“Less COPY equals more EMOTION” by Ryan Ghidoni




By Ryan Ghidoni

PSR Contributor


Thursday April 28th, 2016


Audio Active Advertising – Episode 15: Less COPY equals more EMOTION.

Words create images in the mind that inspire rational processing.

Music creates emotions in the heart that inspire decisions.

By Rodrigo Della Fávera from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil –


Antonio Damasio, professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California believes that emotions are required before a person can decide to take action.

“Damasio’s view is based on his studies of people whose connections between the “thinking” and “emotional” areas of the brain had been damaged. They were capable of rationally processing information about alternative choices; but were unable to make decisions because they lacked any sense of how they felt about the options.” – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-the-consumer-mind/201302/how-emotions-influence-what-we-buy

So if emotions are required to inspire action and the goal of an effective ad is to inspire action…

Why has music, the most powerful source of emotion, been reduced to a walk-on part in most radio ads?

I turned on my desk radio while writing this article.

My desk radio. A promo item from a case of beer purchased 11 years ago. I know I should listen online but I like antennas.


Here is how music was used in the first ad break I heard:

Spot 1: Music was too low in the mix to really hear.

Spot 2: Music was generic pop rock that really didn’t add anything.

Spot 3: Music didn’t match the product experience.

Spot 4: No music.

Spot 5: So much copy the music was never allowed to breathe.

People are emotionally motivated.

Music creates an instant emotional response AND we can actually control the response by selecting a certain style of music.

In radio advertising…MUSIC is our biggest sword.

So why do we keep it in the sheath?

Bugs Bunny in “Knighty Knight Bugs”


Draw the singing sword and use it!

Here are two simple tips:

TIP #1 – Write less:

We pack so many words into 30 seconds that it drowns out the music and makes an emotional performance impossible.

Imagine a TV ad where the screen is so packed with words that you can’t see any of the images.

Imagine seeing a stand up comic who rushes through 15 minutes of jokes into his 10-minute routine.

The TV ad would be ineffective and the comic would be horrible.

It is easy to see in other things what we are completely blind to in our radio ads.

When you overload the copy…you overload the target and they TUNE OUT.

So make it a habit to start writing no more than 26 seconds of copy for a 30 second ad. You’ll be absolutely amazed at how much 4 seconds can improve the performance of the voice talent and the impact of the music.

Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester from Glee

Note: Time the 26 seconds of copy by performing the script. Don’t time it by reading it under your breath. I can read 34 seconds of copy under my breath in 26 seconds. So grab a stopwatch, step out of the copy room and perform it in the bathroom, the boardroom or the back lane. Yes…you’ll look crazy but you’re in creative…you’re supposed to be a bit of a nut.

TIP #2 – START with the music:

Decide on the core emotion of the ad and then find a piece of music that captures it. The production music library is no longer a wall of CDs with cumbersome catalogues to search through. It’s an online service with a search engine where you can select the mood, tempo, style, genre, etc… and 5 pages of matches are instantly provided. Many online music services even offer the assistance of a music director who knows every track intimately.

Once you find the perfect music…write to it.

Time your script with a read that matches the pace.

Use the builds, stabs and crescendos to accentuate the story.

With this approach…you aren’t writing a script…you’re orchestrating a performance.

Think of the voice as the lead instrument.

Conductor Anu Tali


If your passion is solely for creating the written word, get a job writing web copy or corporate pamphlets. No shame or blame. There are a bunch of businesses who could use your help and they’d probably give you more turnaround time.

If you want to create RADIO, you need to always remember that you are writing for sound.


Ryan Ghidoni is an 18-year veteran of radio advertising and has worked with some of the most creative sales reps, writers, producers and voice talent in the business.

CHECK OUT “Audio Active Advertising” every week on Puget Sound Radio.
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Email Ryan: [email protected]



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