Radio Results Blog

6 Great Foreign Radio Commercials Worth Stealing

Posted by Larry Julius on Sun, Sep 30, 2012 @ 11:49 AM

effective radio advertising commercials portland maineIt's Okay!  If you hear a radio commercial you like, then figure out what makes it effective and steal it...it's a tradition.  The creative arts are full of thieves. Painter Pablo Picasso said, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal."  Writer William S. Burroughs said, “All writing is in fact cut-ups. A collage of words read heard overheard.”   Poet T.S., Eliot says, “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different."  But according to filmmaker Jean-Luc Goddard, stealing is just not enough. Goddard said, “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.”

Below is a collection of 6 foreign radio commercials worth stealing from:

1. RACV Financial Services, Australia

Many commercials are obligated to include disclaimers.  Historically, advertisers do their best to sweep them under the rug by cramming 120 words into 12 seconds and tacking them on to the back of a commercial in a disembodied voice.  This commercial for RACV Financial Services makes the disclaimer a co-star of its commercial.  Take a listen:

2. BAA Airport Parking, United Kingdom

Puns are described as the lowest form of humor.  But when the word play is intelligent and relevant, the results can be compelling and engaging.  I listened to this commercial 6 times and picked-up on a new geographical pun each time.  How often do you willing listen to a radio commercial 6 times?  Hear for yourself:

3. Guinness Book of World Records, Norway

The typical :60-second radio commercial comprises 150 words. Most advertisers struggle to make each word sell.  Very few advertisers strive to make the length of the commercial do their bidding.  Here is an example where the length matters:

4. YellowPages.CA, Canada

Anyone who has ever put a search term into Google has, at one time or another, stumbled onto some unexpected or unsavory results.  This commercial capitalizes on a universal experience (plus, I am a sucker for scatological humor).  Listen to three different executions of this campaign:

5. Marshall Music, South Africa

Elaborate production music is a staple of radio advertising.  This commercial, however, easily turns spoken word into beautiful music.  You can't beat this commercial:

6. H&R Block, Australia

It's easy to say that something is complicated.  But it's harder to create a mental picture of a complex subject using everyday language and phrases.  This commercial campaign simply captures the complex.  Here are three examples:

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