The ad by RKCR/Y&R for the Department of Communities and Local Government beat 32 others including a Tesco ad by The Red Brick Road and an Ogilvy creative for British Gas to grab the top spot.
RadioGauge executive Mike Tull praised the ‘Fire Kills’ campaign for following up a strong creative in 2011 with a spot that engages the listener in what they believe is a quick reminder to change their clocks before hitting them with the real message.
Last year's 'Fire Kills' ad by RKCR/Y&R was the most creatively effective ad tested by the RAB between January and March.
The RAB found the average creative score on RadioGauge in the first six months of 2012 was 3.3% higher than the ads measured in the same period of 2011 and 5.1% higher than those measured in 2008.
Since 2011 when no UK radio ads were shortlisted at the Cannes festival the RAB has worked with the industry to improve creativity in radio in a variety of ways including training, new tools and a partnership with D&AD.
Clare Bowen, head of creative development at the RAB, said: "Having identified these signs of an emerging radio creative renaissance, now feels like an appropriate time to unveil the advertisers that are helping to lead this."
As part of its RadioGauge research tool the RAB asks thousands of respondents to score radio ads against 11 statements linked to the RAB’s 5I’s evaluation process (Involvement, Identity, Impression, Information and Integration) and uses the answers to rank the ads’ creative effectiveness.
The top 10 ads by RadioGauge executive Mike Tull
1. Department for Communities and Local Government – Fire Kills (RKCR/Y&R and M4C)
Hats off to the DCLG and the Fire Kills campaign for successfully topping the list once more with this year’s iteration of the campaign. Last year’s ad was a short, sharp 10 second reminder to listeners to test their alarm. This year’s copy is slightly longer but by no means creates any less of an impact. Using the eerie ticking clock engages listeners in what they might think is a quick reminder to change their clocks before the true message is unveiled, and you’re hit with the information that should get all of us checking our smoke alarms. Something for all of us to keep in mind once more as the end of British Summer Time closes in on us.
2. Tesco (The Red Brick Road and Initiative)
I wish I could whistle. I’ve tried - and I mean really tried - to whistle along to the Tesco ads but any attempt just ends failing miserably. However, while I may lack skills in the whistling department, I do have Clubcard points in need of exchanging. It’s probably no surprise that Tesco ads stand out so well on-air thanks to their distinctive sonic identity and ‘Every Little Helps’ slogan but it’s no mean feat to consistently create involving ways of delivering your messages to the audience and Tesco continue to do just that.
3. British Gas (Ogilvy and Carat)
Now we’ve all tried to playing a tune on the spoons before but British Gas have gone a little bit further than that. A rendition of ‘Rescue Me’ by Fontella Bass played on doorbells, spanners and drills has created a way of making boiler repairs seem far more entertaining than they actually are! Sound effects and music, if used incorrectly, can sometimes obscure the message but thanks to the no-nonsense delivery from the unmistakeable Timothy Spall you know precisely who is talking to you and exactly what they’re offering.
4. Department Of Health - Second Hand Smoke (Dare and M4C)
In the chilling TV ads commissioned by the Department of Health you see the invisible smoke circle around innocent babies and children. Now it’s obviously not possible to show invisible smoke on-air but what radio can do is give those innocent children a voice. The juxtaposition of the cute girl’s voice and the repeated mentions of poison create a stark re-iteration of just how damaging smoking around others can be - and why you should get in touch to give up and help yourself and those around you live healthier lives.
5. Carphone Warehouse (CHI & Partners, M/SIX and Mindshare)
Nostalgia. It may not be what it used to be but it is one of the reasons why listeners love commercial radio – a song that you haven’t heard for years will suddenly come on and cause you to start reminiscing. Carphone Warehouse has tapped into this by cleverly employing The Wombles to bring their ‘Waste’ campaign to life. When you hear the voice of Bernard Cribbins and The Wombles music begin to play in the background, happy memories of childhood come flooding back and the ad can’t fail to leave you with anything but a smile.
6. Heinz (AMV BBDO and Vizeum)
If red wine counted as one of your five a day then the media industry would be one of the healthiest sectors around. Unfortunately it isn’t but Heinz is on hand to ensure that we all do our best to keep doctors happy and reach our five-a-day target with a can of tomato soup. Continuing their heritage of utilising the best of British acting talent, Caroline Quentin’s light-hearted delivery hits just the right note and brings to life the image of curling up on the sofa on a cold, miserable January evening.
7. Dolmio (AMV BBDO, MediaCom and Zenith)
The core strength of Dolmio campaigns are their ability to have their family characters reach consumers across all media touch points. You see them on television, hear them tease you with repeated mentions of lasagne on radio and then when you pop down the supermarket you see them again looking at you from the packaging on the shelf. Simple, but highly effective.
8. Marks & Spencer (RKCR/Y&R and Walker Media)
Marks & Spencer is on air across the year with a variety of different messages. How do you try and differentiate all those messages to ensure individual messages cut through yet maintain brand consistency? Using songs that are relevant to the message is one of the key elements to M&S’ successful strategy. Throughout the year you may hear them on-air with messages backed by ‘Here Comes The Sun’ or ‘Busy’ (by Olly Murs). For the launch of the Simply M&S range, an instrumental of ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ helped communicate that you could enjoy the food without having to worry about the price.
9. RatedPeople.com (VCCP and The7Stars)
The challenges new brands face launching a national campaign are a) getting the brand name out there and b) ensuring people know what they are offering. The RatedPeople.com ad achieves both aims thanks to a very simplistic message delivered by the professional tone of Phil Spencer. As someone their target audience of homeowners already know and respect as a ‘trusted advisor’ Phil’s recognisable voice is a neat shortcut for transferring those essential perceptions onto the newly established RatedPeople brand.
10. Moneysupermarket (Mother and MediaCom)
Moneysupermarket inhabits the airwaves with their bold and booming sound. In a sector full of distinctive campaigns, Moneysupermarket has still managed to create its own unique sonic identity thanks to epic voice of Patrick Stewart. Add in a few preposterous ideas (I’m sure even Andy Murray would struggle to come higher than third at Wimbledon using a credit card as a racquet…) and there you have it, an entertaining ad which makes you want to be SO Moneysupermarket yourself!
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