With findings of the ILT study, which reveals that the base for radio could well exceed the reach of print in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, brand custodians are a lot more assured than they used to be. On their part, creative folks are a lot more adventurous with the pen and carve out neat radio scripts.
For instance, the VIP X collection made quite a mark, with the naughty nurse ad. Repeated rings of "Doctor, can I give him a sponge bath?" may have sounded crude or crass to some, but it did spell the message across in a witty yet obtuse way. Social niceties and morals aside, let's face it, the commercial does inspire recall.
Or the hilarious Clorets 'Bilkul' commercial where a kiddo is kidnapped, and when the extortionist speaks to daddie, daddie's perfectly chilled out just as he's high on Clorets.
Or for that matter the Shah Rukh Khan/Saif Ali Khan Knock Knock commercial for Clinic All Clear. Thak Thak? Who's there? Dandruff. Dandruff who? And the tale goes on. Make a note - it's not the punch-line that works for this ad, rather it's the all-too-perfect mimicry that strikes the right chemistry with the listeners.
Some other memorable radio commercials have been the Nokia commercials (executed by O&M using mother-son bond as theme), Vox Pop commercials done by Mid-Day featuring the real chaiwaala, the office accountant etc. and the Apollo Tires series on 'Free Warranty' commercial wherein RJ Rana does a Haryana Jat charade in order to plug in the brand.
Sumantra Dutta, former COO of Radio City, said, "Some years back, all that you had in the name of radio advertising was Tandarusti Ki Raksha Karta Hai Lifebouy. Now, radio advertising is getting bolder by the day with carefully worded scripts, brilliantly executed situations, the right strategy etc. Though the quality of the commercials has gone up by notches, FMCG companies still continue to bank wholly on television. In light of the fact that in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, radio stations have a far greater reach than print, companies ought to partner with their respective agencies in executing well strategised radio commercials but that's seldom the case."
He added, "The best thing about this medium is that it's easy on the pockets, easy to execute and effective. Marketers can customise their commercials, according to the markets, since cost of production is extremely low. FMCG brands ought to wake up to this elementary fact, and be a lot more pro-active on the radio front."
Meanwhile, Shariq Patel, Station Head, Go 92.5 asserted, "A brilliantly executed radio commercial is the Clinic All Clear Saif Ali Khan-Shah Rukh Khan ad. The brand could have pasted the Shahid Kapoor television ad on to radio, but it preferred to execute a separate segment -- a mimicry session that has the capacity to leave you in splits. Radio ads are getting more innovative by the day. You have well devised ideas and superbly executed situations. We might be coaxing you to buy our product, but we seek to entertain while we are at it."
However, R Balakrishnan, National Creative Director (Lowe India), painted a different picture. Balki said, "In the multitude of radio ads, you barely have a handful which come under the category of 'good advertising. The quick fix solution seems to be let's do a Sholay spoof or a bad imitation of 'Mona Darling' or even worse, a Shah Rukh stutter act. Youngsters who work on radio commercials need to understand that there is a target audience that you are reaching out to and you have to execute the radio commercial on the basis of a pre-conceived and a well strategised idea. You can't just pull a rabbit out of a hat, and label it as radio advertising."
Balki added, "Radio is definitely going somewhere in this country. But are we fostering the growth of this medium with apt creative solutions?"
All questions on creativity or the lack of it would certainly culminate on April 22, 2005 (the Mirchi Kaan Awards night), which would see a plethora of radio entries vying against each other across categories. An awards ceremony, just to honour the best in radio, it's a certainly a first of the kind initiative by any radio station.