Monday, 31 January 2011

Changes to the small print. Do your radio commercials comply ?

The rules in financial advertising are having a bit of a shake up.

The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) have forwarded us the following note:

The Consumer Credit (Advertisements) Regulations 2010 (CCAR) replace the 2004 Regulations on 1st February 2011.

Certain credit ads are exempt (e.g. if the ad makes clear that credit is only available for business purposes).

Ads must include the name of the advertiser (the advertiser’s address is exempt for radio ads).

Where the ad includes a rate of interest or any amount relating to the cost of credit (whether a sum of money or a proportion of a specified amount), the ad needs “a representative example”.

A “Representative Example” consists of the following minimum information:
• the words "Representative Example"
• total amount of credit
• an APR, worded thus: “Representative X% APR” (the APR available on 51%+ of deals arising from the advert)
• cash price
• amount of any advanced payments and any other fees (if relevant)
• duration of the agreement
• total amount payable
• amount of each repayment of credit (if relevant)

Please note that…
The phrase/tag/qualification “Representative X% APR” can be used on its own where the ad:
• is for “bad” credit risks (e.g. “can’t get credit?”)
• contains a ‘comparative indication’ (e.g.“low cost loans”, “our lowest rates”, “save money”, “low monthly payments”)
• includes an ‘incentive’ to take out credit (e.g. “nothing to pay for a year”, “get cash fast”, “2% off our usual rates”, “low deposit”)

Please don't curse the RACC for this. These aren't their rules. They are simply here to ensure the new law is adhered to in radio advertising.

The small print in financial advertising is at the best of times, pretty confusing. But this new rule in my opinion will not benefit the listener in any shape or form. Come on Law Makers, are you really in the belief the audience understands what 'Representative APR' actually means ? And if they do, do they actually care ?

I think cramming T's & C's in a radio ad doesn't do anyone any favours. It's a well-known fact the human brain can't absorb large amounts of information in one go. Therefore a radio advert with a monotonic voiceover rattling off technical prattle that only has meaning to those in the financial sector doesn't really give the consumer any protection at all.

I am completely up for protecting the consumer. So how about just saying 'conditions apply' ? It tells the listener they won't be getting something for nothing and that there is more to the offer than meets the eye.

Job done in a clear, understandable and consise manner. But let's face it. Many of those who enforce the laws don't actually think like us mere mortals. So the chances of things changing for the better are unlikely !

For advice on how Airforce can make the small print in your radio advert legal, yet as unobtrusive as possible, get in touch here.

John Calvert

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Music to Picture...

We did the music for this film recently.

Enjoy !

Friday, 21 January 2011

It's all about 'Desire' and not about 'Price'

It's something we've been harking on about for years.

Price is not the be-all and end-all.

If you'd like to know more about what makes people buy, read this article.

In radio advertising, there is too much emphasis on telling folks something is cheaper. Sure price is important, but no one will buy anything unless they want or need it.

Remember the old Monty Python 'Piston' sketch ? The excerpt below perfectly sums it up....

Mrs Non-Smoker: Oohh hello, Mrs Smoker.

Mrs Smoker: Hello Mrs Non-Smoker.

Mrs Non-Smoker: What, you been shopping then?

Mrs Smoker: Nope ... I've been shopping!

Mrs Non-Smoker: What d'you buy?

Mrs Smoker: A piston engine!

Mrs Non-Smoker: What d'you buy that for?

Mrs Smoker: It was a bargain!

Mrs Non-Smoker: How much d'you want for it?

Mrs Smoker: Three quid!

Mrs Non-Smoker: Done. (she hands over the money)

Mrs Smoker: Right. Thank you.

Mrs Non-Smoker: How d'you cook it?

Mrs Smoker: You don't cook it.

Mrs Non-Smoker: You can't eat that raw!

Mrs Smoker: Ooooh ... never thought of that.

Radio commercials, radio adverts and advertising jingles must do more than sell a price reduction. If you want to advertise on the radio, we can show you how. Contact Airforce here.

John Calvert

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Want to become a Voiceover Artist ?

Every year, we get countless requests from people asking us to help them to become a Voiceover Artist. It takes an age explaining the pro's and cons, so I am extremely grateful to the good people from for publishing a book that explains everything you need to know. You can buy it here.

Airforce uses some of the finest voiceover artists in the business. But if you're considering using your own voice in your radio advert, here's a one-word suggestion.


With the greatest of respect, just because you own the company does not mean your voice should be the ambassador for it. Some of the most embarrassing radio commercials ever recorded are the ones that are voiced by the company's owners and/or staff. The result will usually be a production that conveys a company as amateurish and at worst: An absolute joke.

It's not just radio commercials either. I find it amazing how many companies still use their staff members to voice their telephone 'on hold' systems. The voice often sounds nervous, winey and hesitant. Worse still, the voice is recorded in an echoey room. It all comes together to create something that massively lets the brand down. A customer's first approach is often on the telephone. Ensure you sound as good as your product or service !

To hear a great example of how it should be done, give American Express a call on this number: 0870 600 10 30.

To hear how it shouldn't be done, listen to this recorded message on 0904 2562193. Not only does the voice sound hellishly depressing, but you're being charged £1.50 for the experience of it !

We all judge people on their appearance and radio is no exception. Remember, you're not saving money by using your voice or the voice of a staff member, you're actually spending more.

For a free voice casting service, contact Airforce here.

John Calvert

Monday, 10 January 2011

Capital FM.

Global's Capital FM hits the network. Supporting the launch is a great TV ad. You can see it and find out more about the campaign by clicking here.

If you're thinking of advertising on Capital FM, Airforce can write and produce your radio commercials. We have access to some great voices and your music can be composed by our composer (and co-founder of Airforce) Roger Dexter. Roger regularly composes imaging music for BBC Radio 1 and has worked on a ton of tracks for a host of youth-oriented radio stations and production music libraries.

Contact us for details

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

IFA's: Win free radio commercial production !

Airforce has teamed up for an exciting promotion with IFA Life. The Social Network for IFA's and Financial Planners.

If you're an Independent Financial Advisor, enter the competition to win hundreds of pounds worth of radio commercial production for free.

For details, click here.

Monday, 3 January 2011

The best and worst of 2010.

One of my agency clients gave me a call last week, asking that we have a get-together.

“Where do you want us to meet ?” I asked.

“Let’s meet in Germany. Berlin to be precise”, said my client.

“Berlin ? ? Normally we meet in boring hotel receptions !”

“Nahh. I fancy Berlin. We’ll stay a couple of nights, have a few beers and see the sights. I’ll pay”.

And so he did. We met at Heathrow, checked in and then all Hell broke out. Snow came down, all flights cancelled and Heathrow wanted us out of the building immediately. So, with suitcases in hand we headed to London for 2 nights of merriment.

At about 1 o’clock in the morning in a hotel in the West End, the client and myself reflected on where radio is now and what it was like when it started. We both agreed that radio advertising is a lot more scientific – and we like that. But over the years, a few things have crept in that, in our view, don’t really help some of the advertisers.

We discussed those packages that help radio stations to sell off any left-over inventory. To many stations, this has been a vital way of earning extra revenue, but from some advertiser’s point of view, it hasn’t been of great benefit. Yes, it’s an easy sell. Yes, it makes radio affordable to more businesses and yes, it helps stations earn more dosh. But conversely, I hear too many stories of it being sold to the wrong kind of businesses. I hear stories of the campaigns not working and so putting the advertisers off radio for a long long time. I hear from radio people who say they wish their station never started selling these packages because they have discovered it sometimes has the tendency to undermine the value of radio. And I know many Sales Execs dread having to sell these packages because they don’t believe in them. Our opinion is that they do work for some small advertisers, but for a lot of other advertisers, he/I would only recommend this kind of package if it was a support to a proper, structured and planned advertising campaign - a bolt-on if you like.

Our thoughts then turned to the ‘Creative Sell’. It’s going on and there have been many spectacular results achieved. But, it could be a lot, lot better. Too many radio stations are missing out on bigger revenue streams by not embracing the Creative Sell. Airtime proposals are dull, soulless items. Creative proposals set client’s minds alight with excitement. They are sexy, influential and very hard to resist. Creative proposals give radio advertising scale and helps to put brands into a context that airtime proposals could never do. In all the years I have been working with my agency client, I have never seen him compile an airtime proposal prior to establishing the creative strategy. For any medium to long-term advertiser, this is the way it should always be.

We spoke about sponsorship. We both like it, providing it’s a support to a structured radio advertising campaign. Creatively, many radio sponsor credits are dull. Let’s take another look at how TV advertisers handle their sponsor credits. Generally, they comprise clever scenarios and off the wall idents that give both the TV station and the advertiser an attractive on-air presence. Radio tends to stick with a standard format of wizzes, bangs, whooshes and a strapline that really doesn’t do anyone any favours.

And finally, we discussed what radio advert, in our opinion should be taken off air. That was an easy one: The 'Go Outdoors' campaign. If you haven't heard the ads yet, they basically consist of a hyperactive voiceover reading a 40 second script condensed into 30 seconds. It is bad radio and in the long term, will not do the brand any favours at all. Shouting is regarded as insulting and at worst, threatening. So why do Go Outdoors do it on the radio ? Being louder than your competitors on air won't mean your offering is better or exciting than anyone else's. Shouting simply means the listener will turn the ad down to a level that's so low they won't be able to hear it, so defeating the whole objective of being on the radio in the first place. Go Outdoors spend a lot on radio, imagine how much more effective their advertising would be if they talked TO people, rather than AT them ?

Happy new year !