Nacho Numbers – Dealing with Numbers in Copy
This recipe isn’t always a talent favorite as the recipe changes from project to project.
- Start with a layer of studio
- Sprinkle in a bit of talent
- Add another layer of script full of words and numbers
- Cover it with clients who all want different numbers read a different way
You would think a simple serving of numbers would be easy enough to master, but if you haven’t had the opportunity to test this, then this article is for you. There are so many things to consider when it comes to scripts with numbers
- Budget – are they allowing a proper budget when the file includes numbers. One number such as 1165, is not one word, yet clients will budget this as one word. Sometimes this doesn’t change the rate at all, but there are projects where this really matters.
- Timing – are they considering numbers as different words for timing. For example the number 1165 is actually four words, not one – so this will change the time when timing matters.
- How do they prefer the number to be read? This is where it really gets confusing and is a huge pet peeve of mine. If all clients went with the same read for numbers, this would be easy, but they don’t. For example the number 1165 can be read as; One Thousand One Hundred Sixty Five, or One Thousand One Hundred and Sixty Five, or Eleven Hundred Sixty Five or Eleven Hundred and Sixty Five.
- Do they want the numbers read in dollar values or numeric? There is also the client who puts in numbers in the copy and doesn’t clarify whether they want the numbers read in dollar value ie: One Thousand One Hundred and Sixty Five Dollars, or if they prefer it without dollar value.
- Percentages and decimals have many options as well. When it comes to reading percentages, this can be confusing as well. For example 90.667% Should you say Ninety Point Six Six Seven Percent, or Nine Zero Point Six Six Seven Percent, or Ninety Point Six Hundred and Sixty Seven or Ninety Point Six Hundred Sixty Seven?
- Phone numbers – This is a bit easier but again, has the client taken into account that a phone number is not one word it is seven words. Very important in commercials where time is imperative. Also do they want the phone number read with hyphens (groups) or individually? For example 888-459-5559 can be read several different ways and each client has their own preference. Triple Eight – Four Five Nine – Triple Five 9 or Eight Eight Eight – Four Five Nine – Five Five Five Nine. Or do they want it grouped; Triple Eight – Four Five Nine – Fifty Five Fifty Nine.
As you can see there is a lot to consider when it comes to reading numbers. It’s extremely important that you clarify this with your client before recording the copy. This will save you tons of extra work and redos, and will please the client to know you cared enough to ask.
The bottom line is that when timing is imperative, find ways to say the numbers as quick as you can. With phone numbers they aren’t as fussy, but with dollar value and numeric value numbers the clients can be very particular so find out their choices going in.
Until next time everyone
All my best