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Sound Bite Calisthenics

This lesson is a part of an audio course Sizzling Sound Bites by Marcia Yudkin

We're going to go through this exercise twice, showing you a workout routine that can transform a slouchy couch potato of a sound bite into a punchy, energetic one.

Our first run-through stretches and bends for a company called Benton Motor Rental. It rents cars to tourists and business visitors in Boston. The owners don't think it's all that special or exciting, but let's see what happens when we apply some creativity.

Technique #1: Alliteration. This means repeated initial sounds or letters, as in:

Benton Motor Rental: Boston's Best Rides.

That repeats both the "b" and the "r." Note that all the words in the business name and tagline need not start with the same letter for alliteration to add pizzazz.

Technique #2: Contrast. This means a juxtaposition of opposites or extremes, such as day/night, minimum/maximum, rich/poor. Let's add this to the previous example to get:

Benton Motor Rental: Boston's Best Rides, by the Hour or the Month.

The contrast in the added phrase conveys flexibility and range and makes the company sound like it caters to the convenience of the customer.

Technique #3: Rhyme. Again, let's reuse and tweak an idea we already thought up:

Benton Motor Rental: Your Best Ride is Our Pride.

Although that's a little hackneyed, the rhymed tagline still adds energy and a promise of customer service to the company name.

Technique #4: Make an unexpected connection. Boston's nickname is Beantown, and this company's car rental service costs less than some competitors. So that yields:

Benton Motor Rental: Beancounter's Delight.

That features alliteration as well as the unexpected wordplay in "beancounter."

Technique #5: Riff off a popular saying. Find a cliché related to car rental and add a clever twist, or take a saying having nothing to do with car rental and make it relate:

Benton Motor Rental: Making Boston Your Oyster.

Well, anyone who knows Boston's twisted street system and aggressive drivers won't believe that slogan for a minute, but you get the idea, right?

Let's run through this again for Cathy's Fruit Shop. It sells both seasonal local fruits and fruits from overseas. It's known for being a friendly place with fresh, attractive produce. As before, let's get creative.

Technique #1: Alliteration.

Cathy's Fruit Shop: Pears, Papayas, Plums... Plus.

Or, Cathy's Fruit Shop: Fundamentally Fresh and Friendly.

Technique #2: Contrast.

Cathy's Fruit Shop: Earth's Bounty, Heavenly Fresh.

Technique #3: Rhyme.

Cathy's Fruit Shop: Always the Freshest Crop.

Technique #4: An unexpected connection.

Cathy's Fruit Shop: Fresh Fruit on Fridays – and Every Other Day of the Week, Too.

Technique #5: Riff off a popular saying.

Cathy's Fruit Shop: Compare Our Apples and Oranges.

See how easy and fun this can be? Especially after you practice.

And speaking of apples, in the next lesson, you're ready to get rid of various kinds of bad apples and select the crispy ones you want to bring out into the world.

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Written by

Marcia Yudkin