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Creative Director’s Choice: Bill Starkey of Quench on Tide’s humble radio spots


By Kyle O'Brien | Creative Works Editor

June 6, 2019 | 4 min read

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the work they think is the best out in the ad world — the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.

Tide Radio

Tide radio spots

This week, Bill Starkey, creative director at Quench, discusses the creative simplicity and craft of the Tide radio spots.

Bill Starkey

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the humble radio spot. A few of them. Yes, that’s right, you heard me correctly. Radio.

“That’s still around?”

“That’s still a thing we work on?” Indeed. It is.

And this work for Tide? It’s an example of everything radio should be. On its marketing merits, it’s simple, effective and benefits-based. And I say this with the greatest sense of nostalgia: this is pure advertising. This is the type of demonstration ad that we did back in the heyday of traditional advertising; the radio version of the all-visual print ad. The team that created it clearly embraced the clutter of the medium and made something that worked within the space, then stripped everything away but the idea and the objective – making a point worth making in an unexpected way.

I heard these spots on terrestrial radio. And remembered them. I laughed. And then went online to find them and listened again. Shared them with my wife. She laughed. And we weren’t the only ones.

My delight with these isn’t just with the craft the writers penned and the engineers engineered when creating them, or the smile I get when listening to them, it’s the way people have shared them. Yes, shared radio ads. Unprompted. A lot.

People are recording them and playing the recordings back on YouTube. And tallying views. One video, complete with self-made graphic interpretation of the audio, has collected more than 235,000 looks to date. Some of us have made fully-produced videos that only dream of seeing that number.

Sometimes good advertising takes me out of my ad-guy shoes and makes me a consumer. It forces me to react not as someone in the industry that pines over word choice, or the two or three beats we add here or take away there, or the hundreds of voice auditions we pored over searching for the perfect voice, or the hours it took to get the music and singing just so.

These ads just made me a person listening to the radio and laughing.

Thanks, Tide.

Bill Starkey is creative director of Quench, a food and beverage-focused agency with offices in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Chicago.

Hear the work by clicking on the Creative Works box below (close your eyes for best effect).

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien.

Tide: Tide radio ads

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quench is an expertly-crafted national food and beverage advertising and marketing agency that delivers integrated, award-winning client ad campaigns.

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