12 Dec

Radio: criminally underused

I love radio advertising: there – I’ve said it.

Radio advertising is (or should be) conversational, friendly, often funny, sometimes thought-provoking and – by and large – it corners you as a captive audience.
You’ll often be listening to the radio when you’re on your own; in the car, in your kitchen, while sorting out the garage or doing a bit of DIY, maybe at work (perhaps with one or two other people around you).
Whatever the case, it’s a very intimate media channel and any advertising doesn’t seem quite as intrusive as pop-up banners, press ads in the way of articles you want to read, TV ads in the middle of a good film etc.
Radio advertising also works well as, with a well-written script, you can make an audience visualise pretty much anything you want them to (as opposed to visual media, where what they see is exactly what’s happening, with little room for interpretation), by tapping into their imagination.

I say this, as I’ve heard two ads/campaigns recently, which use radio really well, and they made me smile.

First up: Subway. Unfortunately, I can’t find a sample of the ad, so I’ll have to explain it to you (bit boring, I know). It’s pretty simple – all of the ingredients of the Subway sandwich, as part of a ‘meal deal’, are described in the manner of a band warming up. For example, the compere announces; ‘on drums, we have melted cheese!’ (cue a quick smack of the drums) … ‘on bass guitar, we have BBQ sauce’ (guitar plays).
It’s quick, it’s memorable, and the sounds all act as a mnemonic device when linked with each ingredient.
Others may disagree, but I really like it.

Next up, is a campaign that’s running for Tom Tom sat navs. Personally, I think this kind of campaign is exactly what radio advertising should be about. It allows listeners to use their imagination to visualise the most awkward of scenarios, cringe, and thank their lucky stars that it’s not them who’s involved.
I’ll explain: each advert features two, or more, people in a car and one of them says something which creates a really awkward situation for the other person (or people) in that car. This is followed by a short silence, then the ad is nailed with the endline; ‘Tom Tom – quicker journeys when you need them’.
The ads get the message across with complete clarity – Tom Tom will speed up my journeys – and they’re memorable because they’re quite funny.
I’ve posted some of the ads, below – please feel free to have a listen.

I don’t have much more to say, other than I wish more advertisers would take advantage of the opportunities radio presents. When used well, radio is a truly¬†wonderful medium.

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