RADIO - BIG SPENDERS: Nestle's Andrew Harrison and BT's Katrina Lowes argue their case for brand-building using radio ads


- Katrina Lowes, head of consumer communications, BT

We've heard a lot of evidence lately about the effectiveness of radio in

the advertising mix. Indeed, the Radio Advertising Bureau claims that

the radio multiplier effect can improve the efficiency of a campaign in

building awareness by as much as 15 per cent, according to RAB/Millward


That's great news for anyone trying to stretch their advertising budget

like elastic. But why then do so many advertisers throw away this

advantage on poor and unimaginative copy?

Good radio programming can make you laugh out loud, touch your heart or

make you reach for the phone to air your opinion. It's involving,

personal and like having an old friend in the room. Which makes it all

the more annoying and damaging to a brand when enjoyment is interrupted

by bad sound effects, poor acting and ropy accents - otherwise known as

the ad breaks!

Advertisers should treat radio copy with the same respect they reserve

for TV and cinema. After all, it is a performance medium and a more

challenging one because it's performance without pictures.

How many of us give a radio script a quick glance, but scrutinise a TV

script? And do we spend as much time on creative research if the script

is for radio?

All too often, the radio brief is given to a junior creative team to

"have a go at" and the resulting work may have no link or relevance to

an existing campaign.

Little consideration is given to casting or the quality of actors

engaged, and special effects can be created on the hoof. What happened

to the pre-production meeting? Why, suddenly, does a perfectly good

sonic ident established on TV become unsuitable for radio? What about

the power of music to aid brand recognition?

The answer is that we must be more demanding of the standard of creative

work on radio. There's no doubt that the medium is a sound investment,

but cutting costs and corners in production, or simply buying a weak

idea, means that you may as well pour your money down the drain.

A fantastic example of an advertiser who got it right is the recent Kit

Kat ad about the frustration of queuing in a telephone call steering


The creative idea is entertaining and the recording has good production

values. Most of all, the distinctive "snap" of the bar provides strong

aural branding, leaving no doubt that it belongs to the "have a break"


So, give your radio work a better chance of success. Engage a

professional radio producer. Don't settle for tricksy sound effects in

place of a good creative idea. Think about campaign integration and make

it easy for listeners to piece together the different elements of your

activity across the media mix.

A little extra effort to exploit the power of radio is definitely worth



- Andrew Harrison, director of marketing, Nestle UK, Nestle-Rowntree


At Nestle-Rowntree, we spend about 8 per cent of our media expenditure

on radio - which is traditionally known as the 2 per cent medium. So why

do we spend four times more on radio than typical advertisers?

Creatively, radio brings something unique to the schedule. It's

intimate, it's personal and it's one-to-one. Tie this personal

connection to the listener with the opportunity to buy by daypart, as

well as locally, and radio adds a familiar touch to national brands.

The intimacy of the medium is one of radio's characteristics that we

have been able to exploit extremely well with Kit Kat, the brand for

whose radio work we're renowned. Having a break from everyday

frustrations is a big enough idea to be executed effectively in any

medium. But the radio ads that work particularly well are the ones which

are enhanced by the medium itself. The best ads rely on heard, and not

seen, experiences.

For example, in "bathroom world" the radio medium itself is in on the

joke because it parodies radio advertising. Other scenarios involve

radio replacing some other audio device. For example, in "call centre",

the listener hears on the radio what they would normally hear on a


In "Dutch for beginners", the radio replaces a tape recorder.

The media arguments in favour of radio are well rehearsed. Over the past

ten years, unaffordably high levels of TV inflation forced our brands to

consider more cost-effective routes to reach consumers. Radio offers a

cheap route to build frequency and coverage of key brand messages. This

is radio's "multiplier effect", where the low cost of airtime drives


A recent Millward Brown study for the Radio Advertising Bureau suggested

radio costs were about one-seventh of those for TV. Radio complements

the ability of TV to drive coverage while, at the same time, it has

begun to offer two or three additional media benefits.

Growth in commercial radio has meant that we are sometimes able to

achieve high coverage in a short period - previously we relied only on

TV. We can plan radio efficiently and the ability to target regionally

on TV has just about vanished. Radio is strong - listening exceeds TV

viewing across the majority of the morning and early afternoon - when

most consumers are out and about buying chocolate.


DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Which number do you require?

MRS BROWN: Hello yes, it's a clothes shop.


MRS BROWN: Mrs Brown.

DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: No, the name of the shop.

MRS BROWN: Ah yes ... it's something ... something fashion.

DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Do you have a location?

MRS BROWN: Oh, now that I do know. It's near the traffic

lights opposite the bakery.

DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Do you have any other information?

MRS BROWN: Oh yes, they sell sandals, and I think it's

closed on Wednesday afternoons.

DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Could you be a bit more specific?

MRS BROWN: Yes there was a big ginger cat in the window,

and it barked.

MVO Have a break, have a Kit Kat.

Creative: Kieran Knight and Max Clemens, J. Walter Thompson; Producer:

Daniel Heighes; Sound: Wave.


SFX: Signature tune


SARAH: Is that ... er ... Reverend Hodges?

GEOFFREY: Please, call me Geoffrey.

SARAH: OK, right. Um ... My name's Sarah Scott, and my fiance

and I were wondering if we could get married at St

Mark's ...

MVO: Always on the phone? Well, with BT this weekend, local

and national calls will cost no more than 20p, so you

can chat away as long as you like without worrying.

GEOFFREY: Fine. Look, why don't you both come over to the

vicarage, say, next Wednesday evening?

SARAH: Okay, see you Wednesday then.

GEOFFREY: (Mock-sternly): I do hope I'll be seeing you before


SARAH: Er ... Sunday ... of course, um ... yeah.

MVO: (Over reprise of signature tune) Local and national

calls this weekend are no more than 20p. BT bringing ...

SARAH: Sarah ...

MVO: and ...

GEOFFREY: Geoffrey ...

MVO: together.

Creative: Tony Cox, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO; Producer: Zoe Dale;

Sound: Jungle.

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