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    Advertising on radio should not be limited to a 30 or 60-second spot. There are advertisers who go beyond the ad-break to get a definitive recall from their consumers. They do it either by disruption, tweaking the radio stations’ format or, many a time, have their product spoken about rather than use a radio jingle.
    In India, ad breaks can give you high blood pressure. Most of us, when we listen to a commercial break (on any station) will turn the volume down until the music comes back on. Hardly any thought goes into making a commercial today. Vintage formulas keep getting applied, which makes even a new product sound old. Production values are at an all-time low because advertisers want to bypass the cost of making an ad (via an advertising agency) and, therefore, leave the job to the station to execute. The end product is a chaotic compilation of noise, voice and cluttered music.
    It is imperative to ‘audiolize’ on radio—let the listener/consumer imagine what they hear. Unfortunately, in today’s radio stations, everyone seems to be a filmmaker and that’s why commercials sound far-fetched and, most of the time, miss the point. Most listeners tune off when there is an ad break or when a presenter sounds like a croaking frog. Both these problems are solvable. However, many radio units prefer to sound mediocre as it’s in their DNA.
    There has been no sign of any path-breaking creative idea for a long time now. In Germany, where one out of 11 people die of drunken driving, the authorities decided to get ‘in their ears’ by setting up small radio stations, in the shape of wooden crosses, at locations where fatal accidents had occurred. These crosses or ‘Radio Ghosts’ would interrupt FM station broadcasts with radio pods that presented the accident from the victim’s perspective. The campaign was extremely successful because it not only made you aware, but also made you experience the message and share the same with others. Here’s hoping 2016 will be a new beginning for Indian radio.


    — talkingradio@gmail.com  The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.


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