Commercial script samples

Even when you’ve booked one of the finest voice actors on Voice123 to promote your product or service, the success of your advertisement depends on the quality of your script. Writing commercial scripts, as almost anyone in the advertising business will tell you, is more difficult than it seems — at first glance, anyway. So if you need commercial script samples to guide and inspire – look no further!

What are commercial scripts

Commercial scripts are either 60, 30, or 15-second written scripts that voice actors read to create a voice over for a commercial/advertisement. These scripts need to be well-written to best introduce and sell a product or service. Broadly speaking, short commercial scriptwriting tends to adhere to a well-proven structure: State it, explain it, repeat it.

The purpose is simple: you’re selling something to an audience; it’s a call to action. What’s more, duration is crucial. As a rule, advertising time gets sold in blocks of 15 seconds, and advertisers usually buy 30 seconds. (15 seconds is just too short to get the message across articulately enough, and 60 seconds — apart from often being brutally expensive — can get a bit longwinded for today’s instant-gratification-oriented consumer). In fact, advertisement projects are by far the most frequent jobs posted on Voice123, so let’s take a closer look at this specific genre and provide you with some commercial script examples.

How many words in a 30-second commercial script

So how many words can a professional voice actor say in a 30-second commercial script?

  • About 75 words at a normal pace, 
  • 85 words at a fast pace, and 
  • 65 words at a slow pace. 

It would, therefore, be a good idea to use these numbers as a guide with advertising scriptwriting. A script that’s too long and forces a voice actor to race through it is invariably self-defeating. The reason is obvious: the clarity of your messaging suffers — especially if the advertisement needs to contain email addresses or phone numbers. Also, keep in mind that the numbers listed above refer to straight, ‘wall-to-wall’ reads without pauses or breaths. Such reads are common practice in the ad-production environment because — as any producer/director will tell you — by removing breaths, you get to gain a few seconds and can squeeze in more info as a result). Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing!

Adding pauses & breaths for commercial scriptwriting

commercial script
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Something less-experienced clients seem more inclined to forget is that — just as whitespace makes the text more readable both onscreen and on a page — pauses can make a voice over much more listenable. Pauses aid comprehension. Furthermore, commercial reads frequently need to include sound effects, a musical underscore, or a ‘jingle.’ To incorporate these, several seconds of the scripted copy may need to be forfeited. Rather prepare a commercial script that accommodates all the required brand elements (in terms of timing) beforehand.

All too often, one hears accounts from bemused voice actors about chunks of text that ended up having to be removed from a final advertisement script so the reader could remain within its allotted timeframe without becoming incomprehensible rapid-fire. As we’ve mentioned in our tips for voice over scripts, it’s practically a prerequisite to ‘soundcheck’ a script by reading it out loud and timing it properly yourself before submitting it to a voice actor. Otherwise, chaos and confusion easily result.

Are you scriptwriting for TV, an online video streaming site, or radio? Scripts written for radio need to be pretty descriptive because your audience may need to ‘see’ with their ears. When written to accompany a video, commercial scripts can be somewhat more supportive because their purpose is to embellish rather than circumscribe. There are exceptions to every rule, though, due to the fact that creative, off-the-wall thinking can be rewarding. So let your subject matter and creativity guide you above all else! (See the script commercial examples below!)

Before you start writing a commercial script, it will certainly help if you ask yourself these questions so you can better focus your efforts:

  1. What do you want to say?
  2. Why do you want to say it?
  3. How do you want to say it?
  4. Who are you saying it to?

Commercial script examples

Here are some (fictitious) commercial script examples — same product, different durations: 60″, 30″, 15″

Project Description:

Client: National Health & Beverage

Target market: Millennial

Title: Fizz-Up!

Actor Gender/Age: Any/Young adult

Description: New health beverage for young adults

Direction notes: Younger adult. First of all, upbeat and enthusiastic. Not too salesy. It must seem like the voice actor is in conversation with a good friend and is speaking as if revealing a trade secret, so the presentation can be slightly whispery in places. Normal pace, please.

60-second commercial script example:

Hey — are you having one of those typical days at work? Are you starting to feel a little run-down? Are you considering something of a pick-me-up, like your usual cup of coffee? 

Well, before you head off to the kitchen or cafeteria, I’d like to try and change your mind. Let me tell you about an awesome new soft drink that’s a whole lot better for you than your daily dose of caffeine. I’ve started drinking it just before I head out and hit the road. It’s called Fizz-Up! 

It’s a new fortified fruit juice, and it’s available in all your favorite flavors. It contains no preservatives or artificial flavors and is sugar-free. It has all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to keep you going all day. It’ll tickle your fancy, sharpen your skills, and strengthen your bones. Fizz-Up! And it’s available everywhere. Go grab a can right now!

Duration: 60 sec

Wordcount: 150

30-second Commercial script

Hey — are you feeling a little run-down? 

Then let me tell you about an awesome new soft drink I’ve started drinking before I head out. It’s called Fizz-Up! 

It’s a fortified fruit juice in all your favorite flavors; no preservatives and sugar-free. All the vitamins and minerals your body needs to keep you going all day. It’ll tickle your fancy, sharpen your skills, and strengthen your bones. Fizz-Up! And it’s available everywhere now!

Duration: 30 sec

Wordcount: 75

15-second Commercial script example

Feeling run-down? Fizz-Up is a new fruit juice in all your favorite flavors. No preservatives and sugar-free. All the vitamins and minerals your body needs. It’ll sharpen your skills and strengthen your bones. Fizz-Up! Grab some now!

Duration: 15 sec

Wordcount: 37

Final Thoughts on commercial scripts

advertising script

In each of the sample commercial scripts above, the core message and call to action remain intact. Likewise, the tagline ‘sharpen your skills and strengthen your bones’ gets maintained throughout, so it can become an identifiable catchphrase that’s associated with the brand.

Consequently, if you’ve been tasked with writing commercial scripts and you’re a little uncertain about style, format, and structure, or you’re simply looking for a flash of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing, we hope this series will help you on your way!

(Remember to look at our other posts in this series as well: documentary, video game trailer, promotional, business presentation, and explainer video scripts).

Going forward, you’ll probably find it worth your while to create a commercial script template so you can speed up the creative process. You might find it helpful too use AI – like this free AI writing tool from Hubspot. And don’t forget to check out Voice123’s professional voice actors for every commercial voice over need.

And finally, we wish you every success with your scriptwriting!

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