Friday, 14 November 2014

Private Hear

Private Hear

Each month, in association with the Radio Advertising Bureau, 
Campaign magazine presents two industry experts reviewing the 
best and worst radio ad campaigns

Hugh Todd, Creative Director, Leo Burnett

Radio. How hard can it be? Get a junior team to bash out a comedy sketch. Record with some jobbing voiceover in Soho. Sorted. And another little turd pollutes the airwaves of Britain, destined never to reach the shores of Cannes. Radio is meant to be a soft category. But, for us Brits, it seems to have got extremely hard lately. Two shortlists last year, down from 12 the year before and 21 the year before that. Maybe we need to up our game.

If TV and digital posters can talk to my phone, why can’t we get a radio ad to talk to my device? How about buying the whole ad break, creating your own radio show within a radio show? Like "Miller time"... on radio. Maybe don’t even do ads. Do what DraftFCB in New Zealand did for Secret Diary Of A Call Girl:

Sorry, I’m ranting a bit. But I love radio. 

It’s one of the most creative media. Painting pictures in the mind is still one of the toughest challenges a creative can get. Yet it feels so neglected these days. Let’s see if there’s any love for it this week.
Public Health England’s Stoptober. The Pub Landlord in a classic announcement ad, urging people to stop smoking in October. It’s well-written, funny and upbeat. It won’t trouble the juries, but it’s simple and, if it stops people dying, it’s a good thing.

Homepride. A voiceover tells how Homepride sauces won’t let us down in homage to the Rick Astley song Never Gonna Give You Up. Hmm. A fairly thin premise. If you’re going to use Rick Astley, I’d say use him in a kitsch, kooky way. Rather than in a rhyming-his-songs-to-a-strategy way.

Transport for London. A great example of radio sounding effortless and simple. Admittedly, road death is slightly more compelling than cooking sauces (and cigarette death?), but all involved have done well here. It draws you in – getting you to think about the innocent things you’ve regretted – and then jolts you with the sickening sound (and regret) of pulling out at a junction.

BelVita. This ad features a guy trying to sing like Ghostpoet. I’m not feeling well-disposed to this already. He’s singing about "morning wins" that have been sent in by members of the public. "Morning wins"? Say it out loud. No, me neither. I wonder whether the creatives wrote that line. Or were forced into it. I really hope it was the latter. He gives it his best, but this may not bear as much repeat listening as our Rick.

The Start-Up Loans Company. A bloke bemoans his life commuting to work. He thinks he’s turning into his dad. He needs a loan. That’s it. Maybe he should do the lottery like the grandad in the next ad.

Camelot. A real phone call. Or, at least, sounds real. Old fella being told he has won £6 million. Love it. Super-simple. Really fresh. Avoiding the clichéd thought of what you would do with the winnings. Instead, merely capturing the moment when people are told. Maybe this is part of a campaign? That would be great. Well done to all involved. There is hope.

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