved in not many days ago.

It happened at a pilots' meeting in the pub of the flying club. A fellow aviator was holding forth about the annual medicals we are obliged to undergo. 'Did you know,' he asked, 'that three per cent of all trainee pilots are found to be colour-blind?' To which another of the company replied: 'And the rest of us just dress that way.' It brought the house down; and not only because we were collectively up to here in a variety of well-known beverages.

It was a good queue - maybe not an original line, but right up our street. So much so, with a slight adjustment, it's a gift for Next On Top Is.

Austin. But, first, what of the treatment? Shall we go for a plain, unvarnished voice-over? A conversational piece? Or a not-so-straight voice-over using a well-known personality? An investigation is in order. 1 We can reject the announcement-type voice-over unless, of course, we are prepared to use the queue as a statement of fact; and I don't think such forthrightness as I have in mind would be a good bet in these circumstances.

We might, quite reasonably, consider a single voice where the voice itself contains a hint of the comic. I'm talking of a strong regional accent (different from the region we are broadcasting to, certainly), or a foreign accent, or a nasal/ adenoidal delivery. 2 Any personality we employed in this context would obviously be a comedian or some kind of humorous commentator. I'd go along with that but for one small consideration. We should be obliged to find a personality who would feel happy about delivering the line.

To put it another way, the syntactical differences in writing for, say, Radio and Sky - the bare facts 147 Terry Wogan as compared with Terry Kyle are chalk and cheese. When you're working with big names, it's important to study their particular brand of humour. That goes without saying. Just as critical is an intimacy with their pace, timing and idiosyncratic usage of key words - quite apart from catch-phrases, chuckles, sniffs and sighs.

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