The Studio’s Matt Dickson: Worry less about details of a radio campaign and more about frequency

Agencies and clients need to turn their focus to the quality of audio and frequency an a radio ad plays, not the details of what it is telling the consumer.

Southern Cross Austereo’s national head of creativity, The Studio, Matt Dickson, told agencies and brands at the Radio Alive Conference last week frequency was a key reason why some audio campaigns don’t ‘work’.

Dickson said focus on frequency and audio assets

Dickson, who has won a number of awards in his 20 years in advertising, said coming in and forcing a message down people’s throats would leave to people switching off or hating a brand.

“We are in the behaviour change business. We have where people currently are and what they are doing at the moment and where we want them to get to,” Dickson said.

“Worry much less about the details in your advertising campaign in the scripts or the audio that you are putting out, worry far more about having distinctive audio assets and frequency.

“Over the years, 20 years in radio, I’ve noticed frequency just drop off completely with campaigns. A lot of clients will say – it didn’t work. It wasn’t that the advertising didn’t work, it’s just that it wasn’t effective in influencing people – either we asked too much of them, we asked them to give up a Saturday of school sport and look for ‘Doors, doors, doors’ or ‘bras, bras, bras’ or we didn’t tell them enough times.”

The creative pointed to audio campaigns including Happy Jan, KFC’s Sad Man Meal and a US audio campaign which ran for 10 years for ‘Bud Light’ as good example of audio advertising. He said advertising was about influencing, not “telling”.

He added one of the biggest problems with creativity in the ad industry came down to measurement and attribution: trying to find a rational answer for why a consumer buys a product when there isn’t one, or trying to quantify a campaign by how many products were sold. According to Dickson, people rarely make “rational” decisions, but choose brands that “feel right”.

“There’s this problem with attribution and this problem with trying to explain creativity. It’s not about one ad, it’s about a campaign and frequency.

“People are scared of creativity because it’s hard to measure ,” he added.

“You can look at sales but even Bud Light how do you quantify? The number counters are going to want to sit there and count ‘how many units did we sell as a result of that?'”

Dickson said the key to a successful audio campaign was creating entertainment with “tiny compliments and promises”:“The easiest way to do this is to create a proposition – a human truth statement to a product promise.”


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