BT: ADVERTISERS SHOULD RESPECT RADIO AS MUCH AS TV
- 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
NESTLE ROWNTREE: RADIO'S BETTER
- 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
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.
KIT KAT: 'CLOTHES SHOP'
DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Which number do you require?
MRS BROWN: Hello yes, it's a clothes shop.
DIRECTORY ENQUIRIES: Name.
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.
BT: 'SARAH TO GEOFFREY'
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
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 ...
Creative: Tony Cox, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO; Producer: Zoe Dale;