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Arts & Life

Ads For Nicer Living: Frequently Asked Questions, Answered

The inimitable charms of cumulus clouds — one of life's little pleasures, as highlighted by NPR listeners in our 1972 "Ads For Nicer Living" project.
The inimitable charms of cumulus clouds — one of life's little pleasures, as highlighted by NPR listeners in our 1972 "Ads For Nicer Living" project.

"Ads For Nicer Living" are as simple (and as nice) as they sound. Between now and Jan. 15, NPR is inviting our listeners and readers to write ads for things that just make life better. They're noncommercial commercials — for experiences, ideas and other things money can't buy.

Interested? First, go check out examples of the original ads for inspiration.

Then look below for answers to common questions — and submit your script on our online form.

Frequently Asked Questions

When's the deadline?

Jan. 15, 2017

How do I enter? What do I need to do?

Enter here. All you need to provide is contact information and a script for a radio ad! It will be short — no more than 120 words, and it could easily be far shorter.

It can be for one voice or several. If you want to write text for a jingle, NPR will come up with music to match.

One thing to remember: These ads will be audio-only, so they can't rely on visuals. (NPR may provide illustrations for those featured online.)

Can I use this as a chance to advertise <amazing product I sell>?

Please don't. These commercials should be, well, noncommercial — no actual ads.

Do I need to have audio skills?

Absolutely not! All we need is for you to write a script. We'll handle the rest.

What if I want to produce my own ad?

If you make a fully produced version, with voicing and music, it will not make your ad more likely to air on NPR. The five final ads will be picked from the pool of scripts and produced by NPR staff.

But videographers and audio producers out there, if you are feeling inspired and just want to share your work, tag NPR on Facebook or Twitter — we might post a link to it!

What if I want Carl Kasell to read my script, accompanied by an orchestra of wildebeests?

If you have specific ideas for bringing your script to life, you can certainly suggest them — but be advised that we make no guarantees on specific voices, sound effects, styles or songs.

Who will be picking the ads to be produced?

A panel of NPR digital and radio staffers. Susan Stamberg — who ran the project in 1972 — will be helping make the selections, as will Jessica Hansen, the voice of NPR's own funding credits.

Does my ad have to be family-friendly?

If the FCC won't let us air it on the radio, then, well, we can't. So, yes, family-friendly, please.

Are there prizes?

Nope. A few writers will get to hear their ads on NPR, but that intangible joy is the only reward. (The whole project is about intangible joy, after all.)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.