Still one of the most outstanding radio campaigns within the South African radio sector in 2012 is undoubtedly the popular ‘Steve’ campaign. In a traditionally conservative business sector, it’s fair to say that it’s been a bold and rewarding move for FNB to place their entire budget for a major division on radio, demonstrating that the medium can be used very effectively as a primary medium for major campaigns.
Also impactful were the campaigns to launch Frank.net (below) and wonga.com, which were risky but highly effective.
With that, here’s a look at what made these campaigns work, and some of the trends that will shape radio advertising in the coming year…
The renaissance of the jingle
In the case of wonga.com’s use of the catchy ‘Mr Sandman’ tune, Kevin Hurwitz, CEO of wonga.com SA says, “The use of the ‘Mr Sandman’ jingle was entirely deliberate. Consumers are inundated with adverts these days, across all media, and we thought this song resonates with almost all people across a broad demographic.
“We have learnt a great deal from jingle-based campaigns – such as the fact that people really like to sing along to a feel-good, memorable tune (we suspected as much, but now we know for sure!) It has certainly increased the level of interaction and engagement we have enjoyed with our customers and this is something we find incredibly important.”
At a recent Audio Branding Congress held in the UK, research presented from the ‘Implicit and Explicit Effects of Music on Brand Perception in TV Ads’ study, suggests that feel good music leads consumers to like products more and be more persuaded by superficial elements of an ad, it’s fair to say that radio in this context is able to operate at a much deeper emotional level.
It’s these kinds of appealing messages and audio features that can transfer well – even on to TV campaigns – and enable radio to perform both the role of driving people into store whilst also building brand loyalty, well into 2013.
Moreover, these campaigns have prompted a revival in interest in radio by demonstrating that it’s not so much about reach, as it is about proving effectiveness in a credible and engaging manner.
Listeners take their stand
With the evolution of radio has also come the realisation that listeners are far more than groupings or numbers who can be bought using a series of runs and spreadsheets. They’re part of today’s popular and social networking culture and will subscribe to media that understand their needs and interests best, and allow them to express their views and opinions. Many South African radio stations are already making the most of this trend, ensuring they offer listeners a total, interactive experience.
Focus on the power of the message…‘No one listens to radio for the ads’
This is precisely why in 2013 well-written scripts that demonstrate an insight into the consumer’s mind, will get results. Every good campaign needs reach and frequency on the radio station, but good, creative execution and innovation is what will help advertisers stand out in the coming year.
Another trend that is slowly taking root in South Africa, says award-winning voice over artist (the voice behind campaigns such as Frank.net) Adam Behr is the ability to be ‘conversational’; “Also known as ‘realism’, what this really means is proper voice acting. Voice artists have to know how to act convincingly, using only their voice. After all, it is the context of these everyday conversations that are so important for an advertiser”.
Looking to 2013, radio’s greatest achievement will continue to be its ability to synergize with and amplify mobile and digital interfaces. According to TGI (Target Group Index), more than 1.2 million adult South Africans listen to the radio via their cell phone and more than 380 000 listen to the radio via the web.
Radio and digital – best of bedfellows
With the growing popularity of digital offerings, radio has not sat idly by, but has embraced it whole heartedly and used it to extend conversations between listener and station. To that vein, a lot of brands are seeing the value each media type brings to their overall campaign as opposed to just being driven by price.
Hopefully, the pattern of increased investment in radio, as demonstrated by brands such as FNB, wonga.com and Frank.net in 2012, is one that will continue throughout 2013. After all, the medium still commands a massive 31-million radio listeners every week – concrete proof that radio remains a very relevant part of everyday life for millions of South Africans.
That said, we need to move away from number crunching and provide the industry with tangible, credible examples of how radio has worked for advertisers and brands. And we’ll only do this by getting the industry excited about what radio is ultimately best at – results!
Long may RADIO live!
Matona Sakupwanya is GM of RAB.