Shibani Gharat

Radio needs to be an integral part of the marketing mix, says jury at Mirchi Kaan Awards

The jury met on September 24 to shortlist the winners. The eighth edition of the Mirchi Kaan Awards will be held on September 28, at the Comedy Store in Mumbai.

With over 220 nominations and participation from over 20 creative agencies, the Mirchi Kaan Awards is all set to stage its final ceremony on September 28, in Mumbai. The jury met on September 24 to shortlist the best radio ads, across 15 award categories.

Radio needs to be an integral part of the marketing mix, says jury at Mirchi Kaan Awards
The jury consisted of Agnello Dias, chairman and co-founder, TapRoot, Deepa Krishnan, president, creative, Lowe Lintas, Prathap Suthan, chief creative officer, Iyogi, Rekha Nigam, managing director, Vihaan Communications, Sunil Thoppil, vice-president, McCann Erickson, Ashish Khazanchi, national creative director, Publicis ambience, Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India, Amit Akali, senior vice-president and national creative director, Grey, Ramanuj Shastry, chief creative officer, Saatchi & Saatchi, Malvika Mehra, national creative director and senior vice-president, Grey, Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman and regional executive creative director, McCann Worldgroup, Meera Sharath Chandra, K S Chakravarthy, national creative director, Draftfcb Ulka and Manoj Shetty, senior creative director, Ogilvy India.

Many members on the jury believe that there has not been much evolution of radio over the years. "I am still waiting for the single big idea on radio," said Paul. "What we see is single spots on radio, we cannot find a campaign," he added.

According to Dias there should be more of radio campaigns, and not single spots or independent radio ads alone.

Joshi, who believes that localisation of radio is a big thing, cited the example of Lucknow, where RJs speak in the local Hindi dialect, and at times, even in Urdu. "I feel programming on radio has become more innovative. The medium has helped produce stars in RJs. So, a radio ad has to compete with the likes of entertaining, popular RJs to grab a listener's attention," says he. But, Joshi also feels that owing to radio becoming an important component of the media mix, there is an increased pressure on the creative teams to get radio right. "When there is pressure, then experimentation goes down. Today, as far as radio advertising is concerned, I am seeing less of experimentation, and more of information," Joshi said.

Joshi feels that a client believes in radio for tactical stuff like promoting sales, offers, etc. "But, when it comes to brand building, we have to really push," he said.

"But, radio is a true test of a script writer," said Joshi. "Radio is in the national tradition of our country. As a country, we listen first and then we see. In Indian movies, when a son returns from somewhere, he announces to his mother that he has arrived ('Maa main aa gaya'). We do not get to see this in Western movies," he added. Joshi has been one of the founding members of Mirchi Kaan Awards, and has been on the jury of the awards since its inception.

Khazanchi agreed with Joshi that the radio is one of the toughest mediums. According to him, the quality of production in radio has gone up. "As compared to earlier years, the craft is increasing. But, radio advertising is pretty much at a nascent stage," he said. He cited the Cycle Agarbatti radio ad as one of the most noteworthy ads on radio in recent years. Khazanchi has been associated with the Mirchi Kaan awards for over five years.

Nigam, too, cited the Cycle Agarbatti ad, along with other examples such as Chloromint, Hanes Tagless, and McDonald's Happy Meal as some striking radio ads in the past few years. She felt, though, that the movement of radio, over the years, has not been very linear.

Mehra also agreed with Khazanchi, saying that the production of radio ads has got better. "The product that is coming out now is much more finished," she said. But, she feels that radio spots are really very loud and over the top. "There is clutter and chaos on radio. The creative content for radio has a long way to go, but the scripting for radio has certainly improved," Mehra added.

Shetty, too, agreed with Mehra, but feels that radio scripts have become funnier. "The quantity of ads on radio and their quality has improved to a great extent," he said. He likes the Radio Mirchi campaign on the Mirchi Kaan Awards, the most.

A campaign titled 'Imitate your Idol' was earlier launched by Radio Mirchi to spread awareness amongst the creative talent about the award ceremony. The campaign was conceptualised and executed by McCann Erickson, Mumbai.

Akali feels that most creative people cannot get radio right. "The reason for that could probably be the lack of right partners. In television, your right partners could be good directors, in print it could be your photographers, but in radio, you have no one to compliment your creativity. There is a dearth of great radio artists," said Akali.

But, Chakravarthy disagreed with Akali. He feels that there are great voiceover artists within the agency itself. "But, radio today, is not the medium that we spend too much of money on," he added. Chakravarthy has been associated with the awards for all eight years. He feels that radio advertising has certainly evolved over the years.

Shastry feels that radio has seen no evolution. "This is because radio advertsing is still an afterthought to marketing heads and marketing teams. The client is more eager to talk about TV, than about radio," said Shastry.

Chandra too feels that radio is still trying to find space in the 360 degree circle. "But, its role is certainly changing," she added.

Suthan articulated that although radio has evolved, it is not evolving at the speed it has to. "There is similarity in work and no freshness in approach. Now that FM radio has been around for quite some time, ideas about improving the quality of radio advertising need to come. Advertising on radio is not just about voiceovers," he stated.

Many jury members attributed the evolution and improved quality of radio advertising to Radio Mirchi's Kaan awards.

Radio Mirchi has accepted nominations from across the country. Ernst & Young managed the validation process of the entries.

"There is an increase in terms of participation from agencies for the 8th edition of Mirchi Kaan Awards. This year, around 20 agencies have participated from across the country for these awards. A few years back, it was around 14-15. Now, there is increased awareness about the awards, and due to the increase in the number of radio stations, advertising on radio has also increased," says Kilambi, senior vice-president and national marketing head, Radio Mirchi.

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