In this recent blog post, I lamented the state of radio advertising but perhaps I didn’t go far enough. I’ve become used to listening through the ad breaks because I’m always looking for beacons of light and hope in the form of the few good ads out there. 

There are some good ones, then there’s a vast heap of standard radio ad fare and of course, some truly dire examples. Three in particular really get my goat but I guess that I should thank their creators for keeping me moving. You see, I’m one of those annoying health nuts; I go to gym, I ride a bike, I eat healthy, heck I even do yoga. I’ve found a new way to exercise because when any one of these three adverts pops up in the ad break, I lunge for the radio like a cheetah on speed. It’s become a point of honour not to listen to them for a millisecond longer than I have to, which means I’m working on my reaction time and mobility at least a few times a day.

I’m not even going to dignify them by naming the companies they represent. In fact, I’m not at all sure about two of them because I’ve killed the radio with great haste since I first heard the adverts. Before you even say it, no, just being aware of the ads, even hating them, doesn’t make me more likely to buy from the advertisers, that’s not how advertising works.

First we have that large insurer with the happy song about all manner of stuff that’s not going to break its stride. I’ve had a go at this “creation” before but it really is awful. It might have been cute for a brief flickering moment in time, perhaps casting some listeners back in time to when they were young, trim, funky and grooving to the original tune. After what seems like twenty million rotations however, it’s not cute; rather it’s the wrong kind of funky, the skunk kind.

Then we have something resembling an ad. I’m not totally convinced that it actually is an ad because it may well be a parody. There’s a lady, you see, and she’s singing. She just repeats “0800 something plumber” over and over and over. It wouldn’t be out of place in a dream scene from Twin Peaks or a nightmare sequence in a horror movie but boy oh boy, does it ever get me off my seat in a hurry.

Last but not least, no wait, maybe it is least, we have another sung introduction. Some gibberish about a rare auto dealer who’s also a hero from the west. John Wayne? Is that you? I didn’t know you sold cars. Who knows how a cowboy sing along intro to an ad is meant to convey anything meaningful but at least it kept a jingle writer and a singer in work, so I guess it’s of some worth. Not much good as an advert though in my ever so humble opinion, seeing as it detracts from the spoken messages that follow, making me take them far less seriously. Actually I’ve only ever heard the message once when I first heard the ad and wanted to see what company would be brave enough to run with an ad like that. It’s a major main dealer, can’t remember which one. I suspect that I’m not the only one who can’t recall…

Folks, I totally get the thinking behind using a jingle. Jingles can be memorable and they can definitely make a company or brand more approachable but they’re not a universal panacea. Also they surely shouldn’t be the entire ad. A bad jingle is interruption marketing at it’s worst. Jingles don’t replace creativity, they shouldn’t be the first port of call and they definitely can do damage if they’re done wrong. Unless your aim is to get people to change the station and ignore your message, in which case, bad jungles are awesome.

Just because the radio stations will create an ad for you at zero cost doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to do so. One of the universal truths is that you always get exactly what you pay for. Pay peanuts, you might well get monkeys.