Top 9 Best TV Ads For Radio Stations
April 14, 2015
There's a brand new TV ad for BBC Radio 1, the youth radio station in the UK. It's sixty seconds long, it's pretty spectacular, and it's here on YouTube. You should go and watch it.
I have to confess, I don't understand it much. Arguably, I shouldn't: I'm way outside the target market. It took international radio consultant Francis Currie to explain it to me. "The video is an obvious metaphor for articulating the hidden potential in (young) people: 'extraordinary things come from ordinary people.' As such it's a simple, attractive and affirmative story."
If you asked me, it's a lovely ad with amazing cinematography which tells a great story; though I don't really understand where Radio 1 comes into it.
However, it got me thinking about some TV ads for radio stations that do a little more than just play a couple of hooks over a radio station logo. As an ex-advertising copywriter myself, with a few awards to prove it, I know a thing or two about effective advertising. So here are a few UK radio ads that you might like.
Top 40 station Capital FM has a good line in star-filled TV ads - everyone from Sam Smith to Taylor Swift star in their current ad (I believe it's a format that US readers might recognize). As a national radio station with a huge amount of FM frequencies, it isn't very easy to give the FM frequency at the end of the ad, but I thought it interesting that it promotes an understanding that the station's on FM, also online and has an app.
West Midlands Hot AC radio brand Free Radio has a dancing hamster - a quite cute way of playing some song hooks while reinforcing the personality of the radio station.
One of my former stations, the original Virgin Radio, ran this set of three music positioning ads in 2005; I really like these ads, since they convey the great feeling of escapism that great music gives you even if you do a dull job. They're really nicely filmed, too.
And if money is no object, it's worth looking at what the BBC did for their promotion of Alternative music station 6music - a really nice music positioning ad which is both simple yet really classy.
So far, I've focused on music positioners. Both Capital and Free Radio have local personalities on breakfast in a number of different areas, which means it's hard to put the personalities in front of the camera; and in many cases, it's pointless doing so since they're radio personalities and not instantly recognizable.
But in the mid 2000s, Capital FM, then a London-only station, had just relaunched their breakfast show with a new talent. I'm guessing the brief for this ad was to promote the new guy - a recognizable star from TV - and underline that Capital was a station for London and not national, like the main competition. Sadly, only a low-quality version exists of this, but I love this ad. Really, really nicely produced.
These ads, again for BBC Radio 1 but from 1995, are really good at highlighting what the station was about: both from a music and a personality point of view. Interesting how radio's changed since then; and how the personality appears lost from much of what we see now.
And, goodness, how we've changed. While the current ad for Magic, a relaxed AC station, is capable enough if not massively interesting, here's the launch ad for the station in 1998. This ran a few weeks after launch to an audience who had never heard of a radio station called "Magic." After watching it, you'll understand why they did nothing for the station's figures at all.
The question we're all asking here is - is BBC Radio 1's pizza-delivery girl advert a piece of marketing genius: or just another dog with flappy ears?
(Oh, and if you've a favorite radio ad, it would be great to see it in the comments.)