Radio Results Blog

Wide World of Spots: 5 More Foreign Radio Commercials Worth Stealing

Posted by Larry Julius on Sun, Nov 18, 2012 @ 07:09 PM

Portland Maine RadioA few weeks ago we published one of our most popular articles ever, Six Great Foreign Radio Commercials Worth Stealing.  So, we are inviting our readers to commit 'grand theft radio' once again.  But, it's okay!  If you hear a radio commercial you like, then figure out what makes it effective and steal'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.”

So here are 5 MORE foreign radio commercials worth stealing:

1. Doom Super Multi Insecticide, South Africa

A sense of impending doom grips the listener from the onset of this commercial for insecticide.  Minor chords are banged out on a piano in dirge like monotony while a plaintive solo voice wails in funereal fashion.  The music makes it clear someone is going to die. Fortunately it is just a soldier bee facing annihilation with a couple of squirts of Doom Super Multi Insecticide.  This commercial is a great example of using music to create an instantly recognizable mood.  Particularly potent is the use of the 3 melancholy bell tolls to emphasize the product benefits: Fast! [gong], Deadly! [gong] Doom! [gong].


2. Durex Condoms, Canada

Here is another great example of how music can alter the mood and the meaning of a commercial.  In this case, the "whack-a-whack-a-doo" music transforms dialogue from tragically mundane to humorously pornographic.  Quite a feat.


3. Virgin Atlantic Airlines, South Africa

In last week's blog post, Adele Has A Lot To Teach Radio Commercial Writers, we talked about how we each ignore 10,999,960 pieces of data a second.  This exclusion often includes radio commercials we are exposed to.  A tactic advertisers can use to engage listeners is to "violate expectancy." This includes using unanticipated, confusing, or baffling language.  This ad for Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Travel, commands attention as listeners are challenged to make sense of the bizarre story.  I stuck with it the whole time. I learned that Virgin Upper Class Travel offers first class amenities at a business class fare even though the message was buried in a sea of red stilettos worn by one legged ballet dancers eating hotdogs (cuckoo).


4. Toyota Prius, New Zealand

This Prius commercial reminds me of a great scene in the television series Mad Men.  Joan Holloway, the head of the secretarial pool, is dispatched to tell Peggy Olson that she is being promoted from typist to junior ad writer, the first woman at the agency to achieve this distinction.  When Peggy asks Joan if she should personally thank the men who promoted her, Joan says it won't be necessary and then points out to Peggy that "the medium is the message." [Click here to see a video clip of the episode]At the conclusion of this Prius commercial,  it is made abundantly clear that the medium is, in fact, the message.


5. Samroc Paint & Hardware, Singapore

The listener is immediately engaged by the passion of the storyteller.  It is, at first, unclear whether this is a set up for a joke or the recounting of a true story. It turns out, the narrative is neither truth nor fiction.  What it is, is a successful attempt to turn words into color. Very, very clever.


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Tags: Radio Commercial, Effective Radio Advertising