Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time for radio medium to demonstrate its muscle

6 May 2009, 0452 hrs IST, Ashish Khazanchi

While the viewership of TV, I assume would be giving way in part to internet

, radio on the other hand isn't really suffering the same fate. People
on the go are still tuning in to radio and across the world audiences still
have their favourite stations and RJs etc.

In fact, there is a fresh lease of life for radio on the digital medium as
well in the form of internet radio. There are newer challenges that need to
be addressed for the newer ways of delivery of radio. Amazingly, on the net,

it is possible now to actually double click on the 'radio spot' and go to
the brand's site for more information!

Radio does suffer from the 'tertiary medium' syndrome in most countries
including India. It is possible for a brave brand manager or an agency to
turn conventional wisdom on its head and use this medium to get a higher
share of voice and recall/ preference .

The problem is, radio is tough to do, there are no pretty pictures or
sashaying models to hide an ugly idea behind. 'Real men of genius' campaign
on the other hand has delivered as much for Bud Light as their television
campaigns. In a fraction of the cost as well, if I may add.

The crafting of the spoken word more than anything else is critical in a
medium like radio. It's a rare radio spot that sounds like the conversation
that we hear in normal life. Also does the radio spot only tell me a
cerebral idea or does it do something to me? Does it make me smile, laugh,
cry, or think? A good radio campaign like any other communication platform
must make me feel. Otherwise it's a banal print ad.

We certainly have moved some distance from the Sholay and Deewar radio spots

these days. The work coming out of some of the agencies in the country are
finger licking good. The majority of our work are still at a good joke
followed by the brand name stage. The crafting of radio spots coming from
London and even the US has changed completely over the years.

The Frankie and Louie radio campaign and the 'Real men of genius' campaigns
for Bud are specially note worthy. Starburst radios have been laugh out loud

funny. Some of the work done for the Samaritans still makes me reel after
all these years. From India, one of my favourite campaigns is the Happydent
series. The campaign done by Rediff YR for Colgate on pick-up lines was also

superb. Fevicol and WWF have all done some awe-inspiring work in the past.

I expect to see fresher approaches in radio this year. This part of the
globe had a massive breakthrough in Cannes last year with the 'fading
memories' radio last year. I expect it would have had an encouraging impact
for a lot of smaller brands who have traditionally not been among the big
winners there in the past. I have heard about some great work from
Australia, which I look forward to hearing at Cannes this year.

The slowdown could just be the opportunity that this medium has been waiting

for. In the years of excess, all the expensive media made merry and radio
remained the after-thought medium. This is the time for this medium to
demonstrate its muscle. It is inexpensive and unlike TV, there is no loo
break when the commercials come on.

Ashish Khazanchi is national creative director, Publicis Ambience and on the

jury panel of Radio Lions at Cannes 2009

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