01 Jun

Art into Science: How creative makes or breaks a campaign

There’s no disputing that radio is a compelling medium however its effectiveness can be determined by many factors – the most significant being the quality of the creative execution. It doesn’t matter how well an advertising schedule is planned, poor creative will stunt the performance of any campaign.

To help advertisers and agencies develop a more in-depth understanding of the role that creative plays in a radio campaign, Radiocentre, the industry body for commercial radio, undertook a comprehensive study aimed at putting some stats behind the theory.

The study analysed and merged two sets of data – the first being radioGAUGE; the commercial radio industry’s campaign effectiveness measurement tool. The second data set examined was the results from some neuro-testing research which involved monitoring levels of engagement in the brain whilst different radio ads played.

In the radioGAUGE research, the creative of over 600 radio campaigns was analysed and categorised based on the creative features included e.g. music, sonic usage, celebrity voice etc. By categorising adverts in such a way, it becomes easier to establish the role creative features in radio creative have on the overall effectiveness of a campaign.

For the neuro-testing element of the study, respondents were asked to take part in a typing task whilst listening to a selection of radio adverts that had been measured on radioGAUGE. Participants were hooked up to a monitor with electrodes to measure their brain activity throughout the task.

Consistency is key

From the analysis of the radioGAUGE data, the most effective audio features were identified as demonstrated in the chart below:

Not surprisingly the most effective ads presented listeners with familiar, recognisable and consistent audio features allowing them to quickly identify the brand being advertised.

The findings from the radioGAUGE analysis were similar to the results of brain scan activity. The adverts listeners positively engaged with the most, were the ones where the creative idea was consistent helping to draw the listener in through familiarity. This then allowed the information contained in the advert to be processed more easily.

The neuro researchers also explored how effective radio ads stimulate the brain. They found that ads which included effective creative features stimulated the part of the brain associated with pleasure, decision making and craving.

Radio is effective whether it’s used as a solus medium or as part of a wider media mix. When combined with TV, the research showed that having consistent creative links between TV and radio campaigns helped to maximise engagement by increasing listener attention. Powerful brand music and voice from TV campaigns is often overlooked when it comes to radio ads which can significantly undermine their effectiveness.

The study also highlighted how powerful a recognised strapline is on radio as it’s the only medium where straplines have to be presented audibly helping to reinforce the marketing message in the listener’s memory.

From this study, it’s clear that the most effective radio ads are the ones which are familiar to the target audience. Familiar constructs, music and voice help to positively engage with the listener. The listener quickly understands who is speaking to them allowing them to digest the advertising message much more efficiently.

Are your radio ads familiar? Are you making it as easy as possible for listeners to ‘hear’ the key messages in your ad? To find out more about making the most of your radio creative, contact the team at Kalua on 0161 933 7800 or click here to download the full results of Radiocentre’s Turning Art into Science study.

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