I love radio. I’ve always been a morning radio person (BBC Radio 6 of course, because you probably couldn’t play the music I love next to an ad break). Since lockdown I’ve been listening to it a lot. I find I need background noise to concentrate (I know there’s a lot of us who are the opposite) and it’s easier to work to than podcasts. But looking back on my favourite radio ads, it’s a tough category.
Right up there in terms of audio advertising are GE’s LifeAfter podcast (2017: BBDO New York) and Wrigley’s Nightjar game (2011: AMVBBDO). Both incredibly innovative for their time, and enormous successes in terms of capturing the imagination of the public. No easy feat, and no small budget either – these are wonderful examples of client and agency working in partnership to really explore new creative ideas. But not really radio.
I loved when Sky sponsored Chris Evans on Virgin Radio, to remove all the ads from the broadcast. Genius move when they’re often so poorly and carelessly executed. They shouldn’t be - audio is more powerful as a channel than what it’s been for years.
Speaking of the power of audio, I love how there’s innovation in advertising in the growing podcast market. From My Dad Wrote a Porno, to The Beef and Dairy Network (ads mostly fictional) the brand messages are woven into the podcast in a way that’s individual to the presenter’s own story. It’s an area that should be explored more.
And then there’s seriously interesting, British, independent adtech like AMillionAds who allow creatives to explore personalised radio ads for any brand, over most of the commercial and digital channels on offer. Using this tech should be a slam dunk for any client, but I know from experience that the media buys, talent costs, creative development and possibilities aren’t usually taken into consideration early enough on in the process. I’d love to see it pushed more to its fullest creative capabilities.
But back to my favourite piece of straight-up simple radio though, and apart from the childhood favourites that only other Aussies would know I’ve got to say that the radio I love most is something super-current.
The Daunt Books ads using quotes from classic books that feel like they’re describing our current global situation, to help keep one of the UK’s most beautiful independent bookstores open for business. Called “Not so Unprecedented” the campaign really hits home the role of books, and learning from the past, in order to understand the future. Powerful, distinctive and using our advertising superpowers to do something great. Again, its AMVBBDO.
Nice one peeps, tipping my hat to keeping the craft of radio in rude health.
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