Jamie Aplin is the Founder and CEO of CreativeReady. It was his vision to level the playing field between national market and local market advertising creative. His plan to achieve that is by providing small-to-mid sized radio stations with national quality creative that’s affordable and available on-demand. It was his idea to usher the stock concept into the radio industry, coining the phrase “Stock Advertising Elements”. His 20+ years of experience has made him an expert in digital branding, radio advertising and audio production. We hope you’ll appreciate the level of detail that Jamie puts into the creative process and his insight on how to turn a good idea into effective radio creative.
CR: What exactly are Stock Advertising Elements
JAMIE: The easiest way for me to describe it is to use the parallel of Stock Photography. Ya’ll know what Stock Photography is, right? Instead of hiring a photographer to come and do a custom photoshoot you visit on of the many stock photography websites, search the library of existing photos and download the one you want. All at a fraction of what it would cost to hire a photographer. We’ve applied the same model to Radio Advertising Elements. So instead of contracting an ad agency (or doing it yourself for that matter), you can pull from our library of fully-produced campaigns, jingles, script templates and music beds. So it’s agency quality creative that’s actually affordable and it’s available on-demand.
CR: What are the main advertising elements you contribute to CreativeReady and which do you enjoy creating the most?
JAMIE: I’m heavily involved in the development and production of all our products. My background is music and audio production, so I really enjoy being in the studio and anything to do with the production/recording process. Having an idea literally ‘come to life’ through singing, spoken word, music and sound effects – is quite satisfying. I also really enjoy being in a room with other writers and bouncing ideas off one another. Starting with a concept, moving into script writing, then recording specs, right through to the final mix, is an extremely exhilarating process.
CR: How did you first get into audio engineering and specifically radio advertising?
JAMIE: Like I said, I started out in music so the progression to radio seemed fairly natural. Touring professionally as a musician and collaborating with artists for a number of years, I frequently had access to recording studios until I eventually started one myself. After a while, I took those skills and transitioned into the world of advertising. Then I started up my own agency where we specialized in audio production and creative services. I later sold that agency to a much larger agency that focused primarily on custom radio creative. I worked for them as their Creative Director and it was during that time CreativeReady was conceptualized.
CR: What’s your favourite style of advertising?
JAMIE: My tastes lean towards a ‘outside-the-box’ humorous approach. Something with a dry and quirky sense of humor. That’s just who I am and I find it speaks to me the most, so naturally that’s where I tend to lean. That being said I do appreciate a good narrative or story-telling approach to an ad. I honestly appreciate all styles of advertising, just as long as it’s well polished. Endless script revisions, casting the perfect voice, proper sound design, an appropriate music bed and a great mix – are all crucial elements when polishing an ad campaign. Skimp out on any of those elements and you’re not doing your job properly.
CR: How do you know a radio campaign is compelling to its listener? What do you believe draws the listener in?
JAMIE: Believability. Everyone has a ‘bull-$h!t’ radar and as soon as they sense something’s not genuine, you’ve lost them. For example, when you hear an auto dealer ad urging you to ‘hurry in or you’ll never see these prices again’ everyone knows that’s crap! Their ‘BS detector’ goes off because they know that any day of the week, they can walk into that same dealership, throw down a wad of cash and drive out with a vehicle for pretty much the same price as they were advertising on the radio. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction for us to ‘tune out’ anyone we hear on the radio yelling about having “the best products at the lowest prices” – it’s not believable.
On the other hand, when you hear a creative, compelling and believable approach to that same ad you almost want to turn up the volume in order to hear what they’re saying. When you approach an audience with something conversational or with something that’s relatable, you’re more likely to bend their ear. At the end of the day it’s all about how much your ads relate to your potential customers. That’s what is most important.
CR: In the creative process, where is most of your time spent?
JAMIE: Coming up with GOOD ideas. There are plenty of ideas thrown out there but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are worthy of being produced into something. That’s why working as a team is important. Having a room full of creative types is a very healthy environment to be in. If you can get past all of the ego, I recommend working in this format the majority of the time. If you insist on writing alone, you’ll never be challenged on your ideas. And most times you’ll think all of your ideas are great (even if they’re not).
You need to surround yourself with people who think and approach things differently than you do. This allows a healthy mix of opinion. It pushes the collective to always be producing better content. If you can regularly block time to get a handful of writers (or even just ‘idea-people’) in the same room you’ll be far more effective than locking yourself in a room, and trying to come up with new ideas by yourself.
CR: Talk about writing scripts, how does that process begin?
JAMIE: When sitting down to write anything you need inspiration. In the words of the Barenaked Ladies – ”Woo-hoo-hoo … It’s all been done.” In other words, finding inspiration in something that already exists isn’t really a bad thing. So I like spending time listening to great ads and then pulling certain ideas from them. Then I’ll try to apply a similar approach to a campaign I’m working on. This becomes a great spring-board into my workflow. It never ends up the same as the original because we all think and interpret things differently. Inspiration can come from any creative medium like movies, books art or music. These are all great resources in helping you stir the ‘creative pot’. For me the key is getting outside of my own ‘creative buble’ and drawing from others who you feel have already done a fantastic job. That’s always a great place to start.
CR: What is your favourite product current on CreativeReady?
JAMIE: There’s a Mattress Store campaign called “Phil’s Mattress” and I absolutely love it! I actually didn’t even write it [laughs]. It’s pretty simple but clever and it always make me laugh. If you’re able to put a smile on someone’s face after they’ve heard your ad then you’ve done something right. The point of a campaign is not for the listener to rush out to your store and buy whatever it is you’re selling, it’s to have them remember who when they ARE ready to buy a product you sell. I think this particular campaign does a pretty good job of that.