Radio Ads: A Year in Review

Radio 2015 Banner

Radio is a format that is often overlooked by media planners. It’s sometimes added to complement a TV campaign or to hammer home a brand’s jingle. Radio is much more than this though and can engage an audience in a unique way. It can help a brand to etch itself in the minds of listeners with only the power of sound.

The majority of radio adverts are extremely poor and don’t take advantage of the medium; a good creative allows the listener to generate their own meaning from the audio, making the advert much more memorable in the process.

Here are some of the best radio creatives from the past year to show that radio has the power to persuade and make a lasting mark on listeners:


The National University Centre for Organ Transplantation – Donated Voices

Organ Donation Radio Ad Banner This radio advert can be listened to by clicking here. This creative used the voices from deceased voice actors to promote organ donations. Why It’s Great: sometimes a radio advert grabs the listener from the moment it begins and holds their attention for the duration of the creative. This particular example is unique in its approach and ticks all the boxes of its brief. The listener is given the opportunity to make a direct association with organ donation and saving lives – something that remains a mere abstract concept for many. The sound of the voice actors is the best possible call to action.


Popclik – Autotune: Conference Call

Radio 2015 Banner 2 This radio advert can be listened to by clicking here. This creative takes an everyday conference call and gives it the autotune treatment. Why It’s Great: this creative is great because it’s fun and leaves everything on the table. It’s an idea that seems like a quirky concept but could easily have translated poorly to radio. Instead, the finished product is humorous and memorable and wouldn’t have worked on any other format. What’s more is that it’s an audio product being promoted using audio – a match made in heaven.


Crime Night/Cry Night – SBS Television

Radio 2015 Banner 3 This radio advert, along with others in the same campaign, can be listened to by clicking here. This creative features a conversation between two friends to promote a Swedish TV channel’s crime night. Why It’s Great: this is an example of a piece of audio that used the medium of radio to fool a listener into thinking they’re listening to a certain conversation, only to turn the meaning of the conversation on its head. In what could have been a run of the mill creative that simply states the time and date of a TV night, this example chooses to use a narrative approach to capture the attention of the listener before revealing the true purpose of the advert only in the final 5 seconds – but that’s all that’s needed.


Pedigree Adoption Drive – Give a Dog a Job

Radio 2015 Banner 4 This radio advert, along with others in the same campaign, can be listened to by clicking here. This creative takes a phone conversation between a man and a woman with a twist that isn’t obvious from the beginning. Why It’s Great: this advert is example of a creative that unravels in front of the listener and takes them on a journey, rewarding them with the true meaning of the message the further they listen. The power of the human voice is utilised to great effect, humanising an animal in a way that wouldn’t be possible on any other medium. It’s convincing and believable, whereas the scenario the advert depicts exists in the realm of fantasy.


New Zealand Book Council – Weather Forecasts

Radio 2015 Banner 5 A selection of radio adverts from this campaign can be listened to by clicking here. This creative utilises the creative writing skills of authors to give a unique perspective to weather forecasts. Why It’s Great: this creative works so well because it’s a concept that everybody knows and hears on a daily basis, but never as they’ve heard it before. The best ideas are often the ones that take the familiar and make them seem unfamiliar. This is an example of a simple idea that uses a staple of the radio world – the weather forecast – as a vehicle for promoting its own message in a way that raises a smirk and becomes a talking point.


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