Audio

Our favourite 10 Cannes audio ads (that actually sell stuff)

What makes festivals like Cannes Lions so inspiring and important for our industry is how each year it raises the bar. Both in terms of creativity & craft, but also in terms of what the work is capable of achieving.

On top of a 5-day hangover and a tan, you leave Cannes with a real fist-pumping, chest-beating sense that the little ads we make each day actually have super powers. They can fight injustice, save lives, right wrongs, and make the world a better place any way imaginable.

It truly is a great feeling, knowing that our work can do more than grease the wheels of capitalism. But this greater purpose and the ever-growing importance festivals place on it, means the work which doesn’t do anything beyond selling stuff tends to be overlooked a little. I mean, how could it not?

So, we wanted to give some love to our top 10 pieces of audio creative that… well, actually sell things.



1.
Wendys: Rap Battle
VML KANSAS CITY

Wendys has become somewhat of a Twitter phenomenon for the sassy jabs they’ve taken at the competition. Recently, this beef evolved into a rap battle — and their fans demanded more. Not one to back down, Wendys stepped up to the mic and one-upped their Twitter rap battles with a mixtape packed with infectious beats and witty lyrical ties.

With a $0 media spend, the 5-track mix tape ‘webeefin?’ made it to number 1 on Spotify. But above and beyond being an incredible, on-point audio execution, Wendys took their fans on an incredible journey and proved once and for all Wendys is the undisputed rap battle champion of fast food.

Case Study

Twitter Fingers




2.
Volkswagen: People Can’t Stop Themselves
OGILVY CAPE TOWN

There are loads of benefits to stopping a car accident. But we’ve never seen (well, heard) this lateral leap before. This cringy and memorable Volkswagen campaign highlights how some people just can’t stop themselves (turning innocent situations into socially awkward predicaments) and that’s why Volkswagen’s come with brake assist.

Stalker


 

3.
Flight Centre: World Gone Mad
TBWA + HUNT + LASCARIS JOHANNESBURG

Young people have all the time in the world to travel, right? Wrong. This brilliant campaign paints a horrifying picture of the future to remind young people to travel now, before it’s not fun anymore. Talk about ultimate FOMO.

Date 


 

4.
FedEx: The Fastest Spot
WHITE RABBIT BUDAPEST

Communicating speed is one of those propositions that’s been floating around since the dawn of time. So, we’re always so exciting to see a fresh approach.

FedEx created short, snappy, and breathtakingly simple spots for digital radio. Listeners would hear “FedEx” in one ear, and their competitor spoken in another. Communicating, without a doubt, that everything about FedEx — even the name — is faster.

DHL

UPS

USPS


 

5.
Coca-Cola — Share a Coke 1,000 name celebration
FITZCO + MCCANN ATLANTA

Unless your name’s Roxanne, Jude, or a handful of other names immortalised in pop culture, most of us have never experienced the joy of having a song written about us. Until now.

To announce Share a Coke is back, Coke crafted a totally unique song for every name on their bottles. Over 1,000 of them. 1,000! This audio-led campaign launched on radio and digital radio — and it blew up socially from there. It’s not hard to see why. There’s just something about someone singing a ridiculous song about you (and the thousands of other with your name) that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Share a Coke


6. Cell C – IGUGU LEBO
1886 JOHANNESBURG

‘Amagugu Alelizwe’ is a traditional South African song sung at funerals. This instantly recognisable song was cleverly reworked to tell people — with Cell C — they no longer have to mourn the loss of their cell phone.

Here’s the script in English below.

CHOIR:

The most treasured thing.

The most treasured thing in Lebo’s life was her cell phone.

The most treasured thing.

The most treasured thing in Lebo’s life was her cell phone.

Bubble bathy

Bubble bathy, rubber ducky, taking selfies, looking fly

Perfect angle

Perfect angle, took forever, but she got the right shot

Felt like butter

Felt like butter, slippy, slippy, dropped her cell phone in the bath

Splashy, splashy.

Splashy, splashy… like titanic… sinking to the bottom

Hashtag oops, hashtag ‘ish’, hashtag no cell phone

(Humming under ANNCR…)

ANNCR:

{Brethren}…. You wouldn’t have to mourn the loss of your cellphone if you had C Surance from Cell C, which covers you against damage. So if anything happens, you’ll get a new cellphone.

CHOIR:

The most treasured thing.

The most treasured thing in Lebo’s life is her cell phone.

ANNCR:

Cell C. The power is in your hands.

IGUGU LEBO


7. Lysoform – The Last Germ
OGILVY CHICAGO

If Lysoform kills 99.99% of germs, what happens to the remaining 0.01%? This campaign imagines this world, where the last germ left alive comes to grips with his new lonely, post-apocalyptic reality.

The Last Germ


8. Snickers – 3PM Brainstorm
BBDO NEW YORK

You make bad decisions when you’re hungry. Snickers couldn’t have that. So in this campaign, they imagine group brainstorms that resulted in the horrible, horrible ideas that still haunt us today — like the overly-complicated counter-intuitive microwave button system.

Microwave


9. Castle Lager – Make a Different Friend
OGILVY JOHANNESBURG

In this campaign, we witness the mystical and confusing behaviour of a stranger. Yet, despite their weirdness, we’re encouraged to make first contact with this strange creature by buying them a Castle Lager, South Africa’s friendship brew. Because meeting someone different than yourself can be wonderful. (I’ll have to take their word for it, enjoy my personal space too much.)

No Sense of Personal Space


10. Lyric Opera of Chicago – Deaths
OGILVY CHICAGO

How do you persuade the younger generation to visit the opera? Simple. This simple yet extremely effective idea showcases that the opera it actually more violent, sinister, and creative than anything that on air today. And that’s just the murders!

Deaths

Was wirkt bei Radiospots wirklich?

Durch Storytelling Identifikation mit einer Marke herstellen oder mit Humor und Emotionen Aufmerksamkeit erzeugen – acht Regeln zur Kreation wirkungsvoller Radiowerbung, die funktionieren.

Die hier dargestellten Regeln basieren auf einer Analyse von fast 3.000 Radiospots, die auf Impact (Durchsetzungsfähigkeit) und Resonanz (inhaltliche Beurteilung) sowie verwendete Gestaltungsmerkmale und formale Kriterien überprüft wurden.*

*Beauftragt von RMS – Radio Marketing Service. Analyse mithilfe des IMAS PsychoMeters im Zeitraum von Januar 2005 bis März 2015

Die Top-Ten Spots aus dem letzten Jahr finden Sie hier zum nachhören.

1. Soundlogo, Jingle & Co. für mehr Durchsetzungskraft

Akustische Markenerkennungen bieten eine eindeutige Identifikation und bringen Marken ins Bewusstsein des Hörers. Unverwechselbarkeit und Kontinuität zahlen sich hier aus und führen zu starken Lerneffekten.

2. Kino für die Ohren

Die besten der getesteten Spots erzeugen Bilder im Kopf. Entweder durch „Visual Transfer“, das Abrufen vorhandener Bilder z.B. aus der TV-Werbung, oder durch „Visual Creation“, das Erschaffen neuer Bilder. Doch Bilder brauchen Zeit.

Hier gilt: Das Ohr sollte die Spotlänge bestimmen, nicht die Stoppuhr!

3. Emotionalität ist Trumpf

„Nicht nur überzeugen, auch begeistern!“ Wer seine Hörer bei den Gefühlen packt, erreicht meist mehr Aufmerksamkeit und inhaltliche Wirkung als mit trockener Sachlichkeit. Also nur Mut: humorvoll sein, liebevoll, leidenschaftlich …

4. Musik schafft Aufmerksamkeit

Musik schafft ein emotionales Umfeld, zaubert Gefühle hervor und Bilder in den Kopf. Sekundenschnell und ohne Worte. Musik lenkt die Aufmerksamkeit auf Marke und Produkt und lädt diese positiv auf, vorausgesetzt, sie lenkt nicht von den Inhalten des Spots ab. Sorgfältige Auswahl ist somit ein Muss.

5. Humor hilft

Humor erhöht den Impact und die Resonanz. Deshalb ist er ein beliebtes Stilmittel. Solange der Witz ins Schwarze trifft und kein Selbstzweck wird (oder die Grenzen des guten Geschmacks überschreitet) – Daumen hoch.

6. Storytelling schreibt Erfolgsgeschichten

Jeder hört gerne gute Geschichten. Eine Geschichte, in der das Produkt der Held ist, erhöht den Unterhaltungswert und die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass die beworbenen Informationen auch wahrgenommen werden. Aber: Wenn die Story nicht zur Produkt- und Markenwelt passt, erinnert sich der Hörer zwar an die Geschichte – nicht aber an das beworbene Produkt.

7. Wer leise ist, wird besser gehört

Für Audiospots gilt, was auch im Leben gilt: Schrei mich bitte nicht an! Die große Mehrheit der Audiospots beherzigt dies auch und setzt auf eine normale, ruhige Tonalität. Mit Erfolg, denn diese Spots fahren hinsichtlich Impact und Resonanz auf der richtigen Spur.

8. Sprachliche Besonderheiten für mehr Aufmerksamkeit

Sprache transportiert auch über Worte hinaus Bilder und ruft Emotionen hervor. Gerade für die regionale Aussteuerbarkeit von Audiowerbung kann ein entsprechender Dialekt die Glaubwürdigkeit erhöhen. Aber auch bundesweit gilt: Ein Audiospot kann mit einem interessanten Akzent punkten, er versetzt den Hörer z. B. sofort nach Italien, Schweden oder Frankreich und verleiht der Marke eine gewisse Besonderheit.

Write for the spoken word

Honesty is audible on the radio.

You can feel it in your bones when the person you’re listening to sounds authentic — like a real person. The flipside, of course, is we can hear dishonesty a mile away.

Humans have an uncanny knack for sensing insincerity. It’s something we’ve all developed over time to protect ourselves from dubious individuals, like people trying to sell us something! The moment your audience catches a whiff off insincerity, their guard goes up and you’ve lost them.

So, naturally, our radio ads need to avoid dishonestly like the plague.

Now, you’d be forgiven in thinking that this responsibility lies solely with the actor voicing the script. But it actually starts before that. It starts with writing for the spoken word — versus the written one.

Think about the last conversation you had. Now imagine how that conversation would look on the page. There would be a lot of ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’. You’d cut each other off. Ramble. Sometimes not even answer each other’s questions. Mumble. Say things that don’t make a lot of sense. Sometimes be super direct, and sometimes talk around the point. And all this seems perfectly natural – when spoken.

Seeing it on the page, however, can take some getting used to.

Now, I’m not proposing you write long scripts which ramble on about nonsense. Quite the opposite actually. Because when writing for radio, the language we use has to be more precise and simpler that other mediums. A reader can always reread something printed, or pause a video to ponder a difficult section. But in radio we need to engage listeners quickly and strongly, especially when working with ever-shortening durations. There’s no rewind button!

When we write for radio, we need to keep how people actually speak in mind. After all, what we write is going to heard, not read. So we need to talk honestly and emotionally. We need to write conversationally — like a real person. So we need to use language that’s authentic to the character in the story and the audience you’re speaking to. Because people don’t speak the same way as they write.

Here’s 6 points to keep in mind when writing for the spoken word. And some great examples of work that’s done so.

1. Use conversational language

2. Write simply and succinctly

3. Read your scripts aloud (does it sound natural?)

4. Time your script. Cut 25%. Then time it again.

5. Underwrite to leave room for a natural performance

6. Don’t be afraid to improvise in the recording

If you can do this, if you can manage to pull it off, you’ll have a much greater chance of connecting with your audience long enough to share your message.