Cannes and Loerie Radio Lion Grand Prix winner and Net#work BBDO Creative Director Jenny Glover on giving radio the respect it deserves…
The phrase; What makes a great radio ad? has the effect of causing eye ticking and lip sweating. The thing is that every creative person worth their salt knows exactly what makes great radio.
So why all the bad radio then?
There’s a particular reason why radio has inherited a reputation for being the slag of all mediums. We give it unreasonable deadlines. It’s always rushed. We cram 60 seconds worth of content into 30 seconds, including a phone number and website, because as we know, listeners are camping out at the radio with a pen and paper, waiting to write out your phone number. We’ll even take a body copy from a print ad or flier and call it a radio script. Then we’ll get a really bad voice over, to deliver it in the most obnoxious style possible. There’s no love, no respect – we’re treating radio like a slag.
It, sadly, doesn’t end there. If there’s one thing that can kill great radio, it’s a client. They can be hemlock to great ideas. I do believe that years ago, there was a worldwide radio seminar that gave clients the magic formula for radio: pick a ridiculously unrealistic sounding announcer voice to read your print body copy then finish off with jazz or kwaito music. Hey presto! You’ve got yourself a radio ad.
Now, I wish we could place the blame solely on clients but alas, creatives are equally to blame.
You see, we can forgive clients for making bad radio. It’s not their job to push the envelope or challenge the medium. That’s our job. We’re the ones who need to guide them towards better radio.
And what do I mean by ‘better’ radio? Well, not every spot is an award-winning spot but every spot should be as good as it can be. Live reads can be well written and washing powder spots can have flawless production values. Stop treating radio like a slapper. Be kind to it. Show it some love. Create the kind of radio that you’re proud to put your name on – your real name.
If you want to wear the badge of Copywriter, work at it, which means you need to write and read a lot.
Creative Director, Net#work BBDO