War of the Words

By The Drum, Administrator

November 16, 2005 | 5 min read

War. What is it good for? Well, bringing about some cracking Scottish radio creativity, apparently. In July of this year, when Real Radio and The Drum teamed up to launch the first ever War of the Words competition, neither the station or magazine fully realised the enthusiasm that the competition would generate in the Scottish industry.

Real was inundated with dozens of entries from Scottish agencies vying for the prize of £20,000-worth of production and airtime, and the six-strong judging panel had its work more than cut out when deciding which ads should stand a chance of being aired and which shouldn’t. The judging panel consisted of Jonathan Kemp, marketing director of AG Barr; Fly Globespan marketing manager Judith Duffy; Shaun Bowron, group operations director of GMG Radio; Gareth Prosser, head of creative at Real Radio Scotland; The Drum publisher Gordon Young and Billy Anderson, Real Radio Scotland’s managing director.

In October, six separate campaigns were shortlisted for the top award, from The Bridge (for Simply Organic), Coltas (two different campaigns for Watt Brothers and one for Slater Womanswear) The Union (for Edinburgh Volunteer Centre) and Clayton Graham Communications.

However it was to be Clayton Graham’s six-execution campaign for client The Herald that would win the day (and, more importantly, the production and radio airtime).

Though The Herald has used radio as an advertising medium in the past, it has always been for specific promotions or supplements. The paper has never used radio as a medium for promoting its brand as a whole.

Ian Clarke, sales and marketing director of The Herald, explains: “We need to strike a balance between, on the one hand, establishing and reinforcing brand identity and on the other ensuring that we retain the immediacy necessary to remain daily at the forefront of the highly competitive market in which we operate. Brand advertising for newspapers can – rightly or wrongly – be perceived as something of a luxury when there is a need to compete aggressively for casual sale. For the brand message, however, there is a challenge. The Herald has a strong ABC1 profile so finding a commercial radio station that can reach this audience cost effectively is difficult.”

He adds: “With this prize, we'll have the luxury of experimenting with a campaign that otherwise may never have been aired. It'll be very interesting to see the results.”

Clayton Graham created a television brand campaign for the newspaper earlier this year, with the aim of attracting new and lapsed readers to the paper as well as cementing occasional readers. The campaign encouraged people to re-evaluate their perceptions of the newspaper and stressed the paper’s thought-provoking editorial content, using examples of actual writing that had appeared in the pages of the paper itself.

Mark Graham, creative director of Clayton Graham, says: “We firmly believe that no one single discipline or medium should be ‘pushed’ over another. What is paramount, in every case, is to identify what are the correct routes to market that will work the hardest to achieve the communications and business objectives. Radio, as one of the main advertising mediums, has a clear role to play in the marketing mix. What is key is to understand fully what role radio plays, how it can best be utilised creatively and how to integrate this with other mediums to maximise communication effectiveness. Radio enjoys a close relationship and interactivity with its audience, often on a one-to-one basis; it is our belief that this intimacy will fit perfectly with The Herald brand campaign.”

From a strategic perspective, the agency was keen to create ads that could sit alongside The Herald’s other brand advertising, while still making use of radio’s unique strengths. By its nature, radio can arguably deliver a more intimate contact with its audiences than any other form of media, and the agency was keen to tap into this.

“The campaign is about using the intimacy of radio to deliver emotional and arresting content from the pages of The Herald,” remarks Clayton Graham planning director Pauline Graham. “By reaching out to people on an emotional level, we hope to challenge listeners to seriously think about The Herald and the quality and diversity of the writing it contains. As with the TV, the radio campaign consists of six scripts, showing the breadth of tone and pace of writing in the paper, covering both the serious and lighter side of life.

“The 'experience it' end line summarises our contention that by reading the paper, you can get a unique outlook on life.”

Thorough congratulations are due for Clayton Graham for their winning submissions, which will soon be heard on Real Radio. The unsuccessful agencies needn’t feel too bitter, however, as Real Radio and The Drum plan to declare war again next year.

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