Rob McLennan who continues to spearhead Net#work BBDO’s drive to produce some of the best radio creative in SA – & the world,unpacks a few of the breakthrough radio campaigns that caught his ear, as well as their award-winning formula for producing some of the world’s best ads, time and time again…
Despite the notion that SA radio creative is sub-standard, we continue to haul the radio awards atlocal and international festivals such as Cannes. We caught up with Rob to get his views on the health of our South African radio industry and this is what he had to say;“South Africa has the best reputation for radio in the world! We’ve won Grand Prix Lions in both 2009 and 2011 – and all the Gold Lions in between.We’re always moaning about the standard of radio in our country, but when you hear it in context with the rest of the world, we really stand up and out”.
One of the lesser-known facts behind Net#workBBDO’s success on radio is that they have their own in-house studio called ‘FirstLeft’. It is this convenient location that allows for experimentation, crafting and pre-production, enabling them to audition hundreds of voices – not only locally, but worldwide on various scripts;
“The scripts are crafted and honed and we give them time. If you look at the guys in Brazil who do Dos Equis as an example, they get everybody in the agency to write two lines for a Dos Equis radio spot. This means they end up with nothing less than a 1000 scripts, which are then cut down to 200 – before they even think of going to client. And that’s the kind of stuff that wins”.
McLennan adds that the starting point is always a great, but simple idea, amazing production values observed and excellent script-writing, which if lacking, can really let a radio spot down;
“There are some incredible innovations on radio which is such an old medium.
- One of the campaigns which was awarded Gold this year was one in which when a car would pass a certain cross on the road, where somebody has been killed, your radio would be triggered into the voice of the person that has lost their life as well as how the accident happened.
- Also on the list was U.S. Hispanic agency LatinWorks which produced an ad promoting the ‘Cine Las Americas’, a Latin American film festival. For years, LatinWorks has done print and TV ads for the festival using genuine footage of real Latin American leaders saying ridiculous things; with the tagline ‘If this is our reality, imagine our films’. Each year, the agency adds a clever new twist and this year was no different. The radio spots were produced to sound like epic movie scenes, with all the special effects gradually omitted, leaving only the absurd but real words.
- There was also an entry for abused domestic workers/immigrants working in the Middle East. Interestingly, the radio spots were flighted as if for a fast food outlet. A voicewould then come through in the foreign language/dialect of these domestic workers, with a message to help them or to help them get help. Powerful stuff”.