Transform your AD into a TEST-DRIVE by Ryan Ghidoni



Ryan Ghidoni

By Ryan Ghidoni

PSR Contributor


Thursday June 30th, 2016


Audio Active Advertising – Episode 24: Transform your AD into a TEST-DRIVE:

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“The sound of the engine was intoxicating. As I shifted through the gears, I envisioned myself driving the car down the road on a warm summer day with the top down. I was convinced even before returning to the dealership that this was the car I wanted to own. I sat down, worked out a deal that I was happy with and took delivery three days later.” – excerpt from “The Power of a Test Drive” on


There is a reason why dealerships offer test drives.


Once a person can picture how much better their lives will be with your product…the purchase is imminent.


So today I want to share three tips that will transform your radio ad into a virtual test-drive of your product.


Tip #1: Tell a story.

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A good story is like a test-drive. At the dawn of time…early homo sapiens told stories so that others could learn possible solutions before they experienced problems first hand. Many moons later the story telling process was refined by the columnists of Writer’s Digest.


Steven James, guest columnist for Writer’s Digest, recommends that before you write your story, jot down some notes under the following five ingredients:

Orientation: Set the stage: My wife and I just moved into our first home.


Crisis: Define the problem: Every time we get heavy rain, the basement leaks.


Escalation: Make the problem worse by pumping some life drama into it: Our first child is due in a month. Her folks are coming in for the birth. They plan to stay in the basement. How’s it going to look to her dad if I can’t handle a house problem. The first 3 places I called we’re booked solid for two months.  


Discovery: Ta da…a solution: Company X can come right away because they have multiple crews.


Change: Explain how life has become better: The problem is fixed and my confidence has grown. If I can handle a house crisis…maybe I AM ready to be a dad.


Now these are just rough notes but you can already see how this story ad is going to be more powerful than an announcer talking about Company X and their multiple crews for 30 seconds.


If you like organizing the story information by using the five ingredients, get more details from “The 5 Essential Story Ingredients” by Steven James located here:


TIP #2: Don’t just state it…demonstrate it.

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The best ads are a combo of both narrative and dialogue so that you have the combined power of both showing and telling.


Announcer: You’ll know it’s the right ring from Smith’s Jewellers when you see the look on her face when you propose.


Male (nervous): Jen…will you marry me?

Female (very emotional): Oh my god…it’s gorgeous.


Announcer: Plus…when you get the ring RIGHT…she’ll forget about all the other things you get WRONG.


Male: Thanks for coming to the wedding. I’ve always wanted to meet Jen’s favorite uncle.

Female (gruff): Um…I’m Jen’s Aunt.

Male: Oh…..(Awkward silence)


Use the narrative to set the stage and accelerate the timeline. Use the dialogue to really hit home with something real. The change of switching between showing and telling will also help maintain listener attention. You can thank Sesame Street for our need for constant change.


Tip 3: Use the power of sound:

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Direct the voice talent to create authentic performances. Use voices that know how to act. The ad will fail to draw the listener’s ear if the characters sound like they are reading lines. Be open to improvisation. If the voice talent is unable to make the copy sound believable, ask them to say it in their own words.


Only use instantly identifiable sound effects. If the sound effect doesn’t instantly create a picture in the mind of the listener, then leave it out. Ambiguous sound effects only add clutter and confusion to the production. We want sounds that transport the listener into the experience.


Draw the listener into the test-drive experience with emotionally charged music. Spend the time to find a piece of music that matches the feel of the scene and then edit the music to accentuate the developments. Don’t grab the 30 second version. Grab the 2min and 40 sec full mix and then cut it up to fit perfectly with the story.


If these three elements are powerful enough you can even leave the main character out of the dialogue and make the listener the main character. Have the other characters address the listener directly. This will create a true first hand test-drive and a very powerful ad.

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People are much more likely to buy something when they’ve already imagined owning it. Thirty seconds of “straight-sell” information from an announcer does not engage the imagination of the listener.


So stop talking about the product and start providing a test-drive of the results.


Want to unleash the power of a “test-drive” ad for your business? Contact Audio Active Advertising today.


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: Ry**@Au********************.com 




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