Radio Advertising: We've come this far ...

Welcome to this special Campaign supplement on engaging radio advertising.

It is actually a bit of a hybrid: not only does it include the winners of the latest Aerial Awards, but also some broader articles on the whole issue of creative radio. The purpose is very simple: we know radio can be an uplifting, entertaining and engaging medium for brands, but how can we make sure it achieves this more often and more consistently?

There is a lot of talk about "engagement" at the moment and in radio it is a very hot topic. Our latest research demonstrated that advertising avoidance is not really a problem for radio: together with cinema, it has the lowest level of ad avoidance. The real challenge is listeners' tendency to be inattentive. They are there and on hand to hear what we say on air but, frankly, if it is not interesting, they have no reason to engage.

As you will see, there is plenty of advice in these pages about how to make radio more engaging for the listener, whether from the point of view of the agency or the client.

There are two areas I think deserve special mention. One is branded content - in the past, this used to be shorthanded as S&P (Sponsorships & Promotions), but it has become one of the most important sectors of on-air activity and, as Andy Roberts demonstrates (page 5), one that programmers now take very seriously indeed.

The other area to mention, for a quite different reason, is digital radio (on whichever platform: Freeview, internet, DAB etc). We have not included a separate article on this for the supplement for the simple reason that we believe it will not change the basics of the creative challenge.

So, congratulations to all the winners in the 2006 Aerial Awards, thanks to Campaign for putting this supplement together, and special thanks to the people who have contributed articles for the supplement.

Let's look forward to an engaging 2006 for radio!