Radio ads play the numbers game


The annual push by RTÉ Radio and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland to promote the merits of radio advertising got underway this week with an “If” campaign created by Emma Sharkey and Ray Swan, creative directors at McCann Ireland (the agency, now merged with Blue Cube is called McCann Blue).

Previous campaigns have been humorous with an emphasis on the production values of the medium. This year’s idea is to compare various audiences with what radio can deliver, so Pope John Paul II spoke to 1.2 million in the Phoenix Park but old Mr Brennan (of the bread fame) can speak to three million in a radio campaign.

Other advertisements compare Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill and the small audiences they spoke to compared with the reach of Harvey Norman and Gavin, the Autoglass guy.

Brave to mention the Harvey Norman ads – surely one of the more annoying, though admittedly memorable, advertising campaigns in recent years.

The figure the campaign is pushing is three million which Antony Whittall, commercial director for RTÉ Radio, says is the number of Irish adults who listen to radio at some point every day.

The delivery is cheesy and the script tongue in cheek, and the ads stand up to too much repeat listening – an interesting approach given that the 36 stations participating in the “choose radio” campaign must broadcast them three times a day for a fortnight.