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Ad Debate | Is radio an indispensable medium for Indian advertising?

Ad Debate | Is radio an indispensable medium for Indian advertising?
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First Published: Wed, Sep 05 2007. 12 37 AM IST

Josy Paul, National Creative Director, JWT India
Josy Paul, National Creative Director, JWT India
Updated: Wed, Sep 05 2007. 12 37 AM IST
Josy Paul, National creative director, JWT India
Radio is a personal medium. It is suicidal to deny it when you think brands
Josy Paul, National Creative Director, JWT India
Radio is a personal medium. It seeks to reach the individual, not the masses.
If it weren’t for radio, there would be more lonely people in the world.
Last year, two of the biggest hits in Bollywood were centered on radio.
In Lage Raho Munnabhai, the title character solves people’s problems through radio, while Rang De Basanti used a prominent radio station to get its message across.
There’s no medium like this one. It’s so personal. Two prominent commercials—Kya Aap Close Up Karte Hain (for Hindustan Unilever’s toothpaste brand, Close Up) and Kuch Log Sumo Chalate Hain (for Tata Motors’ SUV Sumo)—started out as radio commercials first and then moved on to television.
If you are a marketer focused only on squeezing budgets for your clients and getting numbers, then dropping radio from your media list could make sense.
But for me, as a person who only thinks brands and not budgets, it is suicidal to deny any medium.
Especially one that’s called the theatre of the mind.
R. Balakrishnan, National creative director, Lowe India
Unless radio content improves, it will be a background medium
Why is radio airtime so much cheaper (than ad spaces in other media)? If the FM boom in India got in fat audiences and fatter media plans, why aren’t the advertisement rates higher?
R. Balakrishnan, National Creative Director, Lowe India
The simple answer is that radio does not score much, either on reach or on audience base. Then again, no segmentation is possible. The content does not keep listeners glued on. Radio listeners are twice as fickle as television viewers, and the moment a commercial break comes, they simply move on. And there’s nothing to get them back.
The programming consists of plain music, unlike a sticky soap opera on TV. Creating a radio commercial is twice as difficult because you can’tuse visuals. Then again, listeners don’t pay much attention to the commercial because of the deficiencies of the medium. Unless radio broadcasters get together and provide quality content, why should listeners stay? Until that happens, it will always be a background medium.
And thirty seconders will hold so much more appeal.
As told to Anushree Chandran
anushree.m@livemint.com
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First Published: Wed, Sep 05 2007. 12 37 AM IST