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Why the power still lies with cross-channel creativity

How taking one idea everywhere is still advertising's Holy Grail... despite what the Cannes Lions think

Barrett..."radio reinforces messages from other media in a close listener relationship"
Barrett..."radio reinforces messages from other media in a close listener relationship"

This year in Cannes much was made of craft or social influence of campaigns, but given Cannes Lions’ decision to retire the Integrated Lions category, you might believe that assimilating ads across different channels is no longer important.

This feels a strange choice when previous Integrated Gold Lions winners include amazing work for Channel 4 Paralympics, and Burger King’s McWhopper. US mobile retailer Boost won last year’s Integrated Grand Prix for its political campaign that turned shops into polling stations. All are masterclasses in integration, showing how a big idea can be stretched across different media because of its creative power.

A great integrated campaign really is still considered the Holy Grail of advertising. Taking one idea across multiple channels has been responsible for the majority of the most famous ads of all time.

Integrated campaigns help spread messaging efficiently across media and build brand effectiveness. They allow audiences to quickly identify brands and improve understanding of the message. 

Striking the right note
Music is a powerful means of building creative synergies between TV and radio ads, making the most of tight budgets. If a brand uses an easily recognisable piece of music in a TV ad, playing just a few bars of it in a radio ad helps listeners recognise the brand instantly. Part of the power of music is the familiarity principle. It is at our core to gravitate towards things that are familiar, and this is true of advertising too.

But music can also be used to implicitly communicate meaning about a brand. Radiocentre’s Strike a Chord research used semiotics to demonstrate how music works at a subtle level to unlock emotional responses.

Recent analysis of radio-campaign returns from Ebiquity’s ROI database reveals that creative synergies between TV and radio ads give a huge boost to return on investment. A campaign using matched scripts and audio across TV and radio ads boosted ROI by 500% compared with ads that had no match between treatments. This attests to one of radio’s great advantages for advertisers – it reinforces messages from other media in a close and personal relationship with the listener.

Further evidence of the power of integration comes from 10 years of Radiogauge research, which assesses the creative effectiveness of radio campaigns against the Five ‘I’s: involvement, identity, impression, information and integration. Data aggregated from more than 7000 campaigns measured demonstrates that the most effective radio campaigns have consistency at their heart: of creative idea, audio branding, voiceover and music. Radiogauge continues to be used to analyse campaigns that use integrated thinking to forge creative synergies between TV and radio ads. A recent example of an ad that scored very highly was The AA’s "Singing baby" campaign, which used the Ike and Tina Turner song Proud Mary as an identifier, helping it to stand out both on TV and radio.

Cross-channel appeal
La Croisette will be buzzing this year with talk of the craft, art and process that are the lifeblood of great ads and effectiveness. But a truly great creative idea should be strong enough to work on TV, radio, in print or online. So while Cannes Lions shrugs off the Integration category, back in the UK we’d recommend more energy being put into exploring how campaigns can use the power of integrated creativity. Bolstering your client’s ad effectiveness surely outweighs the prospect of carrying another Lion home.

Clear reception

  • 36 million commercial radio listeners tune in every week, the biggest audience ever

  • Two hours The average amount of time each listener spends listening to commercial radio every day

  • £7.70 Average revenue ROI for every advertising pound spent on radio

  • 9% Increase in radio profi t ROI over the past 10 years

  • 20% The optimum radio budget allocation to maximise overall campaign ROI