• Ben Ryan

The Best Way To Freshen Up An On-Air Campaign

"Listen pal, you know all those zaps and whooshes you hear in radio promos? Well they don't grow on trees. I can't just go out into the garden and pluck a whoosh off my whoosh tree or an explodey sound off my explodey bush." - Try telling that to your Content Director next time he wants you to make a whole new batch of promos to freshen up a long running campaign.

OR... you could avoid the Centrelink queue which resulted from thwarting your CD's plans for world domination and actually do as he asks, but in a way that needs little writing and somehow just feels fast and exciting to work on. A way that doesn't mean starting from scratch and totally thinking up a new angle for every script, allowing you to collaborate with the audience themselves. So what is this magical self-writing process I'm going on about? Haven't you heard? It's called an Interaction Promo. And the reason you haven't heard of it is because I made it up about a year ago and never told anyone. UNTIL NOW...

I'm not actually claiming to have invented the concept of including callers in promos . Truth is, people have always made Interaction Promos but in a random sort of 'if it happens it happens' kind of way, without actively seeking out opportunities for them.

Let's set the scene. You've produced some fresh promos to kick off the next big thing on your radio station. Here's the challenging part though - the big thing is running for many weeks so when the big thing becomes the old thing those fresh promos will be sounding as overused as autotune at a boy band convention.

My suggested formula for preventing campaign packaging from sounding tired is to add in one interaction promo per week of it's duration.

Here's how to make interaction promos - First, hit up your on air talent to give you the heads up whenever they have an interesting interaction with a caller so you can go back on your logger system to find it. Alternatively they might be able to give you the raw audio themselves. However in my experience you can't always rely on this sourcing method. Often you can hear the potential in a particular piece of audio that no-one else does and after you use it the relevant announcer is often surprised by how entertaining the results are.

In any case, repeatedly listen to the interaction to try and come up with a basic angle and then riff around it with a line or two of voice over. For example if the caller gives a woeful answer during a cash quiz you might say "That answer was so bad not only did we not give not give them the one thousand dollars but we actually fined them some money" - So you're still selling that you're giving away one thousand cash while being funny at the same time. Fun & strategic. Art & science.

When I write an article it's about stuff I actually do, it's not some well meaning motivational speech that leaves you wondering if the author actually practices what they preach - so with that in mind here are a few promos I prepared earlier to promote something called Briz Quiz - a sweet little tactic where people answer trivia about the city of Brisbane to win prizes and ten grand cold hard caaaash. Well, when I say I prepared them earlier I actually prepared the first three earlier to kick off the campaign. Then I added the fourth promo to the mix a week later. It is an Interaction Promo based on a caller interaction with our afternoon announcer which I happened to hear as I was walking down the corridor, probably on my way to some high powered meeting... ok full disclosure I was actually transporting a buildup of six coffee mugs from my studio to the kitchen. Listen to the link below to hear all four promos, the last one being the interaction promo.

Keep in mind when you're writing an interaction promo you're not writing fully formed jokes around it. We're doing just enough to set up the interaction is the real star. As I said earlier - you're not really writing so much as 'riffing' around the interaction.

Here are a few more examples of some Interaction promos I've made...

As you may have noticed, some of those were winner promos. Not exactly traditional winner promos though were they?

Interaction Promos can be built from literally any type of interaction- winners, losers, chatting, rants, whatever is entertaining. Keep an ear on the stuff going to air on your station and just as importantly keep an open mind about what that stuff can be used for.

For further reading (and listening!) check out my eBook covering Interaction Promos among many other promo strategies, plus a comprehensive look at joke writing for all digital media.

#radio #imaging #promos #fun #comedy


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