When I was a kid, back in the ’90s (ok, the ’80s), radio was our connection with the big wide world. My siblings and I weren’t allowed to watch TV in case we became indoctrinated by all the advertising. The irony. The first thing my Dad would do when he got home from work, was to check the back of the Grundig* to see if it was warm – it just wasn’t worth the risk. Here’s an image so you can picture it, back when TVs were mobile (????).
But we had our cassette players and the Sunday highlight (second only to the roast dinner) was listening to the charts. We’d record (download) tracks from the radio. It was quite a challenge to hit both the record and play buttons simultaneously the second after the presenter had finished talking and stop before the ads kicked in (skipping ads). Those buttons were clunky and If you missed it there were no second chances and that was f***ing exciting. My sister and I would exchange cassettes (share content) across the landing.
This week, our task has been to produce a 30-second audio ad for Snickers. The very thought of it feels like I’ve been asked to create an aural assault. Even with the funniest, wittiest script, I don’t believe we could achieve something that anyone is actually going to want to listen to.
When I think of radio ads, I just can’t help but think of “oh eight hundred, double two, double one, double five”, the jingle, the guys’ voice. If anyone over the age of 40 remembers this number, what was the company? (Scroll down for the answer).
I remember the ads, but did I have a positive connection with the brand? I can only speak for myself here, and the answer is no! A company that forced me to remember their phone number is not getting my business.
For a laugh, I just tried the number and it’s no longer available – uhm, is there a missed opportunity for a company to use what is probably the most remembered UK phone number (emergency services aside) amongst Baby Boomers and Gen X?
In a recent masterclass, Rob brought to our attention that you can close your eyes (to avoid seeing something) but you can’t so easily close your ears, radio has that to its advantage.
So how do you create salient audio that people actually want to listen to? Ads that are talked about, for the right reasons?
My guess is that you make them funny (assuming that’s the right tone of voice for the brand/product). You make them sound like anything, but an ad. You use the voice-over of someone who is famous for the right reasons, or just a funny-sounding voice. You entertain first and foremost, you put on a show, your ad should enhance a radio show and show the listeners respect and gratitude for the fact that they are listening to you.