Audio Ad of the Year Award 2023 creative judges: Helen Rhodes, executive creative director at BBH London and Raphael Basckin, executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi London
Listen up! We need your ears, people - and your most excellent creative judgement.
Yes, it's time for you to cast your vote and decide which ad will win the The Audio Ad of the Year award 2023, run by Radiocentre, in partnership with Campaign.
There are three to vote on (below) with Cadbury's and VCCP, Quorn and Adam & Eve/DDB, and Smarty and The Gate all in the running.
These ads have already triumphed in a rigorous selection process that saw Radiocentre whittle down almost 60 entries to 10, and then our two creative chiefs choose the final three: big thanks to Helen Rhodes, executive creative director at BBH London and Raphael Basckin, executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi London.
These experts judged on the basis of craft (writing) production, creative execution, memorability and resonance. Plus, they looked for ads that are innovative and creative and show the power of audio, specifically radio, as an effective advertising medium.
You can read what and why Rhodes and Basckin thought of the three ads, plus why they love audio below.
But now it's your turn to have the final say. Get your listening ears on and vote below - immediately!
If you didn't already know, it’s been a record-breaking year for commercial radio and audio, with audiences and share of listening against the BBC bigger than ever and advertising revenues at an all-time high.
So the more you know about the best in audio, the better...
Have a listen and vote for your favourite
*See foot of page for more info on the entries
The deadline for votes is midnight on November 30th.
The winner will be profiled in Campaign in December.
THE JUDGES' VIEWS
“I bloody love a good audio ad.
As the advertising great, David Ogilvy, said ‘Give me the freedom of a tight brief’, and what’s tighter than an audio-only medium with just three ingredients to play with: voice over, sound effects and music. Use them in the right way with a brilliant idea that zags and the results are magnificent.
It’s also a medium where writing is king. In a world where visuals reign and great copywriting is in decline, a space where the written word can rip off its shirt, puff up its chest and romp around is a beautiful thing. And on top of all this you get to work with amazing talent.
Benedict Cumberbatch might be reluctant to give up a whole day to appear in your telly ad for haemorrhoid cream, but a couple of hours in a sound studio is a completely different thing. A cup of tea and some Garibaldis later, he’ll be hitting those thrilling high notes as he does his best impression of a singing anus, that Masters in classical acting really coming into its own.”
"The second ad I ever made was a radio ad. The ECD drove me to the studio personally. It took exactly seven minutes, by Audi, to get across Sandton, Johannesburg and in this short time, he managed to tell me everything important I ever needed to know about the medium.
For three minutes, he explained how expensive it would be to shoot a film in outer space. Then, he took one hand off the steering wheel and put it over his mouth and made a breathing noise like Neil Armstrong did when he landed on the moon.
Was I transported to the outer edges of the Cosmos by his demonstration? No, but the lesson was clear: the limits of radio are its very strength. Limits inspire creativity, and while this is a medium that only hits one sense, the route from our ears to our minds can be surprisingly direct in the hands of a skillful writer - and, more often than not, art director. As this industry hurtles and lurches towards new frontiers, every great radio ad is a reminder of how little it takes to really take us somewhere."
Still not voted? Looking for some creative guidance? Or perhaps just nosey to know how our creative heads came to their collective decision?
We dropped in on the conversation that flowed in a shared doc between our two judges.
Here’s what they said…But what do you think?
Quorn stands out because it's the only one that made me LOL. I'm a quiet, taciturn person so this takes some doing. I like the statement of the obvious in this ad -the whole enterprise of vegan protein is how close you can get to the taste of meat without being meat. This spot calls its porky spade a spade and I am sold. I also think that there were some good casting and direction decisions in making the the interrupter sound incredulous, and, of course, in having him eat. He kind of comes to life in front of your ears, which is the essence of good radio. And there's a sound design that runs the whole way through.
I don't know that the SMARTY work is brilliant but the relatability of tech making your life worse is beautifully captured in these scenarios. The way the spot cycles through the protagonist's playlist is funny and I think there's insight in how there are things you're proud to play people and there are guilty pleasures you keep for your own ears.
I know exactly what Cadburys does. I'm less sure about whether the Tale of The Tortoise and the Friendly Substation Engineer is authentic but I suspect it is because it's the kind of thing that someone would hop online to find. Also, I don't care if it's true or not, it's nice to hear a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.
So, Quorn. Like you [Raphael] it made me LOL. Rather than skirting around the issue of why most people avoid substitute meat, Quorn hit it straight on going for the plant-based protein jugular. It's an honest observation executed with precision comedy timing. I also liked the dynamic between the classic, suave VO guy who starts to lose his cool due to the down to earth "normal" guy who's oblivious to what's
Cadburys, another one we're simpatico on and for similar reasons. Out of all the audio ads we listened to, this one stood out for its confident calmness. It was refreshing to listen to something with no frills, just a charming VO telling a story of kindness. And as most people listen to the radio in the car, I think we could all do with a moment of quiet like this that nudges us to see the positive side to our fellow drivers. "There's a glass and a half of goodness in everyone, including that nob in the Range Rover". Perhaps this is the endline they'll go for next time.
Smarty - It's a relatable insight and the performances are humorous. Also, who isn't a fan of a catchy endline such as "Less malarkey, more smarty''?
*More info on the entries:
Cadbury (Cadbury) - “There’s a Glass and a Half in Everyone (Tortoise)” - VCCP
Art director Aly Golani Copywriters Emma Jackson, Simon Connor Producers Gaynor Goldring, Gerda Aleksandraviciute Facility house Factory Studios Sound engineers Jack Hallett, Harry Boyce Production company Factory Studios Voiceover artist Aisling Loftus
The entry says:
"For the first time ever, Cadbury has extended its longstanding brand platform 'There's a Glass and a Half in Everyone' in its first foray into radio. The much-loved platform has been successfully celebrating and inspiring generosity for years. But how could we capture the magic of an unexpected generous gesture without the luxury of AV? Well, what better way to demonstrate that there really is a generous instinct in all of us than by hero-ing generous acts born from the very people of Britain. We selected five beautiful stories of generosity, retold like chapters from an audiobook. Quiet humanity-affirming stories in the middle of your chaotic day. There was no need for SFX. The real power was in letting the acts of the public speak for themselves. Creating moments of reflection in an otherwise cluttered ad break and gently warming people to the truth - that there really is a glass and a half in everyone."
Quorn (Quorn) - “Deli” - Adam & Eve/ DDB
Producer Anna-Louise Vass Facility house Factory Studios Sound engineer Jack Hallett
The entry says:
“The ad is a mixture of voiceovers, foley (everyday sounds) and music, and based around the making of a British lunchtime staple: the sandwich. Based on the TV campaign, Perry. T. Pig taunts a man eating a Quorn-filled sandwich telling him ‘I wouldn’t bother wondering what the alternative might be’. Having both voiceovers in the booth simultaneously really brought out their characters and helped tie in the hilarity of the bustling lunchtime rush.”
Smarty (Smarty Mobile) - “Ready to Pair” - The Gate
Art director Rob Bovington Copywriter Steve Webley Producer Nick Angell Facility house Creative Outpost
The entry says:
“In 2023, The Gate launched SMARTY Mobile’s new brand platform, “LESS MALARKEY, MORE SMARTY”, to take a stand against the needless complexity in the world and advocate brilliant simplicity. We poke fun at the everyday moments of Malarkey that consumers face, whilst positioning SMARTY as the brand which Keeps Things Simple. In this case, a couple are trying to get intimate by playing romantic music, but they face a few moments of Malarkey when trying to connect to their smart speaker…”