Intelligent approach + clarity = ideal radio ad

Jury Members of Golden Mikes 2013 throw light on the opportunities & challenges of radio advtg in India. Awards will take place on Jan 9 in Mumbai

e4m by Saloni Surti
Updated: Jan 8, 2013 1:47 AM
Intelligent approach + clarity = ideal radio ad

Some advertisements on radio keep you glued by painting a vivid picture. However, there other ads which are mere television repeats or announcements in fancy voices.

Though radio advertising has grown from what it was a few years ago, there are still certain chains that are holding back creativity on radio.

Jury Members for Golden Mikes 2012, an exchange4media initiative, throw light on the challenges, opportunities and way forward for radio in India.

Is radio advertising headed in the right direction?
“Yes and no. Yes, it is growing in the right direction because one sees a growing acceptance (at least in metros with growing FM reach) by marketers of radio’s reach and effectiveness. No, because we still see most creative agencies and marketers using the TVC audio track or print ad headline/copy as the content for the radio ad instead of investing in creative content designed for the media. This is most often, totally ineffective because of the very different nature of both the medium and the nature of its consumption,” said Abraham Alapatt, Marketing Head, Thomas Cook India.
To advertise on a medium that does not have the visual benefit is very difficult. It takes a lot of efforts to make up for the human sense of seeing that radio listeners are deprived off. Experts suggest rooted ideas that have capacity to explore and experiment can get the desired results for advertising on radio.

“The tried and tested – that’s what is holding radio back. To break through, one needs to challenge the limitations of radio. At this time, everything is running on a format. The format which has been successful in the west, but it’s not necessary what works for their market will work for us. Both the programmer and the advertiser need to experiment and be open to changes,” said Mantra, former RJ and television personality. 

While we speak about what are the factors radio players and advertisers need to work on, there have been glorious exceptions on the platform. Advertisements such as Rosy massage parlour and Strand bookstall campaigns used radio for what its strength is.

Rosy massage parlour advertisement invited listeners to call on the help line number of the parlour and select massages that suit them. However, on calling listeners were welcomed with the option of free AIDS test. Thus, the campaign targeted the right TG with the right kind of content. Strand bookstall, on the other hand, depicted conversations between children and famous personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Helen Keller. The conversations signified that kids are friends with these personalities through their books, thus encouraging kids to make books their friends. 

Intelligent approach
What is that advertising on radio requires to break through the non-visual and impassive medium?

“Radio is one of the most mobile medium and thus creatives need to have an intelligent approach towards it. A lot of time radio advertisements are really loud, screaming for attention – not something someone driving prefers. Radio advertisements need to be subtle and not reactive,” said veteran actress Meeta Vashisht. 

A change in approach is something radio players and creatives can benefit from right now. Radio demands a focussed creative approach that takes the core brand/campaign thought and fuses it harmoniously using the advantages and disadvantages of the medium and the challenges posed by the nature of its consumption (usually in the car/train/while walking, etc.) to make it work, explained Alapatt.

“Focus is key to good radio. This is not the time or the place to start throwing five or six different ideas at the listener in the hope that they’ll pick up on all of them. Most of the time people are driving when they're listening to radio, so their attention is already dedicated to the road,” said Sandipan Ghosh, Assistant Vice President, Marketing, Ruchi Soya Industries.

The fact that radio is a mobile medium changes a lot for it. Advertising on radio requires a new and intelligent approach, a big idea and focus that can pull the attention of the person who might be engaged in something else. With differentiated content, radio is in the process of building appointment listening; however, till then creatives need to focus on how they can make the best out of radio, while it plays the role of a companion on the move.

Golden Mikes 2012 Awards will be given away on January 9, 2013 in Mumbai.

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