Radio: “The Theater of the Mind” – Sound Effects and Music

With the right sound effects, listeners can visualize the scene you set before them. It’s automatic!


Let’s say you are advertising a motel or AirBnB on the coast. If your radio ad uses a sound effect of seagulls, waves crashing on the shore, children laughing, adults chatting, your listeners will mentally imagine a beach scene. The audience really has no choice.

These sound effects draw out pictures and images in their minds. They can’t help but react to those sounds by imagining themselves sitting in the sand, sipping a drink and enjoying relaxing time with friends.This is the power of radio advertising.

You’ve heard ads for a soft drink or a beer and the sound effect is a pop top and the pouring of the liquid into a glass. It makes you thirsty, right?

As you listen to ads, pick out the sound effects and think about how they make you feel and the imagery that comes to mind. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Restaurants or other food businesses can use sound effects cleverly. You can hear the sound of a sizzling steak, or the patrons sounds of “Mmmmm” or comments of satisfaction.

Unlike a TV ad which shows the viewer the beach with the sand and the surf, or watching a TV ad where a couple or group are enjoying drinks, or a steak house where sizzling steaks are brought to the table on a hot plate straight from the grill, the radio ad’s sound effects compel the listener’s mind to engage in actually constructing the scene.

Each listener is at a location they remember. It might be the east or west coast, or a tropical island, or a land far away. It may bring back a childhood memory or a cruise enjoyed in recent years.

It might be a party at a restaurant they enjoyed. You get the idea. In every case, it will be a scene constructed from their experiences and memories because their imaginations built it.

Not every business will warrant sound effects in their radio ad, but many businesses can benefit from the skillful use of an appropriate music bed. Depending on your service or product, the right music behind the message can “warm up” your audience. The music can be upbeat, frivolous, soothing or dramatic.

Also, The expert use of voice over actors certainly helps to communicate the message the advertiser is wanting to get across.

We can help you with all of this! Call us at 800-208-7154 or email us.

By Pete Miller and Sean Pearce

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