Radio Science: The Methodology for Creating Impossible-to-Ignore Audio Ads
Consumers are inundated with marketing messages every day, so it’s only natural that they have gotten better at tuning them out. You’re in luck though, understanding how the human brain is hardwired may just hold the key to winning the attention game.
Information in audio messaging, in particular, is processed very differently. In a recent podcast, Nielsen’s Brad Kelly and Dr. Rob Potter from Indiana University uncover the science marketers can apply when crafting radio campaigns.
Dr. Potter goes on to explain how we have evolved to notice what’s new in our environment. This type of automatic attention called the ‘orienting response,’ is primal and beyond our control. He has been studying how this response works as part of our physiology and what lessons can be applied for radio creative.
He found that when changes in environment kick in the orienting response, the heart rate decelerates to allow the body to quiet and let new information in. A sound effect, the use of two different pieces of music, or a voice change primes the listener for your brand message, when they may not have been paying attention before. Memory also improves after the orienting response, setting the table for communicating your most important message points.
There is a distinction between repetition and staying top of mind as this tactic has diminishing returns. Keep creative fresh by using different announcers, focusing on new copy points, or switch up the delivery to introduce something new and recapture that orienting response.
The moment to capitalize on automatic attention is brief, so it’s up to the rest of the creative to entertain or play off of listeners’ emotions. Emotions also play a major role in the cognitive process. Radio taps into a different part of the brain, creating ‘theater of the mind’ which stimulates emotion-filled images within the listener’s own imagination. A powerful piece of music or a differentiating brand signifier can play a key role in increasing positive association and ad recall.
Now that you know the science, you can use this to evoke emotion and effectively capture attention - a winning combination for impossible-to-ignore ads.
Great radio ads deserve to be heard in great environments. From national networks featuring most-loved stations to heart-pounding NASCAR race coverage, team AdLarge builds plans designed to hit your goals.
For more tips, revisit our guide on best practices for crafting better audio creative here.