Radio Results Blog

Got Get? The One Word Your Radio Advertising Is Better Off Without

Posted by Larry Julius on Fri, Aug 03, 2012 @ 07:44 PM

The typical 60-second radio commercial is only 150 words long.  So, it is important that each word is meticulously selected to convey the intended message.  This applies especially to the verbs.  According to The Writing Center at The University of Houston, "one of the best ways of grabbing and keeping [an audience] is to use strong descriptive verbs." So why was the word 'get' used, by my count, 42 times in the last 7 radio commercials I just heard.  'Get' and its various conjugations (gets, got, gotten) are not strong, descriptive verbs and they don't belong in most radio commercials.

Look up 'get' in any dictionary and you will see at least 30 definitions ranging from "to receive" (e.g., I got a letter in the mail) to "acquire a mental grasp" (e.g, I get your jokes). Based on this diversity of meaning, writer and language consultant Nick Usborne says that 'get' is a poor excuse for a word. "Get is passive, feeble, limp, flabby, and gutless. It hints at action, but communicates almost nothing."
If a word like 'get' communicates almost nothing, then you should not permit it to overtake your next radio commercial like linguistic kudzu. Instead, get-the-get-out and replace it with stronger more evocative language.

Here are some of examples of 'get' I just heard with some recommended, stronger verb choices:

Auto-Dealer Commercial: "Get the lowest prices in Maine." This could be made stronger: "Score the lowest prices...," "Drive Away with the lowest prices...," or, my favorite, "Seize the lowest prices in Maine.

Bank Commercial: "Get the highest-return possible."  This could be made stronger: "Earn the highest return...," "Reap the highest return..., or "Secure the highest return possible."  Since this is a bank, I really, really like 'secure.'

Health Club Commercial: "Get the body you want."  This could be made stronger: "Achieve the body....," "Possess the body...," or even "Build the body you want."

I think you get (understand) my point.  When your get (receive) your next radio script, get (grab) your red-pencil and get (find) every instance of 'get'. Who knows, you might get (win) a copywriting award.
Click on the links below to get (download) additional tips on creating effective radio commercials:
Effective Radio Advertising, Portland Maine Radio

Tags: Radio Commercial, Effective Radio Advertising, Tips