Okay, the first thing that you should know is that in the music industry, a lot of work happens before a commercial is even written. For a retailer such as Play to work with a record label (in this case Universal Music Canada), several things need to be negotiated, such as:
· First agreeing upon which title(s) are mutually beneficial to advertise
· Negotiating how many units of the selected title(s) need to be purchased by the retail partner
· Negotiating how much money is available to be spent for this advertising, and then
· Deciding which media is the best solution for the artist/title.

Once all that is agreed upon, I then contact the agreed upon media partner. In this case it was 97.5 The River, in Kamloops BC. The commercials ("spots", in the industry jargon) are booked, and scheduled to run on certain dates, within certain timeframes. In most cases, the radio station will write your spot for you, but I like to write all of the spots for Play to ensure that we have a uniform audio brand identity on each station Play advertises on.

On each radio station I select one person to voice all of our spots, and then stay with that person. This helps to create familiarity, much in the same way a spokesperson does. In this instance our voice is Ara Andonian, who is the host of the afternoon drive on the station.

With the advertising dollars in place and the spots booked, I then come up with the creative for the spot (which I'll get to in a moment). I then send the script to the label for approval, before I then send it to the station to be voiced and produced.
Once they do that, they send an mp3 to me for approval. Once it meets with my approval, I then send it to the label for their approval as well. Only after they sign off on it do I contact the station and give them the go ahead to begin playing the spots on air.

Finally, when the spots have finished their run, the station will provide me with invoices, proof of performance and signed affidavits. Invoice time, huzzah!

But, back to the creative. Here is the script I wrote for Bon Jovi. I will provide notes on this after:

Music Bed: Bon Jovi - Til We Ain't Strangers Anymore
Play this great gift idea - Bon Jovi return with their amazing album Lost Highway, featuring the hit singles "Til We Ain't Strangers Anymore" and the title track "Lost Highway"
Music Main Hook: Lost Highway
Pick up Bon Jovi - "Lost Highway", on sale now for only $13.99 at Play Entertainment in Aberdeen Mall. Play - The music store as independent as you are!

..and that's it! Now, here's a breakdown of the script, and why it's written the way it is:
· First off, we start with Til We Ain't Strangers Anymore playing in the background of the spot. This was one of two active singles at the time, and so I chose to start the spot off with the recognizable instrumental part of that song.
· Getting to the actual wording of the spot, I start all of Play's spots with the term "Play this", which of course works on two levels. It's a play (no pun intended) on the company's name, and of course a reference to playing a CD. This bit of continuity on all our spots is another means of building the Play brand.
· Secondly, I have written here "great gift idea", due to the time of year these spots ran. Christmas is the busiest time of the year in retail with everyone always unsure of what to give. Thus, a helpful little suggestion, give someone music from Play!
· The remainder of this line before we head to the change in music is a standard formula for me - name the band, album, and the single(s) which are on the charts.
· Now I've changed the music to the chorus (or "main hook" as it's also referred to) to Lost Highway. At the time of writing this spot, that song was doing well on The River's "Top 30" countdown, and thus easily recognized by their listeners.
· Once again we fade the music back and have our voice speak over top. Again I follow a formula to tie up the spot: Artist, Album, price point, and where to buy it.
·One final detail I always add to our spots: our slogan. Prior to my arrival at Play, a common question asked about the company was "What is Play?". Thus, I created the tagline/slogan for the company - "The music store as independent as you are", which covers all of our bases. What is Play? An independently owned and operated music store, with just a little bit of attitude. In a time of box stores and gas stations selling CDs, it's nice to be able to go somewhere that still cares and specializes in music.

If the commercial didn't automatically load for you, click here to play it.

* A great big thank you to my boy Ara at The River for doing his usual bang-up job both voicing and producing my spots!

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