The Buggles made a point with their 1979 hit single “Video Killed the Radio Star”. MTV brought in a new era of music where musicians couldn’t just be great musicians, they also had to have the look to go with it. Some bands struggled with this large change because if they didn’t join the music video scene, their music wouldn’t be heard and they would eventually disband. A few examples could be linked to the same situation radio advertising is facing with Social Media and Television.
“And who did the people want to see? It wasn’t Supertramp or Joe Jackson. In fact, it was the end of those guys’ careers. People got one look at Joe Jackson, and they said ‘Put the camera back on his shoes!’” -Dee Snider (paraphrased) on MTV, from Heavy: The Story of Metal
The biggest issue that hit the music industry was the people didn’t want to see ugly people on television. Some bands struggled to provide an image that was marketable and couldn’t sustain their previous success. Those bands that survived found that to compete with pretty bands such as Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen needed to have a gimmick. The best example would have to be Twisted Sister and their lead singer Dee Snider. With Twisted Sister struggling to find success they found that cross dressing would be their gimmick. Without being blessed with good looks they found that making their image as repulsive as possible, brought video attention to the band which in turn created a larger fan base. This is similar to the issue that radio advertising has been facing for sometime.
At one stage Radio advertising was the main advertising medium. Before Television or Social Media, families would sit around their radios instead. As the whole family was together products could be advertised for the whole family. This would also bring on children asking their parents questions about the products, and from a young age children developed brand loyalty from their parents views. Also as important was the way these advertisements were communicated. Instead of a flashy display and a lot of yelling the local radio announcer would speak the advertisement himself, with sometimes a quick jingle on the piano to recognise the brand. Now to keep up with television and social media, radio has had to get louder and bolder. The unfortunate path radio advertisements are going is trying to annoy people such as below:
The interesting part about these advertisements is that they are really effective. As soon as you hear that “Helloooo, Frank Walker from National Tiles” all I can think about is “not this guy again…”. However leaving the listener annoyed and disgruntled, also catches the listeners attention increasing the odds of the customer to enquire about the product. This is where radio advertising has come to today. By using the old radio advertising techniques of the 1950s, radio fell behind television and social media’s advertising power of visual aid. As the ugly bands with MTV had to have their gimmick to survive, so has radio advertising and they have chosen to be annoying to be successful.
So has anyone had enough of these annoying radio advertisements?
Have you heard of a more annoying ad than the National Tiles example?
How can radio complete with other radio mediums with using these gimmicks?
Is radio advertising dead?