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

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