Radio left on the shelf (again)

There was radio silence from the UK in that particular category at Cannes this year. The South African Grand Prix winning entry from Network BBDO Johannesburg, where a narrator talks about his girlfriend and slowly reveals disturbing details about the nature of their relationship, is laden with dark humour.


The judges noted a twisted sense of humour was a common theme among the winners. Which is why it’s odd that the UK, the cradle of black comedy, didn’t even make it to the shortlist, in stark contrast to the UK-studded shortlist that appeared for the Cyber Lions. We’re not alone though – most of Europe’s agencies have tuned out.


Every year after Cannes the same debate about why radio is being left on the shelf takes place. Most argue it boils down to one thing- the medium is simply not career enhancing for creatives in the way TV or digital can be, so why bother? Another factor may be that the craft of script writing isn’t an easy sell in an age obsessed with tech. The pen might be mightier than the sword, but it’s struggling against the social network.



 

 

 


 

  • Mark Barber

    You’re right, this has become a perennial challenge for radio and I suspect it is in some way linked to the fact that the radio part of the portfolio is rarely considered important when creatives are going for new jobs. Also, writing good radio ads is a real challenge that requires excellent copy skills – how many dedicated copywriters are coming in to the industry these days?
    But isn’t it about time we turned this debate around? It shouldn’t be about what is right for creatives – more about what is right for the consumers that brands are seeking to influence through marketing.
    And in this context, it’s important to understand that British consumers LOVE radio!
    With record levels of reach, radio is still the second most consumed medium after TV. It also plays a unique emotional support role for listeners when they are engaged in other activities, keeping them company in the car, getting ready for work, doing the housework, etc. Coupled with the emotional power of sound, this means that radio can exert huge influence on behalf of brands seeking to engage consumers.
    For more on this, watch out for the new RAB research we’re launching tomorrow morning.

  • Mark Barber

    You’re right, this has become a perennial challenge for radio and I suspect it is linked to the factors you suggest. The radio part of people’s portfolios is rarely considered vital when going for new jobs. In addition, writing good radio ads is more difficult than it looks, and requires excellent copy skills – and how many dedicated copywriters are entering the business nowadays?
    But isn’t it time we turned this debate around? Rather than what’s right for creatives, shouldn’t it be about what’s right for the consumers that brands are seeking to influence.
    And in this context, it’s important to establish that British people love radio.
    With record reach, radio is still the second most consumed medium after TV (IPA Touchpoints 3) and plays a unique emotional support role in people’s lives. When coupled with the emotional power of sound, radio’s role keeping people company when getting ready for work, driving to the shops, or doing the housework imbues the medium with considerable emotional influence for brands. And creates a great showcase for well-written and produced advertising (Cravendale being an excellent recent example if our opinion).
    RAB are launching new research tomorrow which explores the emotional influence of media, and radio in particular, in more detail.
    Let’s hope people take notice and really start to exploit this medium to its full creative potential for the benefit of their clients.

  • Simon Redican

    Mark Barber demonstrates why radio is a frequency medium

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