Finding Good Copy

by | Mar 19, 2008 | Advice

My wife bought me TIVO for my birthday a couple years ago, and I haven’t seen it since.  My kids immediately grasped the significance of what it could do, and now the storage is always taken up with Disney movies, episodes of "The Next Top Model" or MTV.

It’s not like I don’t watch TV…but…well…I’m kinda like the car mechanic who works on everyone ELSE’s car all day, and really doesn’t want to mess with his own at night. 

Plus, being in the TV biz, I see things a little differently.  Uh-huh, I actually get a chance to witness what goes into making the sausage at the sausage factory, and it’s not always pretty.

But back to TIVO… the one amazing thing it does it allow you to stop, back-up, and play again live programs.  THAT ALONE would be worth the price of TIVO admission.

It’s been a life-saver for finding good copy. 
What’s that?  Finding good copy?  Yep. 

It seems to be a common lament among people working on their demo.  I don’t get it.  There’s a ton of great copy all to be had for the listening.

I just HAPPENED to be in the family room the other day talking to my wife during a commercial set of some TV program, and what was coming out of the speakers literally halted me in my tracks.  A commercial so suh-weetly written and produced…I almost couldn’t believe it.  You can bet I grabbed the TIVO control, a pen and paper, and spent the next couple minutes back-tracking and jotting down every word.

Am I going to use it verbatim?  Of course not!  It’s a cinch to change the name of the company, even it’s intent somewhat.  The writing is what matters…the concept.  Someone thought up a golden idea, and now I’m going to "borrow" it for my demo. 

Radio and TV are full of these tidbits.  Yes, there are plenty of bozo commercials on the air, too… but if you listen at all… my guess is you could find something usable almost every hour.

Some say magazines are full of this stuff too.  I suppose so, but they require a little more tweaking, ’cause they’re written for the reader, not the listener, and they don’t have :30 or :60 parameters.  But there’s no question good magazine copy can be the spark behind some great ideas for copy that can be adapted for the ear.

You probably watch more TV than I do.  Go for it!  There are people in advertising agencies who really DO care about making good commercials.  Maybe they’re just bucking for an Addy…or maybe they’ve got a running competition with the guy at the agency across town.  Either way, listen for it.  It’s out there.




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