One of the questions we are often asked is, why don’t you produce much radio advertising? As this comes up a lot, I thought I’d dedicate this blog entry to shedding a little light on the pros and cons of radio advertising, and sharing why we often choose other media over radio.

Most humans are highly visual. What I mean by this is, that when you hear something, you create an image of it in your mind. Here’s a test – when you speak on the phone to someone, do you immediately imagine their face (or try to imagine what they’d look like)?

The biggest problem with radio is that it is purely audio. It has only sound; voices; music; and sound effects. It is notoriously difficult to portray emotion, and also quality. You can only hope that the image you are trying to create, is created in the same way in the mind of the consumer.

Another example – you are trying to sell a high quality restaurant. You want people to understand why they should pay $40 for a main course. How do you do this in a radio commercial? You might have sound bytes of sizzling food; cutlery clinking; people laughing; wine pouring; but how do you know the image that is being created in the mind of the consumer? They might be imagining a busy family restaurant.

Radio is wonderful if you don’t need to rely on images or perceptions of quality – if you’re a lawnmower shop or a plumber. The chances are, a lawnmower looks pretty much the same to everyone.

Radio also works best when you have high levels of brand awareness; when the image in the mind has already been created, and you are just reminding your target market you exist.

If you’re an online business, radio can work well too, as it reduces the time between image creation (when they hear the ad) to image realisation (when they visit your website/store/office and adjust their image accordingly). The less time it takes inbetween these stages, the more effective radio advertising is.

For more pros and cons on different forms of media, stay tuned to future blog entries.