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Is radio the most visual medium of all?

Choose Radio is an initiative from the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland to encourage the Irish advertising industry… to… um… Choose Radio. So, for Choose Radio, we created a radio ad that challenged perceptions that radio isn’t a visual medium, and in turn showcased why its power shouldn’t be underestimated. Rather than going down the typical “theatre of the mind” route, i.e. using descriptive language to paint beautiful pictures in the mind’s eye, we opted for something edgier. We asked ourselves, what if we used descriptive language to create images in people’s minds that were, how do we put this, less than desirable? It’s often those sorts of images that stick in your head the most, and tend to be particularly visual. (Sometimes unbearably so.)

So, we decided to use this technique in ourscript to prove a point. That in an age where audio visual content is all the rage, Radio IS visual. And we were going to prove how visual, disruptive and entertaining it could be.

If all publicity is good publicity, then we got some good publicity. Listeners debated in the comment sections of national radio station’s social media, and some outraged listeners even called into Liveline with Joe Duffy to air their grievances. The issue was discussed live on air, some people seeing the humour of the ad, and commending its stand out appeal, and some people commenting that they didn’t like how the script painted a picture
they couldn’t get out of their head. It was TOO visual. In a roundabout way- proving our point.

Our Creative Director, Mark Tuthill, was invited to come on air to weigh in.
Following the fiasco, the ad went on to be selected as the global radio ad of the week on In a world where radio advertising is often ignored, blurring into the background and becoming white noise, we got noticed and spurred national debate on radio advertising as a whole in the process.