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Script Writing


All good commercials start with a great script.

It’s the idea, the concept, the thought on which everything else is based. From a big budget TV commercial to a low cost radio ad, there’s one thing they both have in common - they started with an idea. It’s why the script writing (or copy writing) component is a crucial, albeit often underestimated part of the project.

In this collection of blog posts, we’ll explore:

  • Why script writing is so important and how it affects a finished commercial
  • The elements needed for an effective script
  • Examples of good and not-so-good scripts
  • How you can help a script writer deliver creative gold

… and more!

Reverse Engineer

In most cases, once a commercial campaign is planned and has been booked, the script writing component is the next step in the process. If the account manager has been briefed by the client as to the focus and desired outcome of the campaign, a good script writer will begin to reverse engineer the brief and work backwards from this desired outcome.

It might be to sell end-of-line product, encourage sign ups or increase bookings - but the WHAT of the brief will dictate the WHY of the script. Why should the listener/viewer care? Why should they take action? Once the script writer can unpack this, she can sketch out a creative framework and write in such a way that will engage with the target audience.

Importantly, the commercial doesn’t need to resonate with everybody. This is a common mistake made by some business owners and marketers as they think their advertising needs to reach everyone. Not so. The commercial only needs to connect and reach the people who care.

For example let’s say the client owns a retirement village, is targeting a 45+ year old audience and wants them to think about where their retired parents are going to live in the future. They might want to see this audience book a tour of the facility or come to an open day, with the view to seeing their retired parents move in and live in the village.

In this case, the people who care are probably already thinking about a few things:

  • Where will my parents live as they get older?
  • I love them but our house isn’t big enough for them to live with us
  • I want them to be happy, fulfilled and well looked after
  • I don’t want them to feel like they’ve been ‘dumped’
  • I don’t have the time to see them every day, but want to be able to easily visit them when we can

Reverse engineering the script writing from the WHAT (encouraging the viewer to book a tour of the facility) to the WHY (the things that I care about) will give the writer a good place to start. With the end goal in mind the script will be succinct, engaging and have a clear call to action.

Don’t Leave Holes In Your Briefs

A good brief should be just that. Brief, and with no holes! A script brief that is too long and filled with information can be difficult for a script writer to distill, unpack and get to the WHAT of the campaign. If a brief is too detailed, working out the one thing to remember and making that the hero of the script can often get lost in a sea of information. Conversely, a brief that has ‘holes’ in it - one that does not include a few key pieces of information - does not help a writer create a script that will achieve a good result.

Here are some questions every good script writing brief should include:

  • What’s the one thing the listener/viewer should remember?
  • Who is the target audience (ie the people who care)?
  • How should they respond? (ie visit the store, sign up for a trial, make a booking)?
  • A single point of contact (a website or physical address)
  • What’s the clear objective of the commercial?

A great script is the cornerstone of a good commercial. You can read more in our blog posts here, or contact us with your brief.