MEDIA PERSPECTIVE: Capital's quest for a sound creative is wise market move

Sound featured heavily in my life this week. First there was the awful symphony of cudgels, knives and meat cleavers hacking and slicing through flesh and bone during the fight scene at the start of Gangs of New York. A reminder of how immense the impact of a soundtrack can be in the cinema. The film's "haunting" Irish music was less effective to my mind.

Then, while decorating the walls of the Darby residence (the life of a media editor is sadly not all Champagne at Langan's you know), the majestic Alan Green on Radio Five Live kept me from leaping from the stepladder and running to the BBC Duty Office for Handy Andy's number. This carnival of sound even extended to TV with a current favourite ad - that Grolsch one with the ninjas, containing a piece of sound as its finest moment.

There's this excellent bit where the Dutch Grolsch frontman lets out a Ninja style cry. I can't do it justice in words but that comes nicely to the point.

Sensing an opportunity, Capital Radio is looking for its first creative director to help advertisers and agencies harness the power of sound; from voiceovers to music to sonic branding (imagine that annoying Intel Inside noise, only better). While Capital needs to do all it can to add value for advertisers at a time when revenues in radio are less than sparkling, it also believes that it has a genuine point to make - that the use of sound in ads is not fully understood or considered.

The appointed creative director, probably, but not necessarily, from a creative agency, will work with creatives and advertisers on influencing listeners through the effective selection of music, voiceover artists, ideal spot length, general tone of voice and the role of silence in ads.

This will also extend to use of sound in TV ads and other branding environments.

Obviously, Capital has a vested interest in improving its service for advertisers but it is also behaving responsibly as the market-leading media owner in its sector. It is not setting up in competition with agencies but seeking to add value where needed. Its ultimate aim is to move towards carrying great advertising on its stations so that listeners remain engaged throughout the ad break. Self-serving but a welcome sign for potential advertisers. It also wants advertisers to understand the importance of sound across their media mix and cites work it has already carried out with IPC and easyJet as examples of advertisers thinking deeply about the impact of sound in their non-radio ads.

Of course, many agencies will already be on top of this kind of issue but Capital's access to top programming and production talent could add an extra dimension. The move is also a further sign, following the prominent work from the BBC and Channel 4 creative services teams, that good media owners take creativity in advertising seriously.