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Radio réveil

13/11/2008 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.fr)

I'm the first to admit that I don't have a great radio culture. A bit of France Info here, some Radio Nova there – but radio is by no means the first medium I turn to when I'm in need of entertainment. English friends have told me that it's possible listen to BBC Radio 4 here in France. I have never bothered seeking it out. And to be honest with you I find most radio advertising slightly irritating: all those songs, shouted conversations and telephone numbers you will never remember.

But yesterday, during the jury meeting of the Epica Awards, I changed my mind about radio. As you may know, Epica is an annual advertising creativity competition, judged by journalists from across Europe. Most years I'm lucky enough to be invited onto the pre-selection jury for at least a day or two. So there I was, sitting in a darkened room listening to the radio entries – a new Epica category. Luckily, the agencies had sent us the scripts of all the ads we were hearing. Many were excellent.

And that's when it struck me: radio is an opportunity for great copywriting. Globalisation means that most print ads are purely visual. TV spots depend on spectacle rather than dialogue. But radio scripts require dialogue, description and word games – in other words, real writing. My favourite, for a high definition television, involved describing a leopard in vivid detail as a way of explaining the advantage of HDTV. Imagine: a television sold on the radio. And it worked.

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Radio réveil

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