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Radio Station-Produced Entries for 2009 Radio Mercury Awards - P

    • 1114 posts
    June 15, 2009 11:32 AM PDT
    "The Risk of Insult Is the Price of Clarity." - Roy Williams (The Wizard of Ads) OK, so I'm going to take the plunge and post the two commercials I submitted for this year's Radio-Mercury Awards competition (links below). They're not stunningly produced, but I believed the copy was sufficiently engaging (it certainly was from the clients' perspective) to be airworthy, if not competition-worthy. Though, frankly, I'd hoped at least one of them would make it into the finals, even if I didn't expect either of them to win the prize. I have been supporting the Radio-Mercury Awards since 2004, the year I first entered any of my work into competition. I was surprised and humbled when I learned that my submission had won the Radio Station-Produced award that year. But I was also encouraged by it and determined to improve the quality of all my work. The following year I entered 5 or 6 spots; one of them was chosen as a finalist. Each year thereafter I've entered one or two spots, though I will admit that none has been of the caliber of my 2004 entry (which, by the way, is still running on the air as part of a multil-spot campaign for the client, and still producing measurable results for him). Nonetheless, I've thought it important to support radio's premier advertising competition, to continue to raise the bar for our industry and advertisers. On May 21st I received the email from RAB announcing the finalists and immediately noticed, to my great dismay, the absence of any station-produced finalists. A telephone call to Meghan Buonocore at the RMA headquarters confirmed this, and I have to confess, it took me a day or two to come to grips with the judges' decision. As one of the early round judges this year, I had an opportunity to hear what I considered some good examples of station-produced advertising. (Listening to the best of them cemented the realization that my own entries weren't likely to win, place, or possibly even show.) It surprised me to see none of them emerge as finalists. After reflecting on the situation, my biggest personal takeaway was a resolve to do better work next time. But I can understand, and to a certain degree share the feeling expressed by other radio station folks that maybe the playing field for radio work wasn't completely level. That's water under the bridge now. I'd like to urge the RAB - Radio Creative Fund to consider balancing the final round panel of judges, by including representatives from the radio side, and not solely the agency side, to avoid the appearance of elitism. To the extent that this year's RMA competition has been tainted by the wholesale exclusion of the Radio Station-produced category, the RAB would do well to reach out to its station members to answer any questions, address their concerns, and attempt to make next year's RMA a happier occasion for everyone in radio. That said, may I invite anyone who submitted entries to this year's Radio-Mercury Awards to upload them here, so that this community, at least, can hear the quality of work being done at stations across the country. More to come....
    • 8 posts
    June 15, 2009 12:07 PM PDT
    Hi Rod, judging radio commercials is such a subjective exercise. I'm not allowed to enter the Mercury Awards as it's an American only competition. However, we entered this year's New York Advertising Festivals with the attached track for Thin Lizzy and we've made the finals - yet the same ad didn't win the local New Zealand competition (it remained a finalist). So, I'd suggest that you start your own advertising awards that excludes ad agencies and their big production budgets (that way - all radio entrants are on a level playing field) or enter your ads in some of the other international advertising awards in Europe etc

    I've attached our Thin Lizzy ad for you!

    Steve Keats
    Creative Director
    Smith & Keats Music
    New Zealand
    • 10 posts
    June 15, 2009 3:59 PM PDT
    I'm not saying these are the greatest ads that have ever been made, but these were our entries into this year's Radio Mercury Awards. I am proud of my staff and the work we do. Radio is one of the toughest businesses out there (I know, I have worked in a few), and we need to celebrate and share our good work.
    • 1114 posts
    June 15, 2009 6:02 PM PDT
    Patrick, thanks for taking time to upload and share your commercials. Enjoyed listening to all three (first time I'd heard any of them). Since two of my (many) favorite micros are Downtown Brown and 8-ball Stout, it was fun to hear a spot for their maker. The spot for downtown Fortuna did a fine job of conveying a pleasant and rewarding shopping experience. (As a stranger to the area, I'd be inclined to check it out after hearing the ad - and that's really the whole point, isn't it?) Turning the names on bottles into guests at Thanksgiving was a clever approach. Thanks for sharing your work!
    • 1114 posts
    June 15, 2009 6:11 PM PDT
    Catchy tune, Steve! Not being a prospect for Thin Lizzy (either the band or the make-up) I had to Google it to figure out what it was. Now the double-entendre makes sense to me. Nonetheless, it's obvious that you enjoy doing good work! Thanks for sharing it.
    • 2 posts
    June 16, 2009 7:08 AM PDT
    I'm loving the "Lost Coast Brewery" ad!
    • 2 posts
    June 16, 2009 8:02 AM PDT
    The snub by RAB and the RMA is extremely disappointing for "small market" radio stations on many different levels. I find it impossible to believe that there were absolutely NO submissions considered to be worthy!

    During this tough economic climate, it is interesting to note that small market radio is NOT suffering to the degree as are large market stations. Perhaps one reason is that small market radio serves it's advertisers and sells the value of radio - NOT the ratings of the station!

    I have spent almost all of my radio career, as an owner and now as a Director of Sales, in small market radio. My production departments have produced NUMEROUS commercials that were outstandingly creative and, more importantly, extremely effective for the customer - rivaling many agency produced spots!

    For our work not to even be considered is a slap in the face. Since when is creativity and originality a product of only ad agencies and their huge "creative" budgets? Creativity does not require a budget - just talent and dedicated radio people who want to do the best job possible for their advertisers! Large budgets would be nice - but not necessarily crucial to produce outstanding commercials.

    Since we were not "in the running" or, apparently even in the game, I believe that all of us who submitted commercials for consideration should have all monies refunded immediately. Our station owner emailed Meghan Buonocore with Mercury Radio with this request - and no response from Ms. Buonocore.
    • 1377 posts
    June 16, 2009 2:34 PM PDT
    I am posting for Marsha Strong, manager of KKBS FM in Guymon, Oklahoma, who emailed me her station's RMA entries this afternoon. Thanks, Marsha!
    • 39 posts
    June 16, 2009 10:44 PM PDT
    After listening to all the commercials on this page, the only ad I have heard that could conceivably be considered for an award was Thin Lizzy. Thin Lizzy would have made it to the finals, even during the hey-day of creative radio.
    • 1114 posts
    June 16, 2009 11:56 PM PDT
    Hi, Fran - Thin Lizzy is, indeed, a great spot. Listening to it again just now, it reminded me a little of Madonna's "Die Another Day" theme song, crossed with the "Turtles" spot for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which won a Mercury award a few years back. I'm grateful that Steve Keats was willing to share his work with us. Hopefully radio's creative "hey-day" is far from being over. Quite the opposite, I'm optimistic that our best days, creatively speaking, are yet to come.
    • 1 posts
    June 17, 2009 6:25 AM PDT
    Greetings. This was the spot I was encouraged to enter from a previous Mercury award winner. Paid for it myself, as the station didn't do so. With instructions like, "Know all the rules" and "Break all the rules" is just horse pucky. And BTW.. isn't that radio cliche' ? Isn't that what we strive to avoid in our daily work? I am starting a movment for those of us in local direct selling to totally bypass the RAB and give true credit where credit is due!

    This spot was done for a client that had an "agency" written ad that didn't work. They came to us and we actually made their phone ring. This was played on the number 1 news talker here in Austin and got tremendous results.


    Jim K.
    • 5 posts
    June 17, 2009 6:34 AM PDT

    Thank you for your comments here and on Eric Rhoades Radio Ink's "RAB Should Know Better" article.
    I would like to see a Radio Only Awards Competition based on client results. Call it the "Local Radio Results Awards" or something. All ads must be produced by the station staff for a local client and that client must submit the results of that campaign. Judging would be based on creativity and results. Actually, on second thought, throw out the judging... who needs to win an award when the reward was already received. We need to start rewarding on results, not just creative.

    Jinny Laderer
    vCreative, Inc

    Attached is a PSA we attempted to submit. It was written by David Neely, Marketing Consultant for Renda Broadcasting produced by vCreative, Inc. We attempted to submit it online 3 times and the site crashed. I took it as a sign to not submit.
    • 1114 posts
    June 17, 2009 10:00 AM PDT
    Jinny - wow! Terrific spot. And an important message, to get people to think about the consequences of their decisions and behavior. There was a story in the news this morning about a college student in Raleigh, NC who stole a few highway barrels to make "street art." He's been charged with theft and vandalism. People are turning the kid into some kind of hero because they like his art. The barrel company is grateful for the publicity they got out of it. So the message seems to be that the end (art, expression, creativity) justifies the means (stealing). I don't buy it. But that's the kind of sloppy thinking permeates our society. Anyhow...your spot does a great job of conveying that decisions have consequences. Well done! -Rod
    • 1377 posts
    June 17, 2009 11:13 AM PDT
    Love it!!!! Thanks for sharing. :-)
    • 6 posts
    June 17, 2009 11:56 AM PDT
    Wow, there's alot here to repsond to. I am the President of TransMedia and Spottraffic. We are a advertising Post Production studio in San Francisco producing hundreds of agency level spots. Many of you receive spots from us everyday through our Spottraffic system.

    However, my roots are in small market radio and I love the energy that you people are putting out. Agency produced spots are great - we produce them all day long - but hearing great spots dreamed up and prodcued on the local level is truly inspiring. And as many of you have said, producing results for the client is what it's all about...not just adding to one's "portfolio". As Rod said, the Thin Lizzy spot is great but what's it for? Creativity doesn't necessarily move product.

    Let small market radio rule. Results not Ratings. And everything else that is being said here. Here's to all you hard working "Real Radio People".

    • 8 posts
    June 17, 2009 12:31 PM PDT
    Hi Rod,

    Thank you for your reply - yeah, maybe Thin Lizzy wasn't a great radio commercial to
    share with anyone offshore as the brand is only know by women in New Zealand
    - even kiwi males thought it was a radio song and kept ringing the local radio stations
    trying to claim the no repeat workday cash prize! A better ad to share with you is the
    one attached for Auckland Zoo. It increased zoo visitor numbers fivefold. A nice story, theatre of the mind, a varied cast & easily adaptable to any zoo in the world!

    Steve Keats
    • 8 posts
    June 17, 2009 12:35 PM PDT
    Thanks Fran - if you liked Thin Lizzy - you'll love the track for Auckland Zoo (my personal favourite) - I've uploaded it for you to hear on another reply somewhere on this site!

    Steve Keats
    • 8 posts
    June 17, 2009 12:56 PM PDT
    Hi Sue,

    Yeah - a good radio ad starts with an original idea that clearly communicates the advantage of a brand - but quality talent can take an ad to an even higher level - and top talent has a value which ad agency sized clients are willing to invest in. Even though I work in radio - I persaude my clients to pay for talent as often as possible!

    Steve Keats
    • 1114 posts
    June 17, 2009 2:58 PM PDT
    Great spot, Steve. Reminded me a little of the "Turtles" spot I linked to elsewhere in this forum - different execution for a similar client. Add Simon and Garfunkel's "At the Zoo" and we'd have a stop set! I sent Doug Zanger a link to your ad. You and he need to hook up; two great creative minds! Thanks, mate.
    • 1114 posts
    June 17, 2009 3:13 PM PDT
    Dave, Welcome! Thanks for joining us - and for posting! Great to have you here. Just to clarify, hope you don't think I was criticizing the Thin Lizzy spot. It's not only catchy - but I'll bet it was also effective in moving their products down in New Zealand, where they're known and sold. I'd love to have regular access to that kind of talent. Steve made a great observation: "...a good radio ad starts with an original idea that clearly communicates the advantage of a brand - but quality talent can take an ad to an even higher level - and top talent has a value which ad agency sized clients are willing to invest in. Even though I work in radio - I persuade my clients to pay for talent as often as possible!" We do the best with what we have.
    • 1 posts
    June 17, 2009 4:18 PM PDT
    Enjoyed the spot. Something new to listen for every few seconds. Reminded me a bit of the old Bonzo Dog Do Daw Band's song, "The Intro and the Outro".

    • 39 posts
    June 17, 2009 5:01 PM PDT
    Even before the latest reduction of local announcers, production departments were already slammed. Gone is the time to be creative, gone is the copywriter. . . .what we are often left with are salespeople writing copy to "just get it on the air" (as they are pushed out the door to go sell something). But, I have to applaud your positive attitude that another radio “hey-day” is out there somewhere.
    • 39 posts
    June 17, 2009 10:28 PM PDT
    That commercial is soooo good, . . . sensational and then some!! I felt like I was sitting in the front row watching the Lion King on Broadway! Honestly, Disney would have been proud to air that commercial for their Animal Kingdom. Of course, if you keep setting the bar that high we'll never have another Mercury Award winner! Congrats!
    • 39 posts
    June 18, 2009 7:23 AM PDT
    I think creativity absolutely moves product. Some of the best commercials airing today are for IPOD and Nike.. . . they do not waste one second explaining what their product does!
    • 39 posts
    June 18, 2009 12:00 PM PDT
    If it is a new client, I always recommend thirties over sixties. For the same money a new client can air 25%-33% more commercials. New needs repetition. There are certainly exceptions, I would not cut Thin Lizzy or Auckland Zoo, but only because they are entertaining. Today I heard a station play three boring sixties in a row. . . why not just ask the business owners to donate money to the station and skip the pretense of advertising.

    I am currently working with a station client that will be on the air soon, and their commercial breaks will be limited to two ads . . . two thirties or a thiry and a sixty. Great for the advertiser. . . and the listeners too!