Aug 08 2018

We all learn a lot from examples.

That's why, every week, we'll be breaking down some of the best (and worst) radio advert examples airing in the UK to help you develop your own creative thoughts and ideas.

You'll find the best and worst examples of radio adverts all in one place. 

Just pick a brand or title from the section below to have a listen to the radio advert and read our thoughts on it.

 

 

Mars

 

Mars - Confessions

First up, we're looking at Snickers Confessions. 

In the madly famous ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ lineage, Snickers is back with ‘Confessions’

Similar in style to the KFC ‘worst thing ever’ campaign, ‘confessions’ takes a talking head style, shameful  confessions and gives them a novelty, absurd twist.

Here's What Group Head of Creative, John-Paul Hughes Thinks:

 

Good casting, performance and use of the medium by slowing down the music to dramatise and amplify their core message ‘you’re not you when you’re hungry’.

Again the ad is about the buyer, not the seller. They present a problem then position their product as the answer. Snickers satisfies your hunger and gets you back to your best. With the added incentive of limited edition bars to persuade you to try one in-store today.

They embrace the emotional and the implied through short, amusing stories of people screwing up. Its relatable and entertaining. And why is entertainment important? Because nobody wants to hear your advert. NOBODY! So the way to cut through that indifference, make people listen and care about what you have to say is to entertain.

Group Head of Creative, John-Paul Hughes

 

 

How Many Times Is Too Many Times?

Here's the thing about humour: the more you hear it, the less funny it gets. 

This is a something a lot of radio advertisers have to consider.

Humour and jokes work really well for impactful campaigns but in this case, judging by the fact there is no clear call to action, promotion or anything product related, we’d have to come to conclusion that this was a brand awareness campaign and therefore wouldn't be running on a busy OTH (opportunity to hear) schedule.

That means you'll hear it enough to recall and remember, but not enough to feel compelled to turn the station over every time it comes on because you can repeat it line for line already.

With this advert, though, you've got a particular brand of humour.

It’s relatable humour and that kind of humour, almost awkward, works really well on radio because there is that intimate relationship between the most engaged listeners and the stations themselves. This kind of branded content or promotion is great because it taps into the innate ‘I’ve been there’ mentality that we all have. The empathy.

Because content on radio is delivered in such a way as it’s a direct communication, an advertiser can build that empathy quicker than they could on most other traditional advertising media like outdoor, print or digital.

This advert knew that and used radio to its full potential.

However, for every engaged listener there is another listener who only has the radio on the background while cleaning the dishes. A massive portion of a lot of listenerships are people who have radio on as background noise, so in most cases you as an advertiser have to fight for their attention with creative that grabs their attention.

Think intriguing sonic logos, catchy or recognisable songs. These are the usual bits of creative that grab people.

This advert isn’t exactly going to jump out from and force you to turn up the volume. That’s where this advert takes a risk.

Learn about our stations

Less is More

When you're spending large sums of marketing budget on an advert you want to make sure that you get all possible bits of persuasive information into that advert.

But, often the braver and more effective thing to do is to say less with your advertising. 

Think about it this way: when someone's frantic, their mind is often running on overdrive. They're firing off everything they think is important. You, as someone here to help, are desperately trying to keep up with each strand but as soon as you think you understand one strand, they're on to the next one. 

In the end, you wonder if any of it went in at all. 

In an ideal world, we'd all be able to take a minute to relax and think about the single most important message to communicate at any one time. 

Fortunately, as advertisers we have the benefit of being able to do that. 

We can take a step back and focus on the brief to make sure we're distilling our message to a core point. That's what we imagine the marketers at Mars did when they sat down to think about their confessions campaign because it's efficient. 

The music is stripped back. Just a single track, slowed down.

The voice talent is diverse, but there are no exaggerated accents that distance the listener for the creative. 

The characters we're introduced to find themselves in almost absurd positions that're believable. Job interview goofs, ill-advised weekend trips to busy shopping centres and bad anniversary gifts. 

This is followed up by the sonic logo. 

In a very simple and effective way you've started to build share of mind. There may not be a call to action, but that isn't always needed. 

Contact the team

Section 3  

 O2-Logo-01-1

Section 3

O2 - O2 Family

Since a major brand revamp in 2006, O2 have been broadcasting minimalist campaigns that focus on problems and solutions. They've also had the pleasure of Sean Bean's dulcet Yorkshire tones. 

Let's dive straight into the thoughts of our Creative:

 

Here's What Group Head of Creative, John-Paul Hughes Thinks:

 

Good advertising is about the buyer, not the seller. O2 have done that here. With single minded clarity they’ve focussed on one product, one message, one customer and one key benefit to the buyer. They aren’t selling you a product, they’re solving your problem: the insecurities you have as a parent about doing the right thing by your kids and family. Then they position their O2 Family product as the answer.

Done with relatable empathy, O2 have shown they know their customer. This isn’t a great ad. It’s an effective, well—crafted, well-executed ad that will deliver a result.

 Group Head of Creative, John-Paul Hughes

 

 

Empathy

Empathy is the ability of people to recognize and respond to the emotions of others. It’s the foundation of sympathy, compassion and persuasion. 

Empathy can be broken down into two types of empathy:

  • Emotional empathy is the subjective state resulting from emotional stimulus. It is our automatic drive to respond appropriately to another’s emotions. This kind of empathy happens automatically, and often unconsciously. 
  • Cognitive empathy is the largely conscious drive to recognize accurately and understand another’s emotional state. Sometimes we call this kind of empathy “perspective taking.”

In advertising, you'll mainly be taking advantage of emotional empathy. Providing an emotional stimulus that drives response. 

Why is it important to recognise this? Well, If you're handing over money for anything, it helps if you feel that the person or brand your handing that money too understands your problems and unique position. 

All too often advertisers set their minds on lighting up the market with jaw dropping creative that is relevant, original and divisive all at the same time. They sometimes forget that the most effective thing to do is also the simplest. 

Just show your customers you understand them, you care and you can provide a solution. 

Is there a simpler or more authentic way to do this than to actually voice those problems and insecurities so you can directly link your product to them as the answer? 

And, if O2 are anything to go by, you don't need a massive budget to achieve this. Just a few voice actor's reading from a well-written script that accurately communciates understanding and empathy. Cap it all off with a clear call to action and you've got a very effective, cost-effective advert. 

 

That Voice... Is That..?

It's the guy from Game of Thrones... ooo... dies a lot... what's his name?

A lot is said for famous faces, but If you're in a position where you can make use of a famous voice, don't hesitate.

Using a famous, recognisable or simply distinctive voice can help you build share of mind and recollections.  

A reminder on frequency:

If you’ve done any research at all into this topic than you’ve probably come across a few different articles explaining that you need to hear or see something multiple times before it starts to sink in. Many industries address this with ad ‘frequency’. Frequency is essentially the amount of times your advert plays over a certain amount of times. Being played more results in more opportunities for your brand to be seen or heard.

However, with some advertising mediums where the costs are higher, increasing your frequency isn’t a viable option. The good news here is that some advertising mediums have been shown to naturally inspire more retention.  

According to the Radiocentre, those exposed to radio were 52% more likely to include a brand name in their internet searches. Likewise, 58% went online within 24 hours of exposure to a radio ad to make a related search.

 

by the brudge

By The Bridge 

Section 4

 

By the Bridge, a leading independent fostering provider. They aim "To give back foster children & young people the opportunities they have missed". 

This advert was a regular 30 second promotion and, browser permitting, you should be able to give it a listen above. 

It's a largely formulaic advert that presents us with a good opportunity to discuss something comes up a lot with our creatives.  

 

The Single-Minded Proposition

Focus on defining your 'Single-minded Proposition'. The simplest and purest interpretation of your brand, your product or your service and it should be used to inform every aspect of a creative advertising export. 

If you were selling apples to the masses, you wouldn't talk about the cultivation process in the sales pitch. You'd simplify. You're hungry, these apples taste great. Buy an apple. 

For the iPod, it's "1000 songs in your pocket". Instead of spouting things like 1 Gigabite of DD12 Storage, Apple simplified and delivered the message that would mean something to the people who were actually buying the product - you and me. 

For By The Bridge, it's "When most people can only see their past, it takes someone like you to see their future."  Unfortunately, this was just a tagline in an otherwise underwhelming bit of creative. It should've been, as our creative says below, the core concept of the advert. 

 

Here's What Group Head of Creative, John-Paul Hughes Thinks:

This ad is reminiscent of just about every other foster and adoption ad I’ve ever heard: lacking impact, emotion and persuasion. It’s formulaic and that’s the mistake: doing an ad the way you think those kind of ads should sound, the way they’ve been done before. That may make the client feel comfortable because they’ve heard it done before but that’s not ‘safe’. Playing ‘safe’ is the biggest risk an advertiser can take as nobody will engage with the ad because they too have heard it all before. There is no element of surprise.

The real shame here is the missed opportunity around what could’ve been a really good idea “when most people can only see their past, it takes someone like you to see their future”. That’s fresh and exciting. This shouldn’t be a line tucked away in the middle of the ad. It should be the core concept and SMP that’s brought to life in an emotionally compelling way.

 Group Head of Creative, John-Paul Hughes

 

But it's not all bad, By The Bridge opts for other effective means of delivering their creative.

Addressing the Audience Directly

The power of 'You' should never be understated. Addressing your audience directly can do a number of things, most importantly, it brings your listener into the conversation. It isn't an advert anymore, it's a reflection of their own circumstances. The statements become points for discussion, acceptance or rebuttal. A script that talks to the listener directly is efficient at getting your listener engaged with whatever you're trying to say through association. 

We are, after all, very selfish creatures. Anything that talks or references ourselves grabs our attention more than it if it referenced a person we've never met and care nothing about. 

  

Listing The Benefits

This advert does a good job of listing the benefits that'll mean the most to their target customers. By The Bridge must really know their target customers and must've briefed their creative agency really well because the benefits listed in the advert focus on pain points and addressing misconceptions around fostering. 

They focus on price, monetary support and other aspects that are major roadblocks for anyone looking to go down the fostering route. 

 

hampson hughes

Hampson Hughes - It's Time to Hampson Hughes It

 
 

Here's What Group Head of Creative, John-Paul Hughes Thinks:

I don’t even know where to begin with this. Clearly someone thinks all that matters is being noticed and remembered. If I spat on your desk the first time I met you then you’d notice and remember me too. But is that how I want to be remembered? The impact you create must be relevant. I don’t see any relevance in the music choice. It’s just silly, but not in a good way. The music should complement the core concept and amplify the key message. It must dramatize the emotional benefit your product or service offers. Where are those benefits? Where is the Single Minded Proposition? Where is the persuasion? Does this sound like the kind of solicitor you’d want dealing with your potentially life changing PI claim after the trauma and stress you’ve been through? In evaluating the quality of an ad I look for 3 things. Is it fresh? Is it fit for purpose? Is it well executed? This is none of these.

 Group Head of Creative, John-Paul Hughes

 

Fit For Purpose - Dissonance

The word dissonance has been appropriated by many. Politicians talking about dissonance in government, psychologists coining the phrase cognitive dissonance to describe two, concurrent yet inconsistent thoughts, yet it was musicians like Bach that were the forebears of dissonance.

"dissonance results from the grating combination of harsh, clashing tones." - Anthony Tommasini

That's how musicians at the NY Times describe dissonance in their article, The Art of Setting the Senses on Edge, in which they state dissonance (combining clashing tones and melodies) as a very powerful way of triggering an emotional response (to the point of fists fights in the audience on some rare occasions). 

But dissonance, like most things, can be done one of two ways. The right way and the wrong way. 

When dissonance is done right it provides excitement, placing thumps when you least expect it. Or, in a more subtle way, it provides something incomplete that just has to be finished. This creates a vital bit of rhythm for the audience to expect and respond to. 

Let's talk about what happens when you actually listen to this advert. 

As far as radio advertising goes, and in particular this Hampson Hughes radio ad, there isn't any relevance with the music choice. The thumping music doesn't seem to be used for any other purpose than to draw associations and recollections. With this, dissonance occurs. 

When a reputable solicitor is using loud and silly creative to draw your attention you find yourself holding two inconsistent thoughts in your mind:

  1. Solicitors handle my sensitive information, disputes and trauma with care, professionalism and consideration. 
  2. This radio advert sounds like it should be played at a children's birthday party. 

The dissonance between the two starts here and grows into an unpleasant experience for the listener and potential prospect. 

This doesn't mean that including powerful, striking creative can't work when your advertising a professional/delicate product or service.

As Anthony continues;

"Yet those pummeling chords, for all their raw power, are like the harmonic equivalent of hammer strokes: thump, thump, thump, thump."

Despite the use of powerful chords, there is a still a rhythm. 

For radio advertisers, that rhythm should be reason. 

If you're going to use bombastic creative and pummeling chords, make sure it's been done for a reason. Make sure it's amplifying the core message of your product or service. 

Without that, you'll still be making an impression... but is it the type of impression you want to make? 

 

Northumbria Uni

 

Northumbria University - Clearing

 

When august enters it's final days, many a mind turns to university. For some, especially those who don't get the results they need, this period can be a bit of a panic. 

Northumbria University, advertising in the Smooth North West target service area, sought to reach  would-be students in the North West thinking about clearance with a targeted, short promotion that primarily focused on promoting the safety rating of the campus and university. 

Have a listen below:

 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Chris Dickins Thinks:

Nice and clear and covers a number of key messages without sounding rushed. Great choice of voice too! A strong concept might make it more memorable/relatable.

Creative Account Manager, Chris Dickins


Response and Targeting

When tuition fees were raised, so too were the cap on student numbers. Some universities will be rapidly expanding, others will be struggling to hold on to minimum numbers. 

This should be great news for the students (Despite the high tuition fees) as Universities are scrambling to differentiate. As a byproduct we're seeing more and more universities take on major advertising campaigns. 

Northumbria Universities' marketing department must've seen the value in using radio's strong call-to-action to help them attract those uncertain individuals in clearing. 

The reason radio works so well for something like clearing is because it's time sensitive. You need to get your message out clearly, quickly and consistently. Then that message needs to be concise, efficient and powerful. 

The creative doesn't mess around. It clearly communicates all the most valuable aspects of Northumbria University - award winning tutorige and accommodation etc. 

But most importantly, radio will put your message into the minds of those who are thinking about making a decision. And the decision maker isn't always who you think it is...

There are 3 factors that seem to indicate that this creative isn't actually targeting students, rather the people that influence them instead. 

  1. The focus on safety - Safety would be something that might concern parents more than the actual undergraduates
  2. The choice of station - This advert aired on Smooth North West TSA, a station predominantly listened to by 40+
  3. The choice of call to action - as Chris pointed out above, Northumbria University opted for a phone number call to action. If this was focused towards the actual students then it may have been more effective to send them online first. An immediate phone conversation screams parent to me. 

Northumbria Universities' choice of station (Smooth) and the decision to focus on safety leads me to believe that they may have been targeting parents or guardians who will likely be as much (if not more) invested in their children's future. This may work in a similar way to how advertising for driving lessons work. 

The people who actually benefit from the product aren't always the ones who make the decision on it. More specifically for this particular bit of creative, it may well be targeting those who won't have a final say in a decision but will have a major influence. 

These small aspects play a big part in overall ROI of your creative. This could be a sign that the marketing team at Northumbria university really know their target audience, or it could be a total misallocation of spend. Either way, they've clearly listed the benefits, led with a strong voice and closed on a clear call to action. 

 

Gov uk

 

Gov.UK - Smart Meter Campaign

 

Smart Meters were a bit of a revelation when they first came out. Giving power back to the consumer with the ability to see exactly how much power they've used without waiting for a bill. And for the more savvy out there, it meant you could see the energy difference from having that one extra cup of tea in the morning.

But, that wasn't to last. Controversy around who exactly was going to front the cost for smart meters (was it the consumer, the supplier or the government?) led to a drop in uptake and in June 2017 the Government subtly downgraded this requirement. Now every home will be "offered" a smart meter by 2020, with no obligation to take one.

Now, in 2018, it seems Gov.UK are back on the warpath with a fresh cross-channel campaign that goes across radio, TV, print and social. 

Have a listen below: 

 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Chris Dickins Thinks:

Love the SFX in this one, good opener. Premium voice makes a difference, there’s a LOT of information here and you need someone that grabs your attention and keeps it. Good use of a local voice to build associations too. 

Creative Account Manager, Chris Dickins

 

"That Might Not Mean Much To You"

When Apple were thinking about launching their very first iPod, do you think they were talking about all the amazing new technology that goes into the iPod? Definitely. The tech was complex and revolutionary, and that was just the problem Apple had.

How can they sell something that no one understands? That's when the marketing team came up with the once famous (now probably forgotten) "1000 songs in your pocket"

ipod 1000 songs in your pocket

Take a bow nameless Apple marketer. Instead of spouting meaningless product details that consumers have no understanding of, or reference of how it will help them in their lives, Apple simplified and explained exactly what it means to the consumer. 

ipod-compare

That is what this Smart Meter radio advert is doing, in an albeit different way. 

"With a Smart Meter you get an expected average saving of 354 Kilowatt hours." 

When you hear that you'll no doubt have a few questions: 

What are kilowatt hours? What do they mean to me and my energy consumption? How much is that in sterling? 

Thankfully, the copy continues: 

"That might not mean much to you but if we all got one we could save as much power as it takes to power Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle for a year"

Now we have a sense of scale. Now we have a point of reference for us to say: 'Okay, that's a sizeable energy saving.'

Bonus points for making sure they're using regionally relevant cities. Considering this went out on the Smooth NW TSA.

 

bootso

 

Boots - Hearing Test Campaign 

 

The majority of the approximate 11 million deaf individuals in the UK acquire their deafness. More to the point, out of all of those people, only 40% of them are wearing hearing aids.

These are sobering figures and they weave together to form a story, with the moral being a lack of awareness leads to a lack of change.

If you suddenly got transported 15 years into the past, your eyesight damaged on the way, you'd probably still know where to go to get your eyes checked. Could you say the same for your ears? 

In a campaign designed to drive awareness of both hearing loss and Boots hearing tests, Boots have created a clever radio ad that makes the most of the medium. Listen to it below:

 

 
The Power of Silence and A Familiar Tune
 
We tend not to notice how important sound is until it’s absent. 
 
Using silence is a great technique for a number of reasons, importantly, it has a role in creating a contrast. A space for the listener to digest what they've just heard, anticipate what they might here next and think about the relationship between the two. 
 
Often this can result in a quicker coupling of emotional triggers and receptions. This, in turn, leads to quicker associations between a problem (hearing loss) and your solution (hearing tests). 
 
In this case, we're presented with a rhyme we all know. Our parents sung it to us as children and we will sing it to our children too. It's so well known that we feel uncomfortable if it's ever repeated incorrectly or left unfinished. 
 
This is something that most advertisers understand. You don't need to listen to the radio or watch the TV for long to hear a remixed version of popular, catchy pop song running under a legal advert. What a lot of advertisers don't understand is that an association with something familiar isn't enough - you need to do something with it. Build on that association. Subvert expectations. 
 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Chris Dickins Thinks:

Good concept! Whenever you talk about hearing or audio, you can't ignore the power that comes with the lack of it. Silence, in this case, compels you to fill in the blanks and take a long hard think about where your hearing health is at...

Creative Account Manager, Chris Dickins

 

 

costa coffee

 

Costa Coffee - That Spare Pound

Advertising, as a concept, has its roots well and firmly placed in the ripe soil of psychology. As many cues marketers take from Steve Jobs, they'll take just as many from Sigmund Freud.

With the 'That Spare Pound' Radio Advert from Costa, we're starting to tap into some elements of popular psychological influencing. Specifically, the power of now.  

Have a listen below:

 

I'm a big fan of sketch shows. Big train, Burniston. These short, snackable forms of comedy were perfect for me and, before long, I found myself looking for the individual sketches on YouTube to show my friends because the moment we found ourselves in were perfectly captured by a single sketch. 

That must have been 2008/2009.

By 2012 Vine was my new sketch show. User created content that ran no longer than a few seconds. Instant, inclusive and shareable.

By 2013, the term binge-watching has gotten its own Wikipedia page and was defined by Netflix as "watching between 2-6 episodes or more of the same TV show in one sitting.".

The fact of the matter is that if something is available, we want it now. We're looking for instant solutions, instant gratifications. The tools that enable us to do that, Netflix, Facebook and Instagram are the tools that survive and thrive.

If that isn't proof enough, IAB's Mobile Path To Purchase report had these findings: 

  • 30 percent of consumers are looking to purchase within the hour.
  • Nearly half of mobile users are looking to make a purchase same day.
  • 51 percent of consumers expect to find a business within 8 kilometers.
  • 75 percent of shoppers converted or plan to in the near future.

Costa recognise that their product, the lowly croissant, isn't going to win many beauty competitions but it is good value for money. 

So they've developed some creative that taps into the culture we've created for ourselves by providing a solution for your spare change right now. It poses the potential growth from a pound in a savings account. Gives you a moment to think about that, then juxtaposes that empty feeling with the warm feeling of getting a bit of something to eat in the morning. 

Simple, yet effective.

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Chris Dickins Thinks:

I like this one, my sense of humour! It makes sense to treat yourself to something, when a quid doesn’t really go a long way these days. It, quite depressingly, draws attention to the lack of growth in a pound only to juxtapose it with the instant gratification of getting a filling, wholesome breakfast. 

Creative Account Manager, Chris Dickins

 

vodafone

 

Vodafone - Moo Call 

 

Every year the marketing team at John Lewis knocks it out of the park. Their christmas adverts always leave people emotional and they'll strategical place their brand and products right next to this moment of high emotion. 

If there's one thing I always thought they did better than anyone else it was to make it easy to empathise with the characters in the advert. 

I think this comment on the YouTube video for the 2014 Monty The Penguin advert just about sums up what i'm talking about here:

 

"My little brother had a beanie baby penguin that he would run around with everywhere. It looked a lot like little Monty in this video. I guess that's why this commercial is so touching to me. It reminds me of those more innocent years when my little brother would carry around that silly little penguin."

-dcrowl1192

Well, dcrowl1192, you're not a alone. In this case a character was built up in a very relatable manner for you to have that exact reaction. It isn't mind reading - it's good storytelling. 

That's what Vodafone have done (albeit to a lesser, more restricted extent) with their Vodafone for business campaign.

This bit of creative, as opposed to building a character or experience in a certain way to provide something that everyone can empathise with, Vodafone have instead provided a character and situation that their target customers have been in before, know the pain points and know the difficulties. 

Thinking about their own experiences, triggered by the use of empathy, they'll immediately be able to understand a problem and, with vodafone's service positions next to it, listeners will associate it with the solution. 

Creating a situation your prospects are accustomed with is a simple yet effective way to associate your product with a problem. And solving problems is key to advertising. 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong Thinks:

More insightful and emotional, indeed somewhat interesting. Am I blown away? Nah. They just get the basics right and sometimes that's enough. Not for me though. 

 Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong

 

maccies

 

McDonalds - Cheesy Bacon Flatbread

 

Consistency. 

Consistency.

Consistency.

It's been said that we need to hear something three times before it really sinks in. 

But we should be thinking outside of a simple proposition that we can repeat to our customers, we should be thinking about the repetition of our branding, the consistency of quality and thought.

Our brain favours brands that stick to one specific idea which is repeated always and in everything they do. The conversion of a fleeting memory into a permanent one requires repetition.

McDonalds understand this.

Have a listen below:

 
Not only will you hear the same voice across all bits of McDonalds creative, you'll hear the same idents, the same music and the same whimsical tone.

 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong Thinks:

Classic McDonalds, the longevity in their creative across all medias makes the whole thing seem so natural and second nature - the experts at the long campaign. 

The voice is spot on, the consistency, the humour. It's simple, communicates the unique value proposition of the flatbread efficiently.

 Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong

 

Bisto1.jpg

Bisto -  The Great British Roast

It’s quite unusual for radio to be used in such a calm, emotional way, especially with food products. No fast talking or shouting. No offers, no information overload, no over-explanation and no list of benefits. It's all about the cornerstone of family life - the roast. 

Zoë Wanamaker gently talks to us as if she were sitting just a few feet away. Just about staying on the right side of schmaltz, she stimulates a feeling of pride in the simplicity of the family dinner, ever so gently, she breaks through the noise of everyday life and tells us about the best gravy on the market. No fuss, no drama. 

This advert really taps into the potential of radio to be an oasis of calm in a mad world. Sadly though, thats an aspect of radio that isn't explored as often as others. 

That seems like a massive missed opportunity when emotional response on radio is so high.

Specifically, the evidence tells us that sound is the fastest sense in terms of emotional response. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve seen various science fiction shows - nothing is faster than the speed of light! You’d be right. But that’s not what’s important in this regard. What’s important is how fast the information from your receptors (eyes and ears) travels to your brain for processing.

In that case, sound is by far the fastest sense with a speed of 0.05 seconds. Whereas it takes about 0.2 seconds for your brain to understand the light that reaches your eye. It also takes about 0.2 seconds for your brain to recognize something touching your hand or foot.

Not only do you receive information from sound quicker than you do from sight, but you also retain it for longer.

Lightwave and iHeartMedia asked people to wear a device that measured factors including galvanic skin responses, blood pressure, heart rate and temperature — and played them hundreds of sound clips to determine their response, everything from nature sounds to music, advertisements, video games and more, and recorded their responses.

What they saw in the numbers and wave patterns in data visualizations was that sound got the brain firing across-the-board showing both physical and emotional engagement.

In the next test case they used a trailer from The Expendables 3 movie, playing participants the same ad twice — once as a radio ad and then as a TV ad. The memory encoding for the radio ad was higher on average relative to that of TV — in fact, at the point at which the movie’s name is mentioned in the ad, memory encoding was 220 percent higher for radio than for TV, and radio outperformed TV in seven of our eight subsequent tests, with memory encoding during key brand communication points peaking at higher levels for radio vs. TV.

 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong Thinks:

This sounds pretty outdated like it would have been right home on an analogue TV set with 4 channels and no remote. HOWEVER, they use one of radio's golden rules wonderfully; SILENCE. That pause says more emotionally than the rest of the commercial put together. 

 Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong

 

paypalos

Paypal -  Tradesmen

 

Don't you just hate it when you're having a pint in the pub with your mate and you find out he's on commision for QVC. That's what Paypals vein hope at empathy and understanding feels like. 
 
It only takes 7 seconds to make a judgement on something - that's only 7 seconds to make a good first impression. 
 
It feels insincere, contrived and, most of all, severely unoriginal.
 
What comes to mind is a conversation we held with Group Creative Director, John Paul Hughes. 
 

”Just telling someone something exists isn’t enough. Good creative gives it a point of view, an angle that’ll get it noticed and remembered. If we can do that with wit, intelligence, irreverence and craft then the creative emotionally connects and starts to reflect people’s beliefs.’

"No one will remember what you said or what you did, but everyone will remember how you made them feel."

With PayPal's ad, there isn't a point of view. There isn't any wit, no craft. It tells us about their product and service but that's it. It treats it's customers 

John Paul goes on: 

"People choose to allow Radio into their personal lives for an extended period, it’s been with us in difficult times and proud ones alike. It’s like a conversation with a friend, so be interesting and treat them with respect."

This PayPal ad doesn't treat their customers with respect. It puts them in a box and doesn't give them a chance to escape. 

 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong Thinks:

The oldest trick in the radio book, "two people chatting about something and you overhear". It's so unrealistic its painful. It may seem like the easiest way to build a relatable case for your product or service but 9 times out of 10 it comes through 

 Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong

 

Post Office

 

The Post Office -  Bank

 

 
It has become a familiar story - bank branches are disappearing from our high streets, and some customers fear being cut off from in-person banking. But many don't realise that the Post Office can provide essential banking services for almost everyone with a UK bank account.  
 
So enters The Post Office Marketing Department with a brief to reach the 93% of the UK population that lives within a mile of a branch and tell them that The Post Office can handle your banking needs. 
 
So what medium do they pick? Radio. The reach medium with universal appeal. 
 
So what did they do with their creative? Not much. What I think they were going for was similar to what McDonalds did with their Flatbread radio advert (Which you can listen to again below).
 
 
Both adverts work in the same fashion. They're shining a light on a lesser known aspect of their products/service that their customers currently don't take advantage of. The McDonalds one, however, does it in a much more engaging and entertaining way. It also sets up the rest of their less popular products for advertising under the same banner.
 
The Post Office Ad wants to have the same results but doesn't land with the same impact. It suffers from poor creative and that is a death sentence. 
 
According to Nielsen Catalina research, creative is responsible for almost half of the the sales from an advertising campaign and when you put the McDonalds ad side by side with this one from the Post Office you can start to understand why this is the case. 
 
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Here's What Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong Thinks:

"Good performance on a bad script by the voiceovers. Not much going on here at all, a missed opportunity."

 Creative Account Manager, Steffen Armstrong

 

 easy jet

EasyJet - Last Call

 

 

Urgency is a psychological trigger that is deeply rooted inside our brain: it relates to the human loss aversion or the so-called Fear-of-Missing-Out (FOMO). 

Scientifically speaking, urgency is a time-based concept that prompts us to act quickly.

Similarly to the scarcity principle, FOMO is a kind of social anxiety defined by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing” (source). For some, this can manifest as 

When something (an offer, a discount…) is running out of time, we’re automatically evaluating whether or not we’re ready to let this opportunity go away – because we fear missing out.

 

Urgency on the Airwaves

Down to the fact that radio speaks directly to the listener, campaigns that focus on stressing urgency are particularly effective on radio.  And, due to the many touch points you can land with the same customer throughout the day, urgency isn't just something you set and forget - you can foster it through the days and weeks almost like a countdown.

So, when you come to sit down and think about your radio creative script, think about urgency. You wouldn't want to miss out on this opportunity now, would you? 

 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Callum Tyler Thinks:

"An idea that’s well-executed if straightforward. I’m not sure I’ve heard another travel brand be quite so direct about the ‘Remaining Holiday’ idea but it’s tactical and timely for Nov/December. The ‘Final Call’ element is a neat way to bring home the idea that time is running out to use up your holiday days - urgency is a key ingredient in a lot of radio advertising, it’s something the medium is good at fostering. I’d be be interested to know if they got a noticeable bump from this - I have 5 days holiday left, for instance, and did indeed spend a few minutes browsing EasyJet’s dirt-cheap holiday options (mainly to Albufeira) when their email campaign dropped in my inbox last week. Supporting a digital campaign with radio has been shown time and again to be effective. When people see the message one place, and hear it another, they’re far more likely to click. Last point on the ad itself, it’s a shame that a concise 20 second spot must be a baggy 30 because of the largely redundant terms and conditions."

 Creative Account Manager, Callum Tyler

 

poppy appeal

 

The Royal British Legion - Fade Away

Radio is an incredibly personal medium. It can speak directly to a listener 

Advertisers see the advantage of radio in that it tends to be consumed in the listener's personal space and feels like there's a one-on-one connection with the presenter or music. 

"Radio is such a personal medium. The reach tends to be in the home, which immediately gives it an emotional edge. A good creative can really trigger an emotional response using the imagination and emotions with words and music."

- Full Service Agency

And with 16% of the media day being spent with radio, charities looking to really hit the ground running with charitable individuals, radio is a really good option. 

The Royal British Legion understands this and they chose radio as the main advertising channel to carry their poppy appeal on the 100 year anniversary of the end of the great war. 

What they aired was both emotional and haunting. A pseudo warning for those who would forget the sacrifice of those before us for liberty. The creative use of sound as a medium to literally fade the voices of soldiers away really hits an emotional chord. 

This is using the medium to it's potential to create an auditory experience. 

 

The Speed Of Sound

From a scientific point of view, sound is the fastest sense. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve seen various science fiction shows - nothing is faster than the speed of light! You’d be right. But that’s not what’s important in this regard. What’s important is how fast the information from your receptors (eyes and ears) travels to your brain for processing.

In that case, sound is by far the fastest sense with a speed of 0.05 seconds. Whereas it takes about 0.2 seconds for your brain to understand the light that reaches your eye. It also takes about 0.2 seconds for your brain to recognize something touching your hand or foot.

Not only do you receive information from sound quicker than you do from sight, but you also retain it for longer.

Lightwave and iHeartMedia asked people to wear a device that measured factors including galvanic skin responses, blood pressure, heart rate and temperature — and played them hundreds of sound clips to determine their response, everything from nature sounds to music, advertisements, video games and more, and recorded their responses.

What they saw in the numbers and wave patterns in data visualizations was that sound got the brain firing across-the-board showing both physical and emotional engagement.

In the next test case they used a trailer from The Expendables 3 movie, playing participants the same ad twice — once as a radio ad and then as a TV ad. The memory encoding for the radio ad was higher on average relative to that of TV — in fact, at the point at which the movie’s name is mentioned in the ad, memory encoding was 220 percent higher for radio than for TV, and radio outperformed TV in seven of our eight subsequent tests, with memory encoding during key brand communication points peaking at higher levels for radio vs. TV.

 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Callum Tyler Thinks:

"When it comes to charity, research shows that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an entire group or region in need. This is why you see ads that tell one person’s story (this one little boy with a name walks miles every day for filthy water), rather than presenting you with cold, hard, impersonal statistics (millions of people in Africa live without access to clean water).

 

It follows that this principle should work for the Poppy Appeal and this is a nice idea. The idea of these stories ‘fading away’ is indeed the whole point of “Lest We Forget.” It’s good to see a high-profile campaign utilising and embracing the medium of audio like this. For me though the ‘fade’ should be much longer and more prominent. Also, most privates in the army would have had working class, regional accents. This may help to make the ad sound more authentic, relatable and believable."

 Creative Account Manager, Callum Tyler

 

Branston

 

Branston - Smooth Branston

Challenging perceptions is something that radio, as a medium, knows well. 

Their last massive campaign, which used radio heavily, was none other than the 'feeling saucy' campaign that reinforced the launch of their baked beans. The campaign, which featured radio heavily, shocked Heinz into changing their own recipe. 

With a brand as well established as Branston, which digs it's roots all the way back to 1922, 

With this particular bit of radio work, Branston have maintained their cheeky, maverick tone and, for this occasion, they're pushing their new product - smooth Branston. 

It's all the taste without the fuss, something that a lot of Branston outsiders would've wanted. So, with that in mind, they took that concept and made it into the single-minded proposition for this bit of creative. 

Here's What Creative Account Manager, Callum Tyler Thinks:

"I’d imagine this campaign was created to remind customers why they already love Branston pickle however I’m not sure it’d do much to inspire people to try it. While this ad wouldn’t be out of place next to Tesco’s ‘Food Love Stories’ campaign, there’s certainly room to add a bit more humour and personality. Actually, a lot more. Making a condiment the star of the show is neither new nor noticeable. But look at the way a brand with personality can elevate the mundane to the magnificent. Virgin Trains, for instance, don’t sell hot drinks. They sell “One cup of Changing The World please… with Milk!”."

 Creative Account Manager, Callum Tyler

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