Although one might believe that radio is becoming obsolete thanks to “radio killer” streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, that could only be farther from the truth. According to Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR), approximately 49 million adults in the UK continue to listen to the radio. RAJAR also stated in its Q2 2022 report that those 49 million consumers spent an average of 20.4 hours each week tuning in to their favourite radio stations — with the vast majority doing so via smart speakers.
Radio gives brands and companies a unique touch point to reach both their current customer and potential customers alike. And thanks to radio’s potential return on investment (ROI) of around £7.70 per pound spent, according to Radiocentre. It’s no wonder that the radio advertising industry has remained strong all these years.
So, much like the state of TV advertising, it looks like radio — and radio advertising alongside it — is definitely here to stay.
Regardless of whether you’re a small business or a large multinational, radio remains a powerful marketing tool that any company can utilise. However, because of its unique characteristics of being a sound-only medium, creating a radio advert is its own art form. Let’s talk about the various types of radio adverts available, and we’ll share with you how you can create a great radio ad script using some of the best radio campaigns that you might have come across recently.
Image credit: B&T
There are a number of different types of radio adverts that you’ll hear today — and not all of them during ad breaks! With the exception of the BBC Radio family of stations, most radio channels in the UK will have ad breaks during and between shows which are typically 3.5 minutes long. That would translate into roughly seven 30-second commercials per ad break.
However, not all radio adverts are broadcasted during those ad breaks. To understand what we mean, let’s take a look at the six different types of radio ads that you would have come across on the radio:
Much like the different types of TV adverts, radio advertising is also able to play on the strengths of peer opinion by featuring customer testimonials within their ads. With a great product, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be shouting the opinions of your happy customers off of every rooftop. Especially not when it’s known that the customer testimonial is one of the most convincing types of advertising out there today.
Some studies have shown that a whopping 92% of consumers are more likely to be convinced to make a purchase after hearing positive peer reviews. While marketers can always try to convince the public to choose their product over their competitors, the ultimate decision tends to fall upon the opinions of people similar to the audience being targeted. Because people with a higher degree of similarity tend to have favourable opinions of the marketed brand, this means that the ads for this product are more likely to be successful.
The advertising business as a whole, but particularly the radio sector, holds the assumption that consistent exposure to an ad over time will lead to better response rates. Having a radio show sponsor is a great method to get your brand in front of listeners repeatedly while remaining unobtrusive and fitting in with the show’s overall tone. The sponsorship-style of radio advertising also tends to lean into the “testimonial” side of things, where consumers are more likely to feel positive about a brand if their favourite radio host is willing to have them sponsor their show!
Sponsoring a news or contest segment allows you to reach listeners at their most receptive. This helps integrate your brand into the show and subtly nudges viewers in the direction of purchasing your product or service in a much more natural way.
Everyone knows what a jingle is — we’ve all heard them. There was even a trend once upon a time where every single company wanted one of their own! From the now globally-iconic “Bada-ba-ba-ba I’m lovin’ it” of McDonald’s to the catchy “0800 00 10 66” jingle that has kept the phone number for Hastings Direct stuck in our heads for almost two decades!
Jingles, when written well, are a great way to get information across — and get that information stuck in the listener’s head. Because of the strong association between music and memory, jingles are considered the most effective kind of radio advertising. Harnessing the power of the earworm by creating a catchy jingle has been shown to do wonders in stimulating a company’s sales!
In the same way that a good story encourages the listener to visualise the scene in his or her head, a good personified radio advert should do the same. Personified adverts involve voice actors “acting” out a scene in order to sell a product or service — with the additional difficulty of needing to spark the imagination of the listener. Having likeable characters in the plot will make the audience care about what happens to them and keep them watching to find out what happens next.
Many companies fall into the trap of allowing the “wrong” voice actors to be hired to act out the script, those that are more likely to annoy the listener and have them zone-out rather than tune-in. Sometimes, the scripts that are used don’t make sense for the brand nor product at hand, which usually confuses the listener and doesn’t help them remember the ad. Hiring the right people to create your radio advert can ensure that the right voice actors are used, the correct scene is set audibly, and the best script is written to tie it all together.
With a live read, the radio host of the slot you’ve purchased will personally read your commercial copy to their audience. Similar to brand sponsorships, this style of radio advertising integrates your brand and message seamlessly into the fabric of the station, making it more likely to be heard by the people most interested in what you have to say. However, unlike sponsorships, live reads tend to be a bit longer than “This programme is sponsored by [your company]”, allowing the host to help sell your company, product or service better.
Live reads are also more convincing since people are more likely to pay attention to the opinions of a credible party, such as a radio host, than they are to the official business line. This is why companies still engage with influencers and celebrities when creating different types of advertising, including on TV and radio, because they know that a familiar face tends to be more credible as a company spokesperson compared to anyone otherwise.
A straight read is a form of “produced” radio ad example in which an advertiser writes and records the copy for airing — usually with the help of voice actors. It’s perhaps the purest form of radio advertising, where there’s typically no acting nor singing involved, just a voice actor reading a script. The majority of these types of radio commercials can have up to a few voices presenting a scripted message that highlights the positive aspects of the advertised company, its product or service, or an offer they may have.
Usually, the end of a straight read will include a call to action, such as a website URL or phone number, and other contact information to let the reader or listener get in touch or make a purchase. These radio commercials not only increase sales but can also help raise brand awareness. To appeal to listeners at varying points in their relationship with the business, radio commercials will often blend a straight read with a jingle at the end — especially when reading out the company’s website or phone number.
When you’ve decided on the best type of radio ad for your brand’s marketing strategy, it’s time to sit down with a reliable advertising agency partner to write a script. It’s extremely important to come up with a script that fits not just the style of advertising you’re aiming for, but also one that matches the brand of your company. This, coupled with an enticing call to action (CTA), will help amplify the effectiveness of your next radio advertisement.
With all that said, here are five useful tips that you can use to create an effective radio ad script:
How can you entice your radio ad’s listener to follow through with the CTA at the end? Work backwards from it. While this sounds counterintuitive, it’s possibly the most effective way to work a radio script. Starting from the end — which usually is the CTA — will help you build a better journey towards it.
With only 30 seconds to use to lure the listener into making that purchase, visiting your website or calling your number, it’s usually best not to overcomplicate the script. Avoid losing the attention of the listener, and be sure to stick to the point. Keep your radio ad script as simple as it can be — have an introduction (usually highlighting a problem to solve), a climax (using the product or service being advertised) and ending with a happy customer.
Regardless of your advertising medium of choice, the first few moments are always crucial to draw the attention of the target audience and keep them engaged. In advertising, the first few seconds of an ad is called the “hook” — and the reason why is because that’s exactly what it should do. Be punchy; immediately create an environment that’s perfect for your target audience because if your hook fails to do its job, your radio advert won’t be as effective.
With radio advertising, it’s important to remember that although a majority of listeners tend to be at home, many are still listening to the radio while driving. So, be sure not to use a hook that might put drivers in danger or risk it not being approved by Radiocenter, which is the industry body responsible for upholding the Code set by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) for radio advertising.
If you don’t already have one, you should definitely consider implementing sonic branding for your company. The term goes far beyond licensing a famous song that plays on all of your commercials — radio or otherwise. Sonic branding effectively relates to a single jingle that people will relate to your company and allows people to instantly recognise that a radio ad is from your company, even if they’re not really listening. Some of the most famous “sonic logos” include McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it”, Yahoo’s yodel, Netflix’s tudum and Audi’s vorsprung durch technik — all of which just played in your head, we bet!
Honesty is the best policy, especially in advertising! The UK Code of Advertising forbids companies to overinflate claims or mislead audiences in order to gain a sale — and there’s no wonder why! Imagine hearing an advertisement on the radio that boasts about a product feature, only for you to purchase the product to discover that the feature doesn’t work as advertised. Not only does it paint a negative image of the company, but that negative experience can more easily be spread around thanks to the power of social media.
We like to believe that the best marketing strategies utilise every medium at their disposal. When you use a multifaceted approach, it helps with writing the script of your radio advert to match with the tone of the other mediums. Not only does this help broaden the scope and reach more potential customers, but it also helps with ensuring that your brand stay at the forefront of people’s minds as they would have not just heard your catchy ad on the radio, but also see it on their favourite social media or even on the telly.
You might not be surprised to know that 30-seconds isn’t a lot of time, especially when you need to get quite a bit of important information across to radio listeners. There is definitely a delicate balance between providing all the information you want your radio ad listener to absorb about your brand, product, service or offer while at the same time being able to ensure that the message is sent across. Speak too quickly to cram more details into your radio ad, and you will risk nobody having any idea what your ad is trying to sell.
That’s why the creative aspect of radio advertising is so important. If you’ve never been involved in radio advertising before, you will quickly come to realise that the word count of your radio ad script matters. Hence, the recommended word count of a 30-second radio ad script is between 75 to 85 words. That isn’t that much room to work with, so every word needs to count!
Now, with all those tips in mind, let’s take a look at a few great radio ad examples that you can draw inspiration from for your next ad campaign!
Domino’s really wants you to yodel out the windows with their marketing campaign that was all over TV, radio and social media. The pizza company took the traditional jingle and spun it on its head — in the same way that Yahoo did back in the day. Try thinking about Domino’s now without thinking about yodelling.
How’d you get your mates together with Domino’s? First, you need to find a chest voice.
How’d you get your mates together with Domino’s? First, you need to find a chest voice.
Then, find your head voice.
Then, move your voice quickly between the two focusing on where it breaks.
Or, you can just use group ordering on the Domino’s app.
We got this.
Complimenting their TV ads, the meal kit retailer Gousto successfully made cooking sound more fun by utilising upbeat, energetic music to stimulate the mood of making an amazing meal.
Does your Tuesday night dinner sound like this? [One to Another by The Charlatans plays]
Does it get your taste buds dancing like this? [Rampage by Kavinsky plays]
Get them marching to a fiery beat like this? [Enola Gay by OMD plays]
Or does your dinner sound more like this? [Plop followed by an exasperated sigh]
Then it’s time to grab your dinner by the box. With Gousto, who says Tuesday can’t taste like Saturday? Choose from over 60 tasty recipes delivered to your door every week.
Sign up at gousto.co.uk and give it some.
You have a set of earphones to sell, but how do you do it without doing the same old same old? Samsung had an idea — why not endorse our new earphones by ears themselves? With the help of Big Narstie to play your ears, the advert utilises binaural sounds to really make it feel like you’re hearing your own ears speak to you.
Oi, bossman, it’s your ears here. Now you know I love tunes, yeah?
So what’s with these tinny things you keep shoving down my canals, bruv? Ears want comfy, fit and proper sound.
Galaxy Buds 2, ya hear me? With the bad boy bass, low-frequency vibes. Boom!
New Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 — endorsed by… ears!
And quit poking your fingers in, yeah? Personal hygiene, cuz.
Search Galaxy Buds 2.
Deliveroo were proud sponsors of the England national football team and they definitely wanted everyone to know it. With the voiceover talent of comedian and TV presenter Karl Pilkington, the ad used a food-related play on words in the style of “England ‘Til I Die”.
Pork bao. Lamb dhansak. Chicken taco. We’re quattro stagioni, with Calabrian pepperoni. We’re prawn szechuan. We’re keema naan. We’re England till we dine.
Our hearts are England crazy, our mouths are more jalfrezi. We’re partisan. We’re parmesan. We’re England till we dine.
We’re proud to sponsor England and deliver food from everywhere.
Deliveroo. Food. We get it.
Download the app and order now, subject to availability. Fees, Ts and Cs, and geographical restrictions apply. Fish and chips also available.
Voiced by the brilliant Helena Bonham Carter, this radio ad by Sky did a great job by luring people in with not just a famous voice, but also keeping listeners enticed by the rhyme she reads.
Magic awaits, so listen to me. For the first time, Sky’s in a Sky TV.
Remove the dish, the box and wires. And meet Sky Glass, it’s all you require.
The apps or shows you want to try, to someone quick, say “Hello Sky”!
So believe in magic, enjoy the view. Sky Glass will put its spell on you.
The streaming TV made from Sky. Sky Glass — made of magic. Search “Sky Glass”.
Requires Sky TV and app subscriptions and a minimum 10 Mbps broadband. Coming soon.
We hope that some of these great radio ad examples have inspired you to get creative with your next radio ad campaign. Don’t forget that the most effective way to a successful marketing campaign is by not just utilising the power of radio, but all advertising platforms that are available at your disposal! When you partner with an experienced advertising agency, they’ll be sure to help you create the best, all-around advertising campaign for your brand — from TV to radio.
Keen on seeing what radio marketing can bring to your brand? Get in touch with an experienced advertising agency who’ll be able to help you get the job done!