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Yeah… but how will it work on radio?

#1. Marmite Cereal Bars

As radio creative writers and producers something we hear a lot is, ‘yeah… but how will it work on radio?’.

The reason for this can be anything from the perceived need for the consumer to see the product to the thought that an existing visual creative concept is too difficult to translate accurately into sound.

So, this is the place where you finally find out how it can work on radio.

Every quarter we’ll be taking a campaign and analysing the creative to create a radio treatment that translates the original concept into sound. You can get the audio first on our newsletter which you can sign up for below, or wait for the Twitter and Facebook updates if you prefer…

Our first case-study is for Marmite Cereal Bars.

Earlier this year Unilever commissioned DDB UK to produce a print, poster and online campaign to promote the launch of the new Marmite Cereal bar.

The basic premise of the creative was to give the impression that Marmite were expanding their brand to incorporate products that you wouldn’t normally associate with Marmite, or that would be wholly inappropriate for the Marmite brand. The campaign was split into two phases: ‘tease’ and ‘reveal’. The tease used posters featuring strong imagery usually associated with advertising for every day products like perfume, fabric softener and shower gel. They showed the “Marmite” versions of the product e.g. Marmite Fabric Softener with no indication that the campaign was not for the new product shown, but was for a new Marmite cereal bar instead. Later in the campaign, new posters revealed a picture of the new cereal bar with the caption “That may be too far, but how about this”.

As a whole, the campaign is a pastiche of the method and imagery used to advertise familiar products, coupled with a wry comment on how brands are constantly expanding into other areas, and it’s the strength in the imagery of the campaign that makes it work so well. The possibility of brand extension is another factor. It’s pretty common for a brand to move into other areas of consumerism which makes it easier to believe that Marmite could, in fact, make a fabric softener. These are the two key elements in this campaign that we can use to translate the creative concept and product to radio.

We all recognise styles and structures of visual ads from outdoor to TV. For example, if you see a poster with well dressed models in exotic locations, you’re probably looking at a retail ad for a clothes store’s summer collection. As viewers and consumers we’ve learned that certain structures and styles of advertising represent certain products or services. However, this idea of familial structures and styles can initially appear difficult to translate into sound.

We do have a preconceived idea of what a radio ad sounds like, or so we think, but it’s very rare that a product can be specifically identified from the structure and style of its radio commercial. This could mean it’s difficult to replicate the exact creative execution used in the visual creative for Marmite. However, radio’s obvious strength is in using sound to create strong imagery in the imagination. This imagery can be used to replace a generic advertising form, placing the consumer directly into the activity the product is aimed at instead.

With this in mind for our radio treatment, we needed a new ‘fake’ Marmite product coupled with an experience that could be clearly evoked using sound.

Marmite Energy Shots – Tease

We’ve translated the concept of a recognisable advertising structure and style (energy drink ad) and have utilised the idea of pushing Marmite where it shouldn’t really go (into the energy drink market) to create the spoof product “Marmite Energy Shots”. The idea is feasible enough in terms of how it sounds, the techniques used and the sincerity of the approach to be believable.

As with the visual campaign, there’s a “reveal” where the real product is brought into the ad.

Marmite Energy Shots – Reveal

So, we’ve brought the key creative elements of the Marmite Cereal Bar campaign together, and successfully translated them into audio. Hopefully without losing the wit or effectiveness of the original concept.

‘Yeah… but how will it work on radio?’ is going to become a regular feature for both our newsletter and the website. We’ll be picking a new campaign soon for the next case study, but if you think of a campaign you’d like us to give the treatment to then let us know.

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