NEWS: Howell slams ‘appalling’ radio ads

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.

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,’

he said.



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

emerging.



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.