For an average radio listener, it won't be unfair to say that in all probability there would be two ad-spots in a day, which would feature Gabbar Singh or Veeru.
While there are no two ways about the popularity of Sholay characters in advertising per se, on radio, the concept has been done to death. This leads us to the question: Is radio advertising suffering from lack of creativity or has the medium's potential been utilised fully?
According to Josy Paul, national creative director, JWT, though radio is heading towards the right direction, it needs quite a bit of "tweaking around". "The kind of scope radio offers for experimentation is phenomenal but probably agencies haven't realised that," he adds.
Paul believes that public perceptions about radio advertising have a local perspective. "Somebody sitting in Mumbai can't actually say whether overall radio advertising is creative or not without hearing the bulk of it," he says. Paul, who has been on the jury for advertising awards for the radio category, feels that "a lot of good work is being done but it tends to go unnoticed."
Radio accounts for approximately 2 per cent of the advertising pie and radio advertising is valued under less than Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion).
With so many private channels and players coming in, one would have expected to see growth in numbers, but it has been pretty low. This is partly because radio still ranks low in many companies' advertising mix and the kind of reach it provides.
Explains a media analyst, "It is a fact that radio is not considered `sexy' enough to merit the kind of interest from advertisers and marketers."
Bobby Pawar, national creative director, Mudra, agrees. He feels that a lot of it is due to mediocre copywriting. "When one gets down to writing radio ads, he or she needs to think like an entertainer rather than a copywriter, which at the moment very few do."
Paul, too, feels that radio ads are not being written well. "Most radio commercials are being written by average writers and this doesn't suit the medium. A radio ad has to be so imaginative that one can actually visualise it, but is it happening? I don't think so," affirms Pawar.
Sagar Mahabaleshwar, national creative director, Rediffusion, feels that the medium needs attention from both brands and advertisers. "It's a medium which has a massive reach and appeal, and can do phenomenally well if proper execution is done," says Mahabaleshwar.
Real estate companies and TV programmes have been the top advertisers on radio over the past few years. Although radio attracts many a big brand, the medium still ranks low on their list of priorities.There is no doubt that radio advertising has great potential but it certainly needs more than tweaking around.