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The Radio Strikes Back

7 Sep

As a London based company, we’re all affected by some of the marvellous delays on the tube, none so much as today, with the walkout of over 800 tube staff in a dispute over safety or coffee or something.

So, we all spent the early hours of the morning falling asleep on somebody’s shoulder on the ‘sardine tin’ bus getting to the office or donning the trouser clips and hopping on the London hire bikes .

But now we’re all here… our desks… various stages of dishevelment (is that a word?), who do we turn to in order to get us home?

The answer, of course, is that we listen to the radio. Our cuddly friend in the corner is pumping out up to the minute updates on the changing situation as radio becomes our critical ally in the battle against the dark forces of the tube strikers.

Wouldn’t this be a great time to advertise on radio your bike brand / hotel chain / train company / stiff drink????

At Radio Experts, we’re always on top of what’s up, what’s down and what’s not even left the tube station in the UK radio advertising marketplace. And because we’re such a committed bunch, you can rely on us to get to our desks, come rain, wind, sleet, snow or London Transport meltdown (conditions apply).

Now….how am I going to get home?

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.

Radio Expert talks Radio Advertising on BBC Radio Five Live

12 Aug

Once again the media industry turns to Radio Experts for expert comment on all things radio. Click here to listen to our Managing Partner, Tim Cowland speaking to Peter Allen, Aasmah Mir and Radio 5’s near 7 million weekly listeners.

The subject was an anti terrorism radio campaign and it appeared on the afternoon drivetime show (5 Live Drive). As you can hear, Tim didn’t pull any punches as he fought the corner for the commercial radio industry.

Well done Tim!

Posted by Tam McGregor, Marketing Co-ordinator at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.

So Is the radio ad good enough to run?

10 Aug

You know the situation. You get a selection of scripts from Radio Experts. Which one, if any, do you choose? Which one is right for the brief you gave and the objectives you have?

Believe me it’s not easy and I’ve been writing commercials for radio for a very long time.

So you read them through. Do any of them make you sit up? Do any of them make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end – no, seriously?

Or are they derivative, dull, or trying desperately to be either witty or clever?

The first point is: never run with an ad you are not happy with and you are not prepared to justify to others in your company.

The second point is: is the script you feel most comfortable with as good as it could be? Could it be tweaked or worked on some more. The probable answer is yes.

The third point is: if you have doubts and someone says it’s ‘all in the production‘, press them because although there may be some truth in that claim, good radio adverts start with a good script.

The fourth points is: forge a relationship with the creative people writing for your company or brand. Get them to understand you and your brand better, get them involved in your marketing so they can better see what it is you’re trying to achieve as a whole.

Now read the scripts through again. Do any of the scripts still stand out? Not sure. Then maybe sleep on it. Or ask questions. Work with the creatives to squeeze every last drop out of the idea and achieve true radio excellence. Because excellence is what you deserve every time.

And it’s what Radio Experts aim to deliver. Every time.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.

Tune into Radio Experts FM

29 Jul

We’d all like to have our own radio station. So technologies like Spotify , Last FM, We7 Radio and others all allow you to access this world of Radio On Demand.

And just as we would all like to have our own unique radio station, so it is that every client would like to have radio commercials that are unique to his company and his brand.

Commercials he can call his own.

Which brings us back to Radio Experts, whose experience and expertise has helped clients across a wide range of disciplines: estate agents; tourism and travel; house developers ; private health insurance.

Clients who benefit from innovative planning, precision air time buying and stimulating creative.

Clients who demand to use a specialist and therefore expect the best.

Radio Experts has the client list and the testimonials to back up its specialist credentials.

Ask to see them. Even better give Radio Experts a brief.

Once you’re tuned to Radio Experts, you’re locked onto the best show in town!

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.

Time for Eloquence

22 Jul

Before TV, radio was an all – powerful medium. Sir Winston Churchill used it to bolster Britain’s morale to help win the Second World War.

His eloquence has never been equaled in 70 years. Why?

Well a 30 second radio commercial leaves little time for eloquence. But that’s no excuse for not trying. I don’t mean using flowery and high falutin’ language as favoured by Churchill.

I mean putting the case for your product forcefully, each word carefully chosen. Choosing words that will get the desired response from your target audience, both emotional and practical.

It is said that Churchill re-wrote and re-phrased his famous wartime speeches many times and that before delivering them he rehearsed in front of a mirror!

Ask your creative agency to work and re-work a script, to re-write and re-phrase until you feel comfortable that what you’re signing off is saying exactly what you want to say to get exactly the response you want from your audience.

I had a client once who, if he thought I was getting a little complacent or a little slap dash , would take my proffered scripts and scrawl across them : CALL YOURSELF CREATIVE?

There’s no greater put down for a writer than that.

Try it sometime. Hopefully you’ll never need to do it with Radio Experts !

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.

Our Fear of Silence

20 Jul

We’re all just a little bit afraid of silence. By ALL I mean those involved in creating, approving and producing radio commercials.

We feel compelled to fill every second of the commercial length – after all, we paid for it didn’t we?

Of course, too MUCH silence could throw the listener, inviting him to re-tune his radio, because he will assume he has lost the signal.

However, in filling every second of our precious radio advertising airtime we are in danger of putting 35 second scripts into 30 second commercials, cutting out all the breaths and presenting our listener with  nothing short of a gabble.

Perhaps we should all take a deep breath: treat the listener with respect. No talking down. No talking too fast. Let’s engage the listener, have a conversation with our audience, pause for breath, talk one to one and at a pace at which your listener can take in what we say and respond accordingly.

Nobody wants to have the equivalent of a lull in the conversation but let’s not be afraid of something many of us secretly yearn for sometimes – the sound of silence.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.

When two can be better than one.

15 Jul

Back in the 1970s in America, there was a comedy duo called Stiller and Meara who became spokespersons  for a wine called Blue Nun. Each commercial told a story, sometimes a little sad but always with humorous twists ,which ends in the couple sharing a bottle of Blue Nun wine. The equivalent today would be Gavin and Stacey making up over a bottle of Lambrusco.

The point is the scripts were witty, involving and the product was always the hero of the commercial, not just the two star voiceovers. OK, they had the luxury of 60 seconds but they got an unprecedented response from listeners who not only enjoyed the radio commercials, but also actually looked forward to the next in the series.

Perhaps therefore we should look further than the short term -consider producing more than one commercial and look for creative solutions that are also long term campaign solutions.

That way you build a bridge with the audience and who knows, it could be your commercials they start looking forward to.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.

On Radio as in life, see a Specialist

13 Jul

This is a shameless plug for Radio Experts. Nevertheless, it contains an essential truth.

Great radio needs specialist care and attention.

From the planning through the creative process to the finished production you need people who are thoroughly immersed in the medium. Why should that be?

The proliferation of stations has made the selection of the correct station to match your audience profile a highly technical and scientific exercise.

The lack of interest from some creative agencies – they still view it as secondary to television -belies a fundamental fact: many creative’s are scared of writing for radio because it leaves them very exposed. After all, there’s just words, music, sound effects and silence -no Hollywood movies to borrow from, no Youtube videos to plunder, no directors to hide behind.

Which brings us to Radio Experts. With collective experience of over 60 years, we are aptly named. We live and breathe radio. We think about nothing else. (Not nearly as sad as it sounds).

And we have the testimonials and case histories to back up what we say.

However, rather than rest on our laurels, we spend a great deal of time thinking about the future of radio – how to plan for it and how to meet the creative challenges it will bring.

You  think you’ve heard all this before? With respect, we don’t think you have.

Call us and find out what specialist treatment can do for you and your radio budget.

Do call us. Unlike some specialists, we guarantee an immediate appointment.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.

Demonstrating Excellence

8 Jul

One of the more difficult commercials to write for radio is the product ‘demonstration.’ It has long been the stock in trade for TV advertising:
“My product is superior and let me show you why.”

Yet radio should not be shy over this – what is required is the extra 20% of thought and craft to be as convincing as any visual demonstration.

After all, radio has the power to paint pictures in the mind, and from there it’s a short step to ‘showing’ the listener why Product A is superior to Product B. It has been called “selling the sizzle without showing the sausage.”

If you have a product that is demonstrably better, we will show you how radio advertising can demonstrate this to its listeners. Done well, it will prove very cost effective indeed. If of course anyone throws up their hands and says you can only do this on TV and by spending a small fortune in the process, give them our number. Just like your product, we’re demonstrably better!

We’re here to show you how it’s done.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.

Every Second, Every Word, counts.

6 Jul

Normally, a radio commercial is 30 seconds long. Take off five seconds for a phone number or website address and you’ve precious little time to make your case, tell your story, woo your listener.

30 seconds -it’s a good discipline, meaning the writer has to make every word count.

And that’s the currency so that’s it – or is it? 40 seconds is a maybe sometimes but second for second a lot more expensive than a 30.  60 seconds – now that’s as rare as hen’s teeth. Imagine then 90 seconds.

The general rule is that wherever possible it’s the creative that should drive the ad duration, not the ad duration that should drive the creative.

If media is a frame and creative is a picture, well a frame that’s too small is going to cause you no end of problems!

Here at Radio Experts, our clients regularly call us to simply discuss their marketing challenge. We’re able to immediately tell them what ad duration or durations will best fit their objectives. It can save everyone a whole lot of time, in more ways than one!

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising agency.