The DC Comics New 52 Radio Ad Is Quite Abysmal

This is the approved DC radio ad that retailers can run in their local area, and get 75% of the costs back. Shame it’s so very very dire.

Some of you know that for most of my working life I was an advertising copywriter, and for most of that career I specialised in radio.

Well, this is an awful ad.

Purely technically, you can’t pronounce a hash tag. Should that be read “Number Ones”? Unfortunate toilet connotations there. Issue Ones then. You repeat “fifty-two.. new… issues” within seconds, and then say “new” again, straight away. Horrible clunky.

But not as clunky as writing the first few lines as headline poster or press copy, not a sentence to be read by the human mouth and listened to by the human ear.

The sentences are overlong and not written for natural speech, with plenty of clauses. Acceptable for written text, not for anything that has to be read aloud. The basic rule of writing radio is always read it aloud. From the evidence of this co-op ad I can’t believe that happened here.

Then there’s telling the audience who they are. It’s like you just read out the demographic section in the brief.

Seriously, it hurts. This is the equivalent of seeing an ad agency write a comic book based on what they think a comic should be, without actually reading one. This smacks of someone writing what they think a radio ad should be. Without actually listening to any.

Things they could have done.

Find a way to read all fifty-two titles fast, one after another. Gets over the range and may pique curiosity.

Get audio of some of the creators talking about their books and craft an ad around that.

Yes even Grant Morrison. Write an ad around Grant’s American translator, translating each line.

Dramatise some of the people you say you’re talking to, and show how it answers the problems. Love superhero movies but can’t wait the long periods between them? Someone who wants to try, but doesn’t know where to start? Someone who used to love comics but fell out of favour, who suddenly find an old longbox? Dramatise that moment, that feeling, that conversation, without being cheesy and provide a positive emotional reason for someone to pick up a comic.

You could even dramatise scenes from a comic. You don’t even have to say what it is straight away, tease them with some fascinating aspect of a comic, then give us a To Be Continued At Comics Comics Comics, on the corner of Hilton and Schmilton or whatever, launching into the relaunch facts and figures if you must.

It’s not that hard, it just needs a little imagination. And you’re a comic book company, you should have loads of it, spare. As it stands this is the least inspiring way you could have gone. I mean seriously. I want to kick something right now.

I wasn’t expecting anything award winning. But this sounds worse than the radio ads for the local carpet shop.

Comic book stores, run your own ad. It may cost you four times as much without DC’s co-op payment, but you’ll get four times as much custom. Hell, I’ll write you a script for free…

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