Monday, 22 April 2013

We Won !

Last Saturday, we heard news that productions by Airforce have won, for the third year in a row, another Vox award.

'Hornby', produced for our client Spirit FM won the 'Best Retail Radio Commercial' category in the 2013 Vox Awards.

Other Airforce productions Celebrate Without Drama's 'Dizzy Lizzy' produced for our client Wessex FM was also nominated in the 'Best Public Service' category, Travel Dorset's 'Sharing to Work' produced again for Wessex FM was a finalist in the 'Best Music' category and Tanya Rich for her performance in 'Dizzy Lizzy' was  nominated in the 'Best Female Voiceover' category. In all, we received more finalist nominations than any other entrant.

We broke the news to our client today, and everyone is delighted.

'Hornby' was one in a series of 3 commercials created for The Engine Shed, a massive store in Sussex specialising in Model Railways, Scalextric, Airfix models and much more besides.

Airforce was called in by Spririt FM to bring a new dynamic to the Engine Shed's radio advertising. Their previous commercials were 'what you would expect from a model shop'. Our task was to 'bring alive' the store in a more contemporary manner and introduce it to those outside the model-making and train set community.

We devised the theme 'lose yourself in the Engine Shed'. This line not only gives an indication of the scale of the store, but tells the audience that the goods they sell are so lifelike, you'll actually feel you're there on the rail rack, in an aeroplane or in a racing car. Each of the 3 radio commercials we produced featured a child 'losing themselves' when playing with model railways, cars or planes.

You can hear all 3 radio adverts, including the award-winning 'Hornby' here.

John Calvert

Friday, 12 April 2013

We're onto a winner ?

The Vox Awards are back.

And we're proud to say, 4 productions by Airforce are nominated for prizes. In fact, we have more nominations than any other entrant.

The Engine Shed's 'Hornby' produced for our client Spirit FM features in the 'Best Retail' category, Celebrate Without Drama's 'Dizzy Lizzy' produced for out client Wessex FM features in the 'Best Public Service' category, Travel Dorset's 'Sharing to Work' produced again for Wessex FM features in the 'Best Music' category and Tanya Rich for her performance in 'Dizzy Lizzy' has been nominated in the 'Best Female Voiceover' category.

Last year, Airforce won the the 'Best Retail' category. The year before, our productions won the 'Best Male Voiceover' and 'Best Female Voiceover' categories, so in 2013, we'd really like to win the hat trick.

To win a Vox Award, our entries need votes. And lots of them !  The voting process is mildly convoluted, but if you have a spare five minutes, visit this website. And follow the process. They will ask you for your phone number, but it is not used for any dubious purposes.

Voting closes on the 18th, so we would really appreciate your help !

Many thanks.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Why Radio Stations Can Learn From the Horsemeat Scandal

There are a lot of folks blaming each other for the mess recently created by the horsemeat scandal.

In my view, a large percentage of the accusative finger should be pointed at some of the supermarkets. In their never-ending quest to buy their stock at the cheapest possible prices, it's not surprising some suppliers have resorted to below-the-belt tactics to make ends meet (Or should it be 'make ends meat' ?) by replacing beef with the cheaper horsemeat.

I am in no way condoning the suppliers behaviour, but when a supermarket is asking you to reduce your prices, it's obvious that the product quality won't be as good. Corners will always be cut.

A few weeks ago, I read a blog from a radio commercial production company who decided to part company with a group of radio stations because they couldn't agree on a fair price to produce radio ads. In a nutshell, the radio stations wanted their commercials produced for '£X' and the production company said their price will be a higher '£Y'. The production company concerned felt that they simply couldn't make radio commercials for the '£X' price and so they pulled out of the deal. Those who read the blog (Including myself) were in full support of the production company's withdrawal. Sure, we all want our prices to be accessible, but when if a product is going to be seriously compromised, for the sake of your own company's reputation, it is best to walk away.

In the current economic climate, there's a huge amount of undercutting going on. I have seen online production companies offering their services for just £45 !

So what will you get for your £45 ? Well, you'll get a radio ad, but what has gone into it - or most worryingly,  not ?

I wouldn't be surprised if the 'writer' is an ex-DJ, a swing jock or someone 'in-between jobs'. Note: Just because the person creating your radio ad 'works in radio'; that does not mean he or she is an expert in creating radio advertising.

The same warning goes to people who own a recording studio. There is no connection between 'owning a recording studio' and being a fully-fledged Radio Commercial Producer. Choose your studio wisely.

And so to the production. What kind of music will they be using for £45 ? It's unlikely to be MCPS production music. The cost for just one 30 second cut is about £80, so some folks will say that's too expensive. The radio station commissioning the production may have an MCPS blanket licence - which helps, but many stations don't have one. About a year ago, a group of radio stations invited Airforce to tender for a production contract. We declined because they wouldn't invest in the Blanket Licence. A lot of MCPS production music is of extremely high quality and can actually make some low-cost productions sound quite decent. But if you resort to the Royalty Free stuff, the musical integrity is often quite limited, American-sounding, iffy or all three.

If it's a jingle you're after, then lots of companies will punch a catchy tune out for less than £250. But the people performing on your track are unlikely to be 'proper' session musicians or singers. When you add things up; A couple of great session singers, a half decent studio, a composer with a successful track record in producing advertising music, some proper session musicians etc etc; £250 will barely scratch the surface. Again, it wouldn't surprise me if the 'singer' is the producer's girlfriend and/or sister who sometimes performs down the pub on Karaoke night. Or it will be the producer himself.

I could dismantle the prices even more, but the fact is: Cheap is not good.

Cheap gives you poorly-written scripts. Cheap gives you poor production values. Cheap gives you badly-cast voices. Cheap gives you naff music. Cheap gives you jingles that annoy the hell out of the listener. Cheap employs part-time singers and musicians.  Cheap will never present your brand in the right light. Cheap lowers the quality of radio station output. Cheap makes everything sound the same. Cheap doesn't give radio advertisers the choice, service and attention they deserve. Cheap is putting a square peg into a round hole. Cheap isn't proper radio advertising.

This is why some radio stations should learn from  the Horsemeat Scandal. Instead of looking for a producer who will do things for less, use someone who will bring to the table tasty things that contain great ingredients and will have advertisers wanting second, third and fourth helpings.

We have radio station clients who understand this. But alas, they are not the norm.


You don't have to get your radio station to make your radio commercials, radio adverts and jingles. For free initial script ideas, get in touch here.

Friday, 1 February 2013

A great time to advertise on the radio !

Audiences are loving commercial radio. Healthy audience figures and despite hard economic times, radio is doing very well. Read this article.

From writing the script, all the way to recording and to dispatching your ad(s) to the station, Airforce can help. Contact us here. 

You do not have to have your commercials made by a radio station. Because Airforce is not owned or influenced by any media or radio company we will give you a different and unbiased perspective. Airforce has worked in and served the commercial radio sector for over 30 years. This makes us a valuable ally for radio advertisers wanting to get it right.

Initial script ideas are free, so there's nothing to lose. 01249 821679