Anil Thakraney: Good FM, pathetic ads!

14 Mar,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Okay, so I have ‘upgraded’ to 94.3 Radio One and have chucked all my CDs into the Arabian Sea. Spending time in the car, despite Mumbai’s horrendous traffic conditions, has become fun once again. And I must say the RJs don’t ramble much, and the music collection is superb. A good mix of new stuff and retro. So far so good.


The only problem is the bloody ads. Most of them are sick, boring and nerve-wracking to hear. And each ad enjoys high frequency because radio is an inexpensive medium. Imagine what a downer it is to listen to rubbish in the middle of Coldplay and U2. This is like a tapori waiter on duty at the Zodiac Grille. Doesn’t work. So who’s at fault here, can we blame the radio station? Ideally, 94.3 should be picky about the sort of ads they broadcast, so that the overall ambience of the station doesn’t get screwed. They cannot disown the ads completely. But private FM radio stations are bleeding in India, so we really can’t blame them for lapping up whatever ads they can get their hands on. They have to survive, no? So I guess the station can be forgiven.


What cannot be forgiven is the sad quality of the radio ads. I cannot understand why, after all these years, agency creative directors don’t get this fantastic medium. At a very low cost, one can produce award winning work in this space. With no dependence on visuals, the listeners’ imagination can be fired, they can be left to fit in their own images. And how very tantalizing that can be! I suspect the key reason radio advertising continues to languish is that the entire attention of the ad agencies is focused on TV commercials. And perhaps radio spots are still being written by bored copy trainees, who must be treating it as a chore rather than as a creative challenge.


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Come on, dear Creative Directors. It’s a fab medium and a huge opportunity. Don’t waste it. And I would also appeal to the clients not to accept garbage scripts. They must put pressure on their agencies to come up with sparkling radio spots. Even if the spots cost less, money is being spent on them, so they better be paisa vasool. If the brand managers quietly accept mediocrity, then that’s what will be dished out to them.




PS: Haha. Armani shows you how to tip the room service staff. I strongly suggest you don’t try this out in a desi five star hotel. The consequences can be grievous!


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2 responses to “Anil Thakraney: Good FM, pathetic ads!”

  1. Pandrangrow says:

    You can say this again Anil! We have the same problem here with Radio Indigo (Bangalore). Reasonably decent music, but I did some counting the other day – 5 songs (5!!!!) in one hour. The rest was all ads and really bad, terrible, pathetic, horrendous, heartbreakingly awful ads. I am (was) an advertising guy, so I can’t decently complain about ads, but these are so bad, so turgid, so emotionally barren, so creatively handicapped and repeated so often that it generates a strange feeling in the stomach that normally comes when you’ve eaten something that has been prepared with sewage.

    And my daughter insists on listening to the radio! AAAAAAAAAAARGH!

  2. Shilpi says:

    I fully agree on this. However I think, more than the radio stations, the clients should be blamed. In most cases, the creatives of the radio advts are at the mercy of radio station’s wisdom and creativity. It is high time, the clients should understand that in the stupid spree to save cost for making creatives, such disasters are born!!!