Rupert Howell, a managing partner at Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, has
hit out at radio’s record on advertising creativity and called on the
industry to follow the example of the poster medium.
Speaking this week at the annual Radio Festival - entitled What Radio
has to do Over the Next Five Years to Maintain Growth - Howell warned
that if radio creativity did not improve soon, it would seriously limit
the growth and popularity of the sector.
‘Great radio ads are much too few and far between. In fact, you can
easily be tempted to switch the radio off altogether sometimes as you
are driven insane by the endless repetition of appalling commercials,’
In a hard-hitting speech, Howell went on to compare commercial radio’s
current position to that of the poster industry, which was an equally
‘unfashionable’ medium 30 years ago.
‘But then along came Collett Dickenson Pearce and the great Benson and
Hedges ‘gold pack’ campaign,’ Howell said. ‘Its success, both creatively
and in terms of sales, was merchandised mercilessly and the medium
became fashionable almost overnight.’
He added that the poster industry has managed to build on this success
ever since, and cited the Wonderbra, Benetton and Club 18-30 holiday
executions as evidence of this.
Howell’s comments were echoed by his fellow panelists, John Ayling, the
managing director of John Ayling and Associates, and Nick Lockett, a
director at Booth Lockett Makin.
Ayling went so far as to question whether there was an inherent problem
in radio that prevented consistently high creative standards from
He also warned against complacency by declaring that the impressive
growth in radio’s share of the advertising market in recent years would
not continue forever. ‘TV is not going to lose share and newspapers are
finding unique angles in terms of colour and targeting. In five years’
time, radio will probably stabilise at about 6 per cent,’ Ayling said.
Radio currently commands a 4.3 per cent share of advertising revenue.
The European average is 6 per cent and in the US it is about 9 per cent.