Radio Tagging: the new-fashioned way to buy

September 22, 2009

IPOD together

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with clients and creative agencies lately about radio. Comments which are bouncing back and forth in the debate include: “young people don’t listen to radio” and “our creative platform wouldn’t work on radio”. I feel this does radio as a medium a huge disservice and I’d like to take the opportunity to challenge these assumptions.

(I’d also like to point out as a disclaimer, that I have no connection to the Power of Radio campaign on air at the moment, although our sister agency Cawley Nea TBWA are responsible for the creative – and I personally find it a really compelling piece of copywriting).

We know that the Irish have a particular cultural affinity to radio – daily listenership figures in Ireland tower over other countries (86%). There’s something about the intimacy and local nature of radio that really appeals to us as a nation – it’s like town gossip on a larger scale. And even in the world of Irish youth, the world of Limewire, LastFm, Spotify Apps on the iPhone – young people are still tuning in to radio in droves (half a million Irish 15-24s listen on a daily basis). The regional youth stations, Beat, Spin SW, iRadio NW & NE, mostly new to the market, are rapidly gaining huge followings in a very short space of time.

Creatively, radio is seen as a challenge. With low costs to entry, it means that advertisers without the production budgets of the big boys, can partake.  This democratises access, but it doesn’t always lend itself to the highest levels of professionally produced creative gems. If you are consistently hearing such a poor standard of creative on radio, it’s no wonder you assume that it must be the constraints of the medium at fault – no visuals etc. Whereas in fact, there is no reason the best creative talent can’t get it right – good copywriting is made for radio.

Never fear, we need only turn to Apple, to glimpse the future potential of radio – they have finally introduced a radio function onto their new iPod nano. But this is Apple we’re talking about, and therefore this is no ordinary radio – it’s a “Sky +”. That means you can pause live radio, rewind it and fast forward to catch up with the live broadcast. Most usefully, you can also tag any song you hear on the radio, and then it will automatically sync up your tagged list in the iTunes store, ready for you to buy.

Imagine when this type of function can also be applied to the products in radio advertising.



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