Gyan on radio ads from Down Under

By , agencyfaqs! | In | February 23, 2005
A workshop on creative radio advertising focuses on the best ways to be heard above the noise

The radio advertising industry, according to some estimates, was pegged at Rs 220 crore last year with an annual growth rate of 22 per cent. With more and more local advertisers preferring the medium for its focused delivery to the target audience and relatively lower tariffs, it is emerging as a hotspot for advertising, though still in its nascent stage. & #BANNER1 & #

It helped to have two gentlemen from Down Under, share their skills and expertise in the field of radio advertising with the industry in Mumbai. "It's time to be Heard….above the noise," was a workshop on creative advertising on the radio, conducted by Kevin Best and John Dickson, joint executive directors, HEARD. Heard is the creative division of Austereo Ltd, one of the largest radio broadcasters in Australia.

Dickson and Best enumerated a few ways of ensuring listenership: Spots, Buzz, Promos, Live Reads, Sampling and Sponsorship.

With the example of the brands such as Chrysler, Lays and Ford, who have used these approaches for a good effect, they illustrated their point. When Chrysler, which was considered to be a dull brand associated itself with a 'cool' radio station, it became a 'cool' car. The brand's effective association with radio resulted in 30 per cent increase in sales, the duo informed.

Advertisers on radio need to "leverage listening habits" said the duo. They need to make a judicious use of listenership patterns to position their brands and focus on the correct airtime. This would be aided by what they call, 'cut-through techniques'.

These techniques include innovative presentation and use of sound effects that "stretch the imagination", "demonstration" (this forces the copywriter to communicate visual changes through a non-visual medium), and "telling a story about the brand" that immediately grips the listener.

The duo claimed, "interactivity" is as effective on the radio as it is on the Internet, if not more. To strengthen the point, they played clips of an ad for the British Army that used sounds of army tanks interspersed with questions to the listener ("Can you tell whether this is a British army tank or that of the enemy's?") for dramatic effect. All these were ways and means of surrounding the listener, explained Dickson and Best.

The second part of the workshop talked about Mastering Radio Creative. "With radio, we can selectively change focus," said Best. "We must remember that radio is not TV. We do not sit down to listen to the Radio, it's not a conscious decision unlike watching TV."

"But even during an unfocussed listening, we subconsciously switch focus to relevant information," said Best. Research shows that the first five seconds of a radio commercial can make or break the campaign. It is within these five seconds that the communication has to establish "product relevance" and "personal relevance", said Dickson.

To achieve this, creative agencies need to keep a few points in mind. "Use a formula," suggests Best. "Cast a voice which is identified and liked by the target audience. Tap onto the moment and pick your right time," he said.

The best way to keep the listener focused is by creating an emotional bond, said the duo. It also helps to be "positive" because people, and especially youngsters, don't like negativity on the radio. Make sense and keep it simple, were the other tips from the duo.

But most importantly, Dickson and Best suggested the use of "sonic brand triggers". They gave the example of the sign-off tune that Intel uses, and which is instantly recognisable around the world.

Supported by the Ad Club Mumbai, the workshop drew in an impressive response from the industry and is now on its way to Kolkata.

© 2005 agencyfaqs!

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