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Cannes Lions 2006: India’s no-show at Radio Lions, experts say using medium for brand building missing

21-June-2006
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Cannes Lions 2006: India’s no-show at Radio Lions, experts say using medium for brand building missing

With the changes in the medium following the second phase of FM expansion in India, Radio has become a favourite subject with many media experts. The medium may be growing but is the creative input that goes behind the medium catching up? The jury at Cannes Lions 2006 doesn’t seem to think so. The jury nonetheless has some suggestions for the Indian creative fraternity on radio.

At the Cannes Lions 2006, India had only one shortlist in the Radio category – that of Rediffusion DY&R’s work for Chevrolet – and no wins. The 16-member jury was headed by Jury President Guillaume Van der Stighelen, Co-Founder, Duval Guillaume Brussels, Belgium. Replying as to why countries like India, who had made their creative presence felt in other mediums not won, Stighelen said, “The whole endeavour towards using the medium for brand building is missing. People should realise that radio is a friend and perhaps the only medium that qualifies being one.”

He further said, “People hear radio when they are alone, when they are driving – it is a background medium too, but when something interesting is said, Radio attracts attention. It is incredible what kind of a captive audience you can have with radio.”

Another point brought here by Brett Morris was, “Advertisers and creative agencies don’t realise the potential of radio and the role it plays in brand building. Most of the works we saw was tactical ads and promotions. Radio is more than that and that has to be understood. People should be more thematic with the medium and use it for brand messages.”

Jury members were unanimous in stating that the medium required craft and instinct and that the best ads were able to induce an element of surprise in it. Another point made was that humour played an over-riding role in many of the entries. “I think people are not bold enough to challenge the medium dramatically, and so we saw a lot of good ads being humorous,” said another jury member, Donna McCarthy.

One of the questions posed to the jury was whether award ceremonies played any role in encouraging good creativity in a medium like radio. To this Stighelen replied, “I think you underestimate the potential of an award. It is like a glass of water in a marathon that a player goes after and needs to be recharged for the next lap. Global award shows like these are needed to understand the importance of radio.”

For Stighelen, creative minds had a limited tool box for the radio medium. Humour, music and noises of just about any kind were available to them. They must use these with a great creative idea to reach out to the consumer and err by taking the medium deeply.

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