Creating Natural Dialogue For Serious Audio Ads

Write Label
4 min readNov 17, 2023


By: Allison Kilkenny

Dialogue is the most efficient way to develop relationships between characters in audio ads, and it also allows you to methodically convey information in a way that feels more organic than a straight read from an announcer.

Understanding the rhythm of how dialogue occurs in our world requires careful observation of jargon and motives, determining the tone of the ad and when dialogue is appropriate, and finally, testing the dialogue to hear if it flows naturally.

Observe the natural world

The best way to understand the verbal patterns, vocabulary, and jargon of everyday people is to simply observe them and how different social factors influence speech patterns.

Author Amanda McCormack at Simplecast offers some examples of questions you can ask in order to better understand how people speak in different scenarios:

Go to a public place and take in the conversations happening around you. Listen to recordings of actual conversations. How do people’s voices overlap as the conversation gets more intense?

Emotions are an important consideration when crafting dialogue, as is interpersonal dynamics.

For example, if you’re writing an ad with an employee speaking to their boss, they’re going to speak differently than if you were writing an ad where an employee is talking to a coworker.

Employee to boss example:


You wanted to see me, sir?


Yes, we need to order lunch for the staff.


Of course, I’ll call Smith’s Subs. They make the best sandwiches in town!

Employee to employee example:


I’m staaaarving!


Ugh, me too.


We should order from Smith’s Subs!

As illustrated in the above examples, the tone between Employee and Boss is much more formal, and between employees, their vocabulary is looser and more jocular, with much more noted enthusiasm.

You probably already know that you speak to your friends differently than you would speak to your employer, and dialogue in ads should reflect those real-world dynamics so they read as familiar to your audience.

Understand your characters and motives

Empathy is a writer’s most powerful tool, so when you’re writing character dialogue, put yourself in the shoes of the speakers. How old are they? What’s their gender? Socioeconomic status? Is today a good day or a bad day?

Of course, it’s always important to be mindful not to lean too heavily into stereotypes so as to avoid offending your audience. Think characters not caricatures. Remember that people are multifaceted, and while certain demographic information (socioeconomic status, gender, race, age, etc.) can provide important insight into a person’s everyday life, it doesn’t paint the full picture.

The goal is to create well-rounded characters, even within the parameters of a thirty-second ad. No two characters should ever sound the same. Gifting your characters with different tones, vocabulary, and verbal ticks allows your audience to easily understand what’s happening in the ad and what information you’re trying to convey.


Mommy, will Santa be able to find me at our new house?


Of course, sweetheart.


Good! I’m getting a fire truck this year!



You are?! That’s pretty neat. Superior Realtors will find us a nice home in no time.

Imagine how strange it would be if the Mom in the above commercial sounded exactly like her child. Not only would your audience be deeply confused, but the overall message of Superior Realtors being the best realty company would be lost entirely.

Once you understand their worldview, you can ask yourself: What is their motive?

A character in a commercial who wants a new home in time for Christmas has a very different motive than two bros trying to find the right bar for their bachelor party. The former will probably speak much more earnestly, while the latter will be merry and enthusiastic.

In the above example, our motives are clear: a child wants Santa to be able to find them in time for Christmas, and a mother wants her child to be happy.

Once you know your character’s identity and motive, it becomes much easier to craft their dialogue.

When dialogue is appropriate

Listeners can easily pick up on inauthenticity, so information shouldn’t always be dumped in dialogue if it makes more sense to hear the information conveyed by an announcer.

For example, if there’s a highly technical, detailed product description for a robot vacuum that the client has requested be included in the ad verbatim, it may make more sense for an announcer to convey this information than, say, a character of a busy mom. Otherwise, the dialogue will ring as inauthentic to the audience.

As Wizard of Ads explains:

In a world where people are constantly bombarded with marketing messages, character-driven ads are a fresh angle. They stand out because they elicit emotions and, more importantly, bond with your audience. Character-driven ads build relationships not only between the company and the audience but also between the audience and the characters. Now then, think of it this way. When the customer bonds, laughs, smiles, and cries with your advertising, they now seemingly have a friend in your industry. Why would they call anyone else? In other words, you now become the frontrunner in your prospect’s mind.

Read it out loud

There’s no better determination for whether your dialogue “feels” real than reading it out loud. You’ll be able to instantly determine if a real person would speak this way or if the wording will be too complicated for actors to deliver it authentically.

Rewrite anything that strikes your ear as being untrue or inappropriate for the characters in your ad until it sounds plausible that your characters would be delivering those words.

Creating natural dialogue for serious audio ads involves a delicate balance of authenticity, simplicity, and emotion. By understanding the audience, incorporating real-world scenarios, maintaining simplicity, featuring authentic voices, and gathering feedback, advertisers can craft compelling and impactful dialogue that resonates with listeners and drives the desired response.



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