Thursday, 9 December 2010

You know what ? I am going to come out of the closet and tell everyone something that I have kept quiet about for many years.

I LOATHE ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

There. It’s off my chest and I feel a darn sight better for revealing my dirty little secret.

It feels like the whole world loves this show. But to me, just one note of a Cha Cha Cha or a glimpse of a sequin outfit adorning someone coated with orange fake tan makes me, cringe.

‘Strictly’ is one of many TV shows that uses celebrities to entertain us. On top of that, magazines like ‘Hello !’, ‘OK’ and ‘Heat’ publish millions of words about who’s doing what, with whom and where. Celebrity and everything that surrounds it is a huge industry and the public just can’t get enough of it.

All this makes me think that perhaps some radio advertisers are missing out on a trick. There are very few ‘celebrity’ brands on the air. By this, I mean local or regional advertisers taking an offering (be it a brand or a service) and creating a campaign that turns an ordinary company into a hugely popular icon.

Think about it. A business, product or service that everyone wants to be near or to be seen in. What if radio Commercial Producers and advertisers could work together to create something that when broadcast, emanates an amazing glow. Listeners hang on to every word, they feel compelled to respond when a new product, service or offering is broadcast. And when they deal with the company, every expectation is exceeded.

There are numerous international brands that are already doing this. Apple are doing an amazing job. Jimmy Choo with their to-die-for shoes. Virgin too. And although there are some local and regional radio advertisers adoring the crowds, I think there’s a lot of room for more to jump on the bandwagon.

Crunching it down, Apple make computers. They are well-made and work well. Jimmy Choo make attractive shoes and amongst other things, Virgin put you on aeroplanes and fly you somewhere. That’s it. But what helps to give them the iconic status is the way the offering is framed. If you’ve seen the Virgin Airlines ‘Still Red Hot’ TV commercial (the one with the group of beautiful Virgin hostesses walking through a 1980’s air terminal to the music of Frankie Goes to Hollywood), you’ll see how well framing can work. I am in the genuine belief that local and regional radio advertisers could do the same thing albeit for a smaller budget.

Helping an advertiser to achieve celebrity status isn’t something that will happen overnight. But if more brands could make listeners feel they are part of something special or perhaps God-like, then everyone is onto a winner.

John Calvert.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

So what does it all mean ?

It doesn’t take you much to work out that the world of advertising is almost a parallel universe. Things appear to be the same, but there are some subtle differences. Take the chocolate manufacturer Lindor. Their current commercial opens with the line “Do you dream in chocolate ?”. At face value, the line feels OK until you actually analyse it. What the bloody hell does “Do you dream in chocolate” actually mean ? And if that isn’t odd enough, have you heard Wilkinson Sword’s “Free your skin” line ? Again on the face of it, nothing appears to be unusual. But in reality, it’s a line that doesn’t make any sense at all.

Quite often, advertising cleverly throws us into worlds that simply don’t exist. But human beings have the nasty habit of suspending their belief and accepting what they see and feel as real. What I am talking about is nothing to do with my recent article in which some advertisers try and pull the wool over our eyes. No, I am talking about the scenarios that are created to show a brand in the best possible light.

Last night I saw a TV commercial for Ferrero Rocher. It tells the story of some gods noshing on some confectionary in Heaven. One of them drops a wrapper, it falls down to earth and we mere mortals discover the special secret. Oh come on. As if gods eat Ferrero Rocher ! This ad is one of the follow ups to the ‘Ambassador’s Party’ commercial where a woman says “Mr Ambassador, you are really spoiling us” and the voiceover proclaims “Ferrero Rocher, a sign of good taste”. Again, when the penny drops you realise what crazy, unreal scenarios they both are, but in fact these commercials are actually sending out incredibly powerful messages. Although Ferrero Rocher is dirt cheap to buy, the brand is positioning itself as a treat...Something special and very rare. And we all know that if something is rare, it is highly sought after.

Here are a couple more examples: Pierce Brosnan and Omega watches. It’s a winning combination. Smart, elegant watches being worn by a handsome ‘action man’ kind of guy. But think about it a little more and you suddenly realise that good time-keeping actually has nothing to do with a bloke who acts. Martini: For many years, we encountered advertising that showed gorgeous and attractive people living the high life in exotic destinations. But again, what has your alcohol consumption got to do with attractive people ? The answer is: It has everything to do with them. Without these powerful associations, the watch is just a chunk of metal and the drink is merely flavoured water infused with alcohol.

These ‘associations’ and many others are the mainstay of advertising today. Yet when it comes to local and regional radio advertising, many advertisers are failing to play this card. There’s just too much local radio advertising around that fails to put the product or service under any kind of spotlight at all. Lack of positioning and zero aspiration will leave the listener feeling completely neutral. People buy products and services because they want them, they will not be sold on something just because it’s half price or whatever. By making that parallel universe appear real, your advertiser’s products and services will take on a whole new meaning.

John Calvert.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Advertise at Christmas, feel the benefit all year round.

“Hi Dick, how’s business ? We’ve got the Christmas shopping season coming up. Just wondering whether you need a radio commercial to reflect this” said my email.

Dick replied: “Hi John. Sorry we are so busy the last thing we need is more business”.

I didn’t know whether to take that reply as a complement or not !

I recall in my earlier years of being in the radio advertising business, Christmas was a big thing. At this time of year, we’d dust off the Christmas library music albums and pretty much every commercial we made had a seasonal feel to them.

Nowadays, advertiser’s appetites for promoting their goods at Christmas has lessened considerably. Folks such as M&S still do their celebrity-packed campaigns, but on a local and regional level, the amount of Christmas campaigns does not appear to match what went on in the eighties and 90’s. And this is not because of the recession either. I and many other proddies have noticed that over the years, we don’t make as many Christmas radio adverts as we used to.

At a networking event, one business owner said to me. “Christmas is a dead cert. It’s not a one-off event. It happens every year, the public know what to do and they will come to my store and shop. There is no need to advertise at Christmas.”

I understand the theory of what he is saying. Christmas and everything it stands for happens by default and in many ways, people are ‘programmed’ to buy gifts for each other. But if I was his main competitor eavesdropping on that conversation, I would have been on the phone to my radio station representative to book a hearty campaign with the deliberate aim of increasing my market share.

In my view, Christmas is the perfect time to present your brand in a brilliant light. In December, pretty much everyone rides on a wave of happiness, excitement, anticipation and fun. In fact, many people find the build up to Christmas better than the actual day itself ! Sceptical business owners should realise 2 things.

1: By helping to create those waves of excitement, happiness or whatever, people will associate those feelings with your brand. Remember the epic Christmas ads from Woolworths ? When those went to air, we all knew Christmas was here. “Woolworths is Christmas” was a line they once used. (My company did the jingle for it) And at the time, it couldn’t be more true. This year, when ‘The X Factor’ came back to our screens, Facebook status updates all over the land proclaimed “Christmas is on it’s way”.

2: Even if you’re busy and can’t take on any more work, advertise anyway. If you don’t want to sell goods or services, use the season to sell your brand. Generally, most folks are in an emotionally good place at Christmas, so use the season to make friends with them.

On December 26th Christmas will be gone, but tens of thousands of businesses will still need customers to keep them going until December comes round again. By being on the radio and associating yourself with the hype, you can do no wrong.

John Calvert

Friday, 29 October 2010

Currently, the media seems to love publishing news about advertising complaints. In the last few days, 3 complaints have caught my eye.

First up, Waitrose: The squeaky clean supermarket chain suffered it’s first ban over an ad talking about ‘outdoor bred’ pigs. According to Brand Republic, people complained about the TV ads, both of which featured celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal talking to farmers about livestock. Blumenthal appears outdoors with the pigs from the farm and says "In my opinion, some of the best-tasting pork comes from British pigs that have been outdoor bred, just like these porkers from Norfolk".

Complainants argued that the ads misleadingly implied that Waitrose pork came from pigs that spent the duration of their lives outdoors, whereas in reality they were reared indoors.

Waitrose countered that the ads stipulated that the pigs were "outdoor bred", arguing that it was a standard term that had become widely used and that consumers would be able to differentiate its meaning from "outdoor reared".

Then there is a Kodak ad that rival brand HP complained about. Brand Republic said the ads aimed to attract customers by promoting savings on Kodak printer ink.
The press ad proclaimed: "Switch to a Kodak all-in-one printer and you’ll save an average of £75 a year on ink."

But HP argued that the ads were misleading and questioned whether they could be substantiated.

Kodak responded by saying that its claim was based on a number of leading industry studies on home printing and small office printing – its claim was backed up by Clearcast, which vets TV ads before they are aired. But the advertising watchdog ruled in favour of HP on most counts, supporting its argument by concluding that the "1,500 pages" did not represent "a reasonable yearly print volume for most UK inkjet printer users". There were radio adverts too. They were allowed to be broadcast providing the claim was clarified more.

The Independent recently published a story about a radio ad for Ann Summers having "fairly overt sexual references in terms of sound effects". In this case, the Independent says the RACC ‘Blocked’ the ad, so I am wondering if the ad was actually made in the first case. If it was or wasn’t, Anne Summers will be no doubt be enjoying the publicity.

I am often surprised how few people it takes to get something withdrawn from transmission. The Waitrose ad would have been seen by millions of people, yet it took just four complaints to get the ad pulled. Yet this isn’t unusual. Sometimes I look at adjudications on complained-about ads and it’s not very often you see hundreds of people complaining about a single commercial.

So is it a case of do-gooders with too much time on their hands or are they right ? In my view, if something is blatantly wrong or misleading then it should not be broadcast. Having said that, the public are incredibly media savvy. In the ‘Watchdog Age’ we are living in, we have to accept some advertisers will always try and pull the wool over our eyes with puffery. That’s what advertising is and what it always be.

That’s why I’ll always prefer radio to TV. With radio, exaggerated claims are always very detectable. On TV, the real story is hidden with hard-to-see small print such as: ‘Enhanced in post production’, ‘Styled with natural extensions’, ‘141 women agree’. The list goes on.

In the past, I have complained about radio ads that I feel don’t stick to the rules. As a Commercial Producer, I consider that everyone should play on a level field and if someone is trying to get the upper hand by not sticking to the rules, their ad should be examined. But here are a couple of thoughts: The complaints procedure can sometimes take a while to reach it’s decision. That means the ad in question has the ability to run the length of it’s full campaign before being withdrawn from broadcast.

The other thing to consider is the publicity a banned ad can receive. Sometimes banning an ad will actually give it MORE exposure. So what’s the point of withdrawing it in the first place ?

With many brands wanting to get the upper hand during these tough times, they will want to stretch the rules as far as possible. I sincerely believe you don’t need underhand tactics to sell products and services. If the product or service is good in the first place, then it will sell itself.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Friday, 1 October 2010

Airforce makes sure world-famous town is full of Christmas Spirit!

Christmas can never come too early for some companies and Calne-based radio commercial and jingle production company, Airforce, is delighted to announce today that they are the official 2010 sponsors of the Wotton Bassett Christmas Trees.

The trees that are erected in the town each year have been hand-picked and felled by Longleat’s Head Forester, Rodney Garton from the 4,500 acres of forest on the stunning Longleat Estate. It is because of this carefully selected procedure that Wotton Bassett receive an abundance of compliments for their Christmas trees and Airforce are privileged to become the sponsor of the two main trees.

Managing Director of Airforce, John Calvert, commented: “Wootton Bassett has the respect of millions of British people and I am thrilled that Airforce has been given the opportunity to sponsor the two mighty Christmas trees that will be positioned in the centre of the town. Our business is only a short distance to Wootton Bassett and I can’t wait to see the trees helping to light up the town during the festive season.”

Sue Doyle, Chair of the Amenities Committee for Wootton Bassett Town Council, commented: “The Christmas trees in the High Street, in place from the beginning of December, are a really important feature of the festive season in Wootton Bassett. We are very pleased to have this new sponsorship of the trees to enable us to continue to decorate the High Street. It all adds to the atmosphere as we all prepare for Christmas.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

How much IS an idea worth ?

When you're creating radio adverts, how much is a good idea actually worth ?

If you’re a Commercial Producer, chances are this has happened to you...

Mr Client is a regular advertiser on the radio. For the last year or so, he’s been on the radio with a bog-standard ad which by now really is wearing thin. The station Sales Exec quite rightly says to Mr Client that he really should start investing in more in creative in order to have a stronger brand on air.

Mr Client agrees to a briefing session. It’s highly productive. Mr Client opens up his heart and you discover some Golden Nuggets that you and the Sales Exec never knew.

The meeting ends with everyone feeling positive and incredibly optimistic.

10 days later, you present your Killer Creative Strategy to Mr Client. Mr Client is thrilled. “How Much to get this all made ?” he asks.

You tell him and then...

“£xxxx for THAT ?!” He chokes. “I mean it’s just a few words, a bit of music and a couple of voices, no way. You’ll need to seriously sharpen your pencil.”

Then there’s this scenario....

Ms Client is interested in adopting a completely brand new sound. The briefing session is highly productive and when the idea is presented a week or so later, Ms Client is delighted. You quote the price and she says it needs to be signed off by the MD. The meeting ends and you expect to hear from the client in a day or so.

It all then goes a bit quiet. You call Ms Client and she tells you she still wants to advertise on the radio, but she’s found someone who will do the creative for a lot less.

You put the phone down and the swearing begins.

As Radio Commercial Producers, we’ve all encountered enormously frustrating scenarios when clients love the idea, but don’t appreciate the investment that needs to be made to make everything sound fabulous. So what’s going wrong ?

First, we have to accept there are lots of clients who are just simply timewasters. They love the attention they are getting, but will simply not put their money where their mouths are.

Those people aside, I believe a distinction needs to be made between the value of an idea and the value of executing it. In my belief, the value of the execution will be justified in the value of the idea is clearly justified.

We all have ideas. You don’t need to be a creative person to have ideas. Right now, billions of people are having an idea. And with so many rattling around the place, it could be said they are worth zilch UNLESS the client feels there is some value in it. That means before presenting the idea to the client, there needs to some well crafted preamble. Imagine the moment when top agency man Trevor Beattie presented the fashion Chain French Connection the now notorious ‘FCUK’ idea ? None of us were there, so my assumption of what happened is speculative. But I reckon he didn’t sit there and just hand over a logo and say “Clever eh ? See what we’ve done ? Nudge nudge ?” There would have been a meticulously crafted process in order to 100% justify the concept to French Connection’s chairman Stephen Marks.
In an interview on, Beattie is reported to have said "People too often misunderstand branding. This campaign has no logo but it is still branded: branding is in the DNA of what we have done."

I completely get what he means. The whole concept isn’t just about cheekily-constructed 4 letters and that is why it is worth so much.

Who knows what effect the government cuts are going to have on the economy. But no matter how tough it gets, the public will still need to buy beds, cars, TV’s, food, services or whatever. Advertisers will therefore have to understand that in order to touch the hearts of those who do have the money to spend, they’ll have to dig deeper in their pockets. For those of us who are tasked to devise the Big Idea, by golly we’ll need to come up with the perfect justification for the investment.
As I heard one radio sales person say once: “It’s a catchy tune isn’t it ? Yours for £2000”.

Come on, you'll have to try harder than that.

John Calvert.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Get noticed ! Rebrand !

The amount of mileage I’m doing at the moment has been pretty high. I can’t complain, mileage means someone is wanting to see me about making them some radio commercials !

On my journeys, there’s one thing I have noticed: An apparent increase in the amount of delivery lorries with the name ‘Wilkinson’ written on them. In recent times, Wilkinson has been going through a significant rebranding process. Gone are the sharp italicised fonts and in are softer more curved ‘homely-shaped’ contemporary letters. The same goes with their lorries: Huge, fun and incredibly colourful photographs now adorn the vehicles.

So is it because there are more lorries on the road or is it because the rebrand has just drawn my attention to something that has always been there ? I have to assume the latter. To be honest, Wilkinsons has never been a favoured shopping destination for me, but the new look isn’t half helping to change my perception of the brand.

This new awareness of an existing brand has co-incidentally occurred at the same time when two rebrand briefs landed on my desk. In both cases, both the clients involved are simply getting bored with their on-air image.

“We’re like wallpaper” one of the clients told me. “Sticking with the same sound for all these years initially gave us consistency, but now we’ve got a lot of catching up to do simply because we failed to evolve. People just don’t ‘see’ us anymore”.

The other client told me “We’ve lost our way. Our press looks good, our poster advertising looks good, but our radio: Ugh. We’re throwing all kinds of ideas at the wall to see what sticks. And so far, nothing is.”

When clients get bored with their image, they’ll get bored with their advertising. The less inspirational their advertising gets, the less they’ll spend on it. Which is bad news for everyone concerned. My thought is that we should do as much as we can to not let our clients get bored with what they have. This week, I’m having a catch-up meeting with a client whom I have had for about 3 years. The client hasn’t asked for it, neither is he expecting it, but I will be bringing some new ideas along to re-energise and put a new perspective to the format we are currently using. My hunch is that the idea will be a tads too brave for the client and much of the material won’t be used. But that doesn’t concern me. What it will do is start the thought process well before the sound gets too tired and the client has to invest significant sums to catch up.

Another thing I saw on my travels this week: On the M3, I spotted a car emblazoned with the sign: “Earn at least £3000 a week by working from home. The proven way to gain great wealth by running your own business”.

I would have had more faith in the sign if it wasn’t emblazoned on an X-reg Peugeot.

Complete proof that a strong advertising message will be completely ruined if the environment it is placed on is completely contradictory.

John Calvert. Airforce.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Trust the experts....PLEASE !

Every Commercial Producer has a client that won’t listen to your recommendations.

You know who yours is: That client who thinks they know more about radio advertising than you do....

That client who thinks the audience WILL remember his 2 phone numbers....

That client who thinks the more annoying the commercial, the better results he’ll get.

That client who believes that filling an ad with wall-to-wall words makes his advertising spend go further.

Last week was a great week for Airforce. We made some great stuff and the clients were all happy. Then came the cloud on the horizon. My ‘Won’t Listen’ client rang me and asked for a last-minute ad to promote a sale. The script was duly drafted, approved and recorded.

Knowing the client likes a bit of passion in his ads, the voice cranked himself up and delivered an enthusiastic read.

10 minutes later, the client rang and said “The ad isn’t selly enough. I need the voice to really shout the offers”.

“Shout ?” I asked.

“Yeah, I want to make sure people really hear this”.

I pointed out to the client that the louder you are, the quieter you’ll be.

“I don’t get it”. Said the client.

I explained that people hate being shouted at. If an ad is perceptively louder because of raised voices or over-processing in the final mix, listeners will actually turn down the radio in order for their ears to distance themselves from the audio.

“Well...Could it be done in a way that makes it loud, but people won’t turn it
down ?” He asked.

Give me strength. Radio advertising isn’t exactly a new medium. You’d think that many advertisers would have got to grips with it’s strengths and weaknesses by now.

And let’s not forget advertisers are listeners too. Aren’t they put off by all the crap stuff ? They probably are, but they probably believe that their loud and/or irritating ads are somehow more interesting and therefore the audience will be happier to listen to them.

So how do we help these people see the light ? I’ve often thought that a few fun station promos would help. I remember many years ago, Capital found itself broadcasting a large number of client-read ads. (For those of us who are old enough, remember the Freddie Barrett Liquor Store ads ?) So they created a promo focussing on how dire advertisers could sound if they didn’t employ professional voices. It was funny to listen to if you weren’t involved in the radio business, but it also made advertisers incredibly aware of how stupid they would sound if they voiced their own ads.

We all know that in order to create a belief, all you need to do is tell someone something lots of times. Radio stations can help themselves by broadcasting fun yet informative promos that outline what makes a great radio ad. Over time, not only will they promote the benefits of radio advertising as a whole, but they could make advertisers who insist on misbehaving on air feel very silly indeed.

John Calvert.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

How long will you decide to stay in the industry ?

Firstly, many thanks to Paul Easton’s Facebook update for directing me to a small article on Media UK. It caught my eye because it was about why certain people in the radio industry choose to leave it to work in a completely different industry.

In the Commercial Production arm of radio, the exodus has been massive. Scriptwriters and producers have left in their droves to join radio stations in America, South Africa and Australia. Many have joined advertising agencies, have set up their own production companies, become voice artists or sadly decided to leave the industry altogether to become amongst other things Postmen, Landlords, TV Directors, Aeroplane Managers, Web Site Designers and even Vicars.

I had worked in Commercial Radio for about 13 years when I decided to leave to work for an independent production company. In the latter years of my time in radio, I had the feeling that I couldn’t actually go any further in Commercial Production. This was at the beginning of the period of the big station mergers. With the implementation of a new MD at my station, the attitude towards Com Prod changed. Like many stations, finance managers started wondering whether they actually needed a Commercial Production department. This was when I decided it was time to look elsewhere. Alan Bell (another highly-talented radio sales professional and creative person who left radio to set up Airforce and other companies) invited me to leave radio and work for Airforce.

A few years later, I acquired the company and luckily, monotony hasn’t loomed it’s ugly head and I still feel as excited as I was on my first day of joining Airforce.

In commercial radio however, I still hear stories from a few highly-talented individuals that they are not happy bunnies. Many join stations as Commercial Producers, but as time evolves and the stations go from owner to owner they are given tasks that have nothing to do with making great radio ads.

I am not saying we should mollycoddle Commercial Producers or indeed anyone else in the radio industry and give them the freedom to do anything they want. There has to be structure. But I wonder what radio would be like today if all those talented people who left to pursue other careers hadn’t left.

Would the girl who became a vicar be a major source of inspiration to a station’s
advertisers ?

Would the guy who became a TV Director be one of the most in-demand producers in the country ?

Would the man who became the Landlord be a great manager ?

Would the person who became the Aeroplane Manager be able to take his clients to new heights ?

Forgive me for the naff pun on the last one there. But I hope you get the point. The Commercial Production industry is losing too many great people to other professions.
I would love to talk to all those who have left and find out what it was that made them decide to leave. What was it that made them think “I want out” ?

Hunch tells me it would be one word: ‘Frustration.’ Commercial Producers are slightly different. Making radio ads isn’t enough. To keep a Commercial Producer happy, motivated and inspired it means feeding them with great briefs. And let’s face it, with the regular selling of radio advertising packages that provide clients with a bog-standard commercial as part of the deal, that is not going to encourage a Proddie to stick around for the long term.

Friday, 28 May 2010

How much should a radio advert cost ?

I was having a bit of a nostalgic trip looking through some memorabilia from the days when I worked at Essex FM in the late 1980’s. I was a part of the original ‘Creative Team’, a department set up to help the station’s advertisers adopt great radio commercials for it’s advertisers. At the time Metro FM’s commercial production department was very well-known for it’s quality, award winning output and the management of Essex FM wanted The Creative Team to be just as successful.

It was an extremely exciting time. Essex FM invested in some superb studio facilities and staff and it wasn’t long until the revenues rocketed and the walls became adorned with award certificates.

My nostalgic trip included finding an old production rate card from October 1988. I thought I would share some of the charges with you.

For a basic one-voice radio commercial with or without library music: £85.00

Each extra commercial made in the same session as above: £65.00

Sound effects each: £10.00

Each additional voice: £20.00.

Naturally, voice over fees were considerably lower in those days. But strangely enough, 22 years later there are some individuals now charging less than £85 to make a radio ad. OK, the kit needed to create a radio ad has changed massively over the years, but how on earth does a business/individual survive charging these kinds of fees ? AND what kind of commercial are you going to get for this kind of money ?

In addition to these low costs, I know for a fact that some radio stations are massively subsidising their client’s commercial production costs just to get them signed up on air. On one occasion, I was in a meeting with a prospective client who told me he was paying a tads under £200 for a 2 voice commercial that was running on about 8 radio stations. If you know the minimum Equity ISDN rate for a standard sized radio station, do the maths now. On another occasion, I heard a radio station offering a client as many commercials as he wanted for less than £300.

It may feel a good incentive to dangle a carrot or two in front of a prospective client, but this kind of practice will inevitably cause problems in the future. A radio station simply cannot sustain charging these prices for ever. In the future, when the station wants to start charging ‘proper’ money for commercial production, the client, who is used to paying low costs is going to get mightily pissed off and dig his heels in.

Not only that, the whole value and quality of commercial production will go down the plug hole. The Radio Commercial is the jewel in the crown of radio advertising. It is the most vital component the whole process, yet it’s importance is being diminished for the sake of undercutting someone else. I’ve been in this business for coming up to 30 years and believe me, on so many levels, cut-price commercial production never ever works.

But undercharging is just one part of the story. In recent weeks, my company Airforce has picked up a number of briefs because the client has been presented creative that’s way too expensive.

Sure, I accept initial ‘set up’ prices like music composition will involve sending out a higher-than-normal invoice and most clients accept that. But when you go in with something that goes beyond that, the shine on the presented concept starts to fade. In a recent meeting a client said to me words to the effect of: “I loved the idea the station presented, it was terrific. But the margin on the products I sell are very low. I would have to sell hundreds of XXXXX’s to recoup the investment I had made in production and airtime. And even if radio was successful, I would never recoup my money”

I had a look at the concept that was presented and yes it was a good idea. But obviously no thought or research had been put into the market sector the client was in. My company subsequently won the production gig because I was asking for nearly half the price for a creative strategy that was more appropriate to the scale of the client’s business and objectives.

Last week, the same thing happened again. Twice. But in all cases, there was no undercutting, it was just a matter of being realistic.

I think most clients understand the value of commercial production and are willing to pay for something good. Many brands and commercial producers people have been very successful by adopting this model. But selling production for little-to-no profit, below cost price or presenting something that’s way too big ? How does that help everyone involved ? And what’s the point of doing it ?

John Calvert.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On !

I was watching an item on ‘The One Show’ recently about the history of a wonderful government morale-boosting poster that simply says ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. Apparently the poster was going to be put in the public domain if Germany invaded England. But because that never happened, every poster was destroyed at the end of the war.

Fast forward many years, a book seller finds the poster in a dusty old pile and is now making a pile by merchandising it !

I adore the clarity of the line. It is simple yet powerful. It is fluid, has no lumpiness and neither can it be mis-enterpreted. In a strange way, the line is vague. But it is it’s vagueness that makes the line feel relevant to everyone who encounters it.

Perhaps that’s why today in our unstable world, people can connect with the ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ line. It is, in effect a perfect strap line. It also reminds us that simplicity is the best way to drive a message home. My last article praised the current John Lewis campaign, but to be honest I have never got my brain round the ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ line. I’m not the only one either. In a completely unscientific survey, I asked a few mates what they felt it meant. Everyone either struggled with explaining it or had to think for a while before saying what they felt it meant. Is it me, but wouldn’t the line be better if it said ‘Never Knowingly Oversold’ ?

A great strap line should not only embody what the brand is all about or means, it shouldn’t require any degree of thinking. Mars ‘Work Rest Play’, Motel 6’s ‘We’ll Leave the Light On’, Martini’s ‘Any Time Any Place Anywhere’, BMW’s ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’. These lines (and many others) are easily comprehended, tight and position the brand beautifully. So why do so many local radio advertisers prefer to adopt some old bollocks that talks about friendly service, free advice and low
prices ? Ah well...

I couldn’t make Vox 2010. But from the pictures and status updates posted on Facebook, it was a good one. Vox has made me think about how Commercial Producers actually communicate with each other. Of course there are a few websites and/or forums for proddies to exchange views, but I am wondering if there is any mileage in creating some kind of national association ? When my company Airforce made TV commercials, we were members of an organisation called ‘PACT’ – the Producer’s Alliance for Cinema & Television’. Our membership was incredibly useful and at times, inspirational . So I am wondering if some sort of association for Radio Commercial Producers would be of any use ?

The commercial production industry appears to keep itself to itself, but it still needs to look after itself to ensure it has a healthy future. By joining together, sharing views, creating goals, minimum standards and above all: looking after each other in my view would do nothing but good for our industry.
Who’s up for looking into this with me ?

John Calvert. Airforce. For Radio Commercial & Radio Advert production, visit

Friday, 30 April 2010

Framing Your Message

Some of my Facebook Friends are somewhat cock-a-hoop about the current John Lewis TV commercial. One of them said he actually cried after watching it. Wow !

Set to the Billy Joel song ‘She’s Always a Woman to Me’, the ad is basically the story of a young girl growing up to adulthood and going through to her old age. The core message is about the brand’s ‘life-long commitment to you’ with it’s ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ policy.

It is all good stuff. One of those ads that you’d wish you’d written yourself.

If you break John Lewis down, it’s basically a shop that sells lots of nice things with staff that know a lot about those nice things ! Yet it’s the framing of the offering that makes the brand an absolute delight.

‘Framing’ was something that was drawn to my attention many years ago whilst on an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) course. In other words, by putting something in an appropriate context; a new and very powerful meaning can be created. In radio advertising, there simply aren’t enough advertisers who put their offering into the right context. I think I can speak for many Commercial Producers when I say that from time to time you come across a new advertiser who has an offering that is simply mind-blowing. The problem is that the owner of that business doesn’t realise it and therefore the company doesn’t do as well as it should.

Creating the right frame for a brand and/or proposition isn’t necessarily all about the dialogue in a radio commercial. Over the years, I have been on many judging panels for radio advertising awards ceremonies and I often find many of the losing commercials have failed to frame the proposition properly. The easiest way to look at it is how a comedian makes a joke funny. A joke will only be funny if the punch line is set up correctly. Take this gag from veteran comic Ken Dodd:

“What a wonderful day...What a wonderful day for sticking a cucumber through your next door neighbour’s letter box and shouting “The Martians have landed !”.

The punch line would never have worked if it hadn’t been put into context. The same goes with radio advertising. If you don’t ‘set up’ the key proposition, the whole ad is meaningless. Many advertisers forget this. They think a 30 second commercial should be filled with 30 seconds worth of information. Wrong. In my view the ‘information’ should only account for a small percentage of the commercial. When you next see the full-length version of the 90 second long John Lewis TV ad, the core message appears 7 seconds before the end of the ad. The remaining 83 seconds have been skilfully used to set us up for the 5 word killer endline. And when it comes: POW ! The message is indelibly marked in our memories.

Here’s another example: None of us have escaped the news of the Icelandic Volcano causing havoc to British travellers. I was particularly taken by the news stories of the luxury liner ‘Celebrity Eclipse’ ferrying home two thousand stranded holiday makers from Bilbao. The rescue must have cost Celebrity Cruises an absolute mint.But by golly, the positive publicity the company is getting from it is absolutely priceless. In all media we saw, read and heard interviews with passengers ‘wowing’ the amazing experience they had.

Things like this should teach all brand owners there is more, much more to telling the listener that they can buy ‘X’ for less. Celebrity Cruises have proved this by putting their brand in context with an unprecedented event . By doing this, they have ended up with something that is actually more powerful than the volcano itself.

And I am pretty sure that as a result of their actions, their tills will be ringing loud and proud in the months to come.

John Calvert.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Are your radio adverts sending out the right image ?

I love General Elections. It’s a one-month advertising campaign where beliefs and visions are marketed as brands. Claims, counter-claims, criticisms, slagging-offs, endorsements: it’s all there and the poor electorate has to make sense of it all.

Sorry, going slightly off track now: Why is it the political parties never seem to fall foul of advertising rules ? Some of the claims you encounter in political advertising often has little-to-no foundation. Yet they apparently seem to get away with it. In some cases, libellous comments are made, yet we never hear about any action being taken by the ASA. I have no idea why. If you have the answer, I would love to know.

Election time is when parties and their candidates spend an absolute fortune presenting themselves in the best possible light. And it reminds me that regardless of whether there’s an election or not, many radio advertisers should be getting their houses in order.

Following on from my last article about the power of the brand, image is absolutely everything. Regardless of whether we own a business or not, this belief is instilled in all of us. Yet on the radio, we still encounter radio adverts for businesses that say all the wrong things...

We’re noisy.
We’re patronising.
We’re arrogant.
We’re unprofessional.
We’re insignificant.
We’re thick.
We’re childish.
We’re rude.
We’re lairs.
We’re unhelpful.
We’re smarmy.
We’re slimy.
We’re confusing.
We’re idiots.
We’re not good for you.

How many radio commercials have you heard this week that creates the feeling they are one or more of the above ?

We all know radio ads have the power to say a lot more than what the voiceover is actually saying. Yet despite some great heroic attempts from Commercial Producers, some advertisers still think they know better.
In most cases, we can just advise. And providing it’s not to the detriment of the radio station’s quality of output, there’s very little we can actually do other than cringe every time the ad is broadcast.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and my tolerance levels are getting weaker, but when it comes to image of radio advertisers I am noticing I am speaking my mind a lot more nowadays. In a conversation with a client the other day, I found myself saying “Fine, if you want to throw all what’s good about you down the toilet, so be it”. The client took the point and thankfully I still have the account !

Regardless of what we think of elections and the like, I think the current political campaigning and advertising is a great opportunity for us to observe how much effect image has on the masses. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. And in radio advertising, there’s never been more true line.

Want your radio commercials to sound great. Visit our website here.

John Calvert

Thursday, 1 April 2010

If you advertise on the radio, invest in your brand.

Last weekend I took the missus and our 4 year old son Dan to the beautiful city of Bath. The day co-incided with a match at the rugby ground. Where ever we looked: In cafe’s, bars and shops there was a sea of blue and black shirts. Though the atmosphere was a lot more civilised than a football match day. This is Bath after all.

Whilst walking round the new shopping centre, Southgate, we heard a cacophony of cheering and applause. Thinking it was some exuberant rugby fans, we went round the corner to discover something completely different.

Apple had opened a brand new store and our arrival was at the exact time when the doors of the store opened. The cheers, whoops and claps weren’t coming from the queue of customers walking into the store. It was coming from a huge line of Applestore staff all dressed in their blue tops. As the public filed in, each person was welcomed with a free T.shirt and brisk high-fives. It was tremendous fun. My missus turned to me with a huge beaming face and said “Isn’t Apple a great brand ?”

She’s right. Apple oozes cleverness, style and a real feeling that you want to be part of it. The stores aren’t stuffy and the staff, although incredibly well-trained are still incredibly approachable.

At the same time Apple was wowing the folks of Bath, British Airways cabin crews were on the picket lines. “Willie Walsh is pants” was written on a string of underwear, the bigwigs in Unite were telling the media how unreasonable BA is being and BA customers were promising not to use the airline ever again.

What a contrast.

And what a reminder that brand is everything.

The biggest thrill I get in radio commercial production is to help regional and local businesses make a real name for themselves in their respective market. The trouble is, not enough local and regional business care about ‘their brand’. They think subjecting the listener with what is effectively and audio version of a leaflet is the way to win the hearts of the public. How wrong they are.

If you’re a local company, the public aren’t forgiving about your image. By default, they will always compare how you present yourself with everyone else and in a matter of milliseconds accept you or reject you.

Right now, the public will be doing the same with B.A. As the industrial dispute continues, British Airways will do it’s upmost to protect it’s brand. It made me think: If BA hadn’t invested squillions in promoting their core brand values, just imagine what a sorry state they would be in now.

Like BA, Toyota is having a rough time. But because they too have done the groundwork and been incredibly pro-active in being seen to sort things out; their ‘Today Tomorrow Toyota’ positioning is, my opinion relevant and effective.

As the economy is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, now is the time for local and regional advertisers to set the scene for the good times by dumping a model that relies on advertising just special offers. Lets instead encourage more radio advertisers to adopt a model that shows the public just how bloody amazing they really are. So when the good times (and indeed the bad times) come back, they are standing on a solid foundation that’s able to handle anything that comes their way.

Oh, and as a completely separate issue and going off on a complete tangent, who else thinks the Halifax ‘radio station’ ads are verging on being utterly cringeworthy ?

John Calvert.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Radio Adverts that will do you wrong.

It feels like the last two weeks has taken me squillions of miles around the country. And whilst driving from one destination to another, it gave me the chance to listen to a number of commercial radio stations along the way. In particular, their radio commercials !

There is no doubt that radio adverts are beginning to sound interesting again. Throughout last year, there was a definite leaning towards simple-sounding commercials. But now it’s good to hear some more interesting stuff returning to the airwaves.

Having said that, I am still hearing things that really don’t help the advertiser’s cause. One thing in particular: Asking questions in radio ads has loomed it’s ugly head again – big time.

“What’s stopping you from coming to our sale ?”

“Why not treat yourself ?”

“Thinking of buying XXXXXXX ?”

I know I’ve covered this area a number of times, but the sheer amount of ads I have heard over the last couple of weeks has prompted me - once again to bring this subject up again.

The reality is, phrases like "Why go anywhere else ?" and "What's stopping you ?" etc, simply bring to mind all the things that remind folks why they shouldn't be buying a particular product or service. The result ? Businesses spending a ton of money inadvertently inviting listeners to think of a reason for why they shouldn't buy their products or services.

Of course, it’s sometimes difficult to avoid asking questions in radio ads, but it’s worth pointing out to advertisers that questions should be put in commercials only if
the answer the audience gives is the right answer.

The other area that pricked my ears up were sponsorship messages. In many many cases, they sounded incredibly drab and predictable. I am sure it’s not the case everywhere, but I believe many sponsor credits are not doing the paying client many favours. I have said it before, TV really leads the way on sponsor credits. They look good, they have an idea behind them, they keep in line with the TV station’s branding, they are sympathetic to the sponsor’s branding and most of all; appear to have a justifiable presence.

I am aware of what you can or can’t do on radio sponsorship credits, but I really do think it’s time they went beyond the rather predictable “Brought to you in association with Xxxxx. Great service, whatever the weather” kind of credit.

Worse still, some of the sponsor credits I heard actually gave no clue to what the sponsor’s line of business was ! I know this isn’t the norm, but come on, everyone has a duty to ensure that advertisers get something in return for their investment.

Finally, in a conversation with an agency chum I met up with on my travels, I was asked the question: “Whatever happened to the Sonic Logo ?” Interesting point ! A few years ago, a number of radio experts predicted that short sharp pieces of music and/or sounds would be the way forward for radio advertisers to brand themselves on air and so create recognisability. Of course there are a few radio advertisers who do use Sonic Logos well, but in the great scale of things (and taking out of the equation those hoppity-skip kind of jingles you hear) there aren’t as many around as everyone thought there would be. Perhaps in the real world, it shows us there is still a big gap between a Commercial Producer’s and advertiser’s expectations of what good radio advertising should be.

John Calvert.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Everything has it's value...

Mr K is a delightful man. As the owner of a very successful Indian restaurant, he has been a client of my production company Airforce for over 17 years. Yesterday, in one of our get-togethers, we had a catch up. I learned that considering all that is going on in the economy, Mr K and his restaurant are doing fine.

Over a superb meal, we discussed (amongst other things) the new scripts I presented him, the explosion in Social Networking and the price of his food. He explained that 2 new Indian restaurants had opened up in his area, but despite this business was still good. He took me through one of the new restaurant’s menu.

He was surprised at how low the cost of certain dishes were and went on to explain that his business would never go into a price war in order to get business. I agreed with him. In a lot of cases, reducing your prices just because someone else has is putting yourself on a very slippery slope to doom.

“Everything has a value”, Mr K said. “If it is good, people will pay the proper price”.

Rewind 3 days to a presentation about the Creative Sell to a station sales team not a million miles away from Airforce HQ. My brief was to give the sales team a short, sharp overview on all things relating to commercial production. One person had a worry that some of his advertisers would not buy more expensive ideas because they were used to paying entry level-priced commercial production. I explained that I should be the one should be worried ! The advertiser is signed to the station. It’s just a matter of who is going to make the commercial ! Therefore I have to work harder to get the production gig. And I have no problem in doing that.

Rewind another 5 days. I am having lunch with a highly talented radio sales exec. (I love my job. Free lunches, stimulating conversation and some business too !) We were reflecting on how much the way radio has been sold has changed over the years. We touched on the current phenomena: Clients being able to share in unsold inventory. To many stations, this approach has become a vital part in keeping the coffers well-stocked.

But in my lunch, the sales exec was wondering if it had all been good. I made the point that across the UK, there were probably a whole load of advertisers who should not have been sold these packages and because of it, some stations may be losing out on a larger pot of gold. The exec agreed and went on to consider how difficult it was going to be to switch some of these advertisers to more planned and structured campaigns which costed more.

Today as I write this article, Mr K’s words are still rattling around my head. “Everything has a value...If it is good, people will pay the proper price”.

If a product or service is better than everyone else’s, many people will still be happy to pay more for it. If an idea for a radio advertising concept is good, people will pay more. If an advertiser sees the benefits behind why a proper structured advertising campaign is better than a ‘one size fits all’ package, he will understand why he has to pay more.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s still bloody tough out there and it’s very tempting to take any money that’s on offer. But when the good times come back, it’s vital that our clients are conditioned to understand the true value of what they are buying. If we don’t start changing some people now, the products we are selling will never give us a proper return.

John Calvert

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Government advertising

I can’t believe the amount of government advertising that’s going on at the moment. I’m not just referring to radio, but the whole media in general. It’s ruddy everywhere !

If you are to believe the newspapers, the spend on government advertising has increased from over £253 million to over half a billion pounds ! If you’re in media such as a radio station Head of Sales, you’ll be loving it.

...But how much is the public actually loving it ?

Two thoughts:

1: With so much advertising about health, safety and the like; does the public appreciate being constantly told what to do ? Without my Commercial Producer’s hat on, I personally don’t. A few weeks ago, a series of radio commercials told me that I had to be polite to road workers. But did I really have to be reminded of that ?

Don’t get me wrong, no one wants anyone to be verbally or physically abused in the workplace, but is the problem so enormous that it warrants an awareness campaign on the radio ?

I believe that with the huge presence of public service advertising around at the moment, the public will actually get irritated with it all and so switch off their eyes ears to it, so not making it particularly effective.

2: In a conversation with a radio station Sales Exec during the week, I asked him how much government advertising was on his station. “Quite a lot”, he said.

“That must be good for the coffers then ?” I said.

“Not really”, he went on. “Quite often, we get bugger-all money for these campaigns. Compared to what the local advertisers pay, we’re practically giving the airtime away to many of the national advertisers. We’d rather not have much of this stuff on air, because in many cases, it’s not worth it”

COI is one of, if not the biggest spenders on radio and I completely accept that with so much money being allocated to the medium, they will quite rightly insist they get excellent value for money. But bearing in mind Point One as well, do high doses of public service advertising actually help to get the message across for all the government departments at the same time ? Currently on radio and TV, there is SO much government advertising that it is not unusual to see or hear commercial breaks that feature at least two public service commercials. That’s just as annoying and uneffective as hearing two double glazing companies in the same break !

But there is a side to all this I can’t help admire: The creative execution. One thing we cannot criticise the COI for is giving us dull advertisements. If there’s one constant positive side to all this, it’s that the majority of the messages are very well crafted. Perhaps it’s the saving grace of this whole affair. There may be shed-loads of it on air at the moment, but it all sounds pretty good.

John Calvert

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Is getting a radio advert banned good for your business ?

Like many people, I am a subscriber to Google Alerts.

One of my keywords is ‘Radio Adverts’. A few days ago, an email came through giving me details about new posts on the web featuring the phrase. I was amazed to see a huge amount had been written about the banned Reed Online radio commercial.

In a nutshell, the commercial has been withdrawn from broadcast because it features a manic German-speaking man who is described as a ‘Tyrant’. According to, ‘the Advertising Standards Authority received 13 complaints that the ad was offensive to Germans because it used an outdated stereotype and implied that all Germans were tyrants.’

The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre, who cleared the ad believed ‘most listeners would regard the scenario as humorous and inoffensive.’

So the usual questions are raised again. How can a small selection of people be an accurate measure of the tastes of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of
listeners ? And is withdrawing the commercial from transmission actually giving the ‘offensive’ ad more exposure to the very audience that the ASA is trying to protect it from ? I heard the ad for the first time on the Guardian website; a location where radio ads aren’t usually placed. Friends and colleagues then told me the story was on websites all over the globe. So now, more people are hearing it than ever before, which does question the whole validity of pulling certain radio ads in the first place.

Admittedly, this whole affair must be a priceless, albeit unexpected international PR boost for Reed. With so much about this ad in the news, how ironic Reed’s agency is called ‘Contageous’.

Changing the subject, there seems to be big difference of opinion about whether over-catchy jingles are good for advertisers in the long term. I am referring to ‘We Buy Any’ track and the ‘Go Compare’ jingle. I have to admit (and I feel a little dirty when saying this) there’s something horribly appealing about both tracks, but I can’t help thinking that these kinds of ads can’t benefit a brand for the long term. Sure, they are hugely powerful mnemonics, but should we be irritating people into buying products ?

For many years, Cillit Bang’s Barry Scott’s over-enthusiasm used to push the range of cleaning products, but the story goes that after some research, the manufacturers decided that Barry’s big voice was simply pissing people off. Today, Bazza still appears in the ads, but he now talks TO us and not AT us.

By all means brand owners use attractive tunes and interesting characters in your radio adverts to get folks to remember things. But please treat audiences in a way that you would like to be treated. Thank you !

John Calvert

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Should this radio advert for Reed Online be banned ?

The media is rammed with articles about a radio advert for Reed Online. It features a boss speaking German and being branded a 'Tyrant'.

Just a bit of harmless fun or offensive ? Judge for yourself and listen here.

Want radio commercials that hit the news ? Click here.

John Calvert

Are your Radio Adverts 'of the moment' ?

I can’t believe how over the top the media coverage has been with the snow. The way the subject has been treated, it gives the impression that snow is a new phenomenon to the human race and that none of us know how to handle it. I have a number of international clients and they tell me that they are finding the whole British/Snow thing very amusing. “Get over it !” one client in the Netherlands told me. I agree with her.

So, with snow being the talk of the UK, have we encouraged our advertisers to use it to their advantage ? We are all aware that retail sales have slipped because of the weather, so can we use it to create radio advertising that encourages people to believe that venturing out in the white stuff is good for them ?

I recall hearing an age-old radio advert produced by Chris Lytle for an electrical shop. The store had been flooded and the ad went on to explain that if you didn’t mind visiting an electrical shop with no electricity, the customer would be rewarded with incredible reductions. Apparently the response was phenomenal.

The British love topicality. The TV show ‘Have I Got News For You’, ‘Question Time’, ‘Harry Hill’s TV Burp’ and many others prove that people, places and events ‘of the moment’ go down very well.

Radio is blessed with the fact that the production process is relatively straight forward. So it makes sense to exploit these qualities and produce radio commercials that really do reflect the here and now. All we need are advertisers who are prepared to go with the flow and put 100% faith into the fact that world events have the potential to shift big amounts of stock.

They the unexpected also happens, so be prepared for it. I recall working on a campaign in which every commercial was produced incredibly close to the broadcast time. But just in case an event happened that significantly changed the mood of the TSA , we had a contingency commercial ready to use: An ad that felt of-the-moment but wasn’t particularly specific. I was glad we had one. Two thirds of the way through the campaign, the Princess of Wales left our mortal coil, plunging pretty much the entire nation into an abyss of sorrow.

Of course, we could be even more up to date by broadcasting live radio ads ! The idea of creating a message based upon events that happened less than an hour ago to me seems incredibly appealing. Live ads were the norm for many many years on American radio. I wrote a handful of live ads in the 80’s too, so it’s sad to think that the way radio works today (transmitter splitting, national local and regional playouts etc) actually makes the implementation of live ads pretty much an impossibility. (Or is it just because the radio stations think the whole idea is just too scary ?) A shame, because the public loves a live event ! Years ago, all soap operas were broadcast live by default. But in recent times, the trend has been returning. Coronation Street and The Bill have done live shows. In February, East Enders will be joining the throng by doing a show in which Archie’s murderer will be revealed – live. If a hugely complex TV show can be broadcast live, surely a 30 second radio ad would be an absolute doddle to pull off ?

Best of all, make the public know it’s live. Create a buzz round it though the PR machine and let them understand something could go wrong.
Just like we wonder whether a magician will escape from a air-tight box before it explodes or whether Barbara Windsor will remember all her lines, the public will stop doing what they are doing to see the event through.

...And for advertisers, that’s priceless !

Want to create a 'Radio Event' with your radio adverts ? Visit the Airforce website here.

John Calvert

Monday, 4 January 2010

The Teenage Dream !

Last year a world record attempt began at Tanbridge House School in Horsham, West Sussex to produce a radio advertisement featuring the most number of individual voices ever to be recorded. Now after the long process of brainstorms, workshops, script writing and editing, the advert is ready!

Setting a world record, the advert features 138 different voices from the students in years eight and nine at Tanbridge and is all thanks to John Calvert, the Managing Director of radio commercial production company Airforce who had always dreamed of creating a world record for the radio industry.

John commented: “I am delighted that the advertisement is now complete and I believe we have created a world record. Teaming up with Tanbridge House School was wonderful and their students were a delight to work with. I not only wanted to show them a brief glimpse into the technical side of the media industry but also prove to them that by always using your imagination and creative skills you can achieve your dreams.”

The script for the advert was written by 13 year old Tanbridge student Tristan Smith who wanted to send a message to the adult generation. Based around the dreams of young people it explains how today’s society can occasionally stereotype teenagers when all they want is support.

Not satisfied with just setting a world record the students at Tanbridge School have now decided to help other young people buy selling their radio advertisement for a mere £1.50. Their goal is to raise vital funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity who ensure that young cancer patients get the best possible care in hospital. They build specially designed wards for teenagers where they can be treated and recover with like minded young patients rather than being put in a children’s or adults ward.

To hear the ad, click here.

John Calvert