31 years in the business, and this one radio campaign — for Dunwoody Technical Institute — is my single favorite creation. And the reason: I had a great client who trusted that I had their best interests at heart.
As I’ve mentioned before, radio is a great medium to work in. Partly because everybody tends to leave you the hell alone. They don’t know what makes for great radio, at least not in the script stage.
Previously on this blog I’ve suggested that radio is one of the few media where I do not feel bound by any particular campaign structure. Plenty of great radio campaigns out there have them (I’m thinking Bud or Motel 6). And if you’ve stumbled upon a format or a platform that’s yielding great spots one after another, by all means, stick with it. But if such a platform eludes you, there is no dishonor to you nor loss to your client if you end up creating simply a string of great stinkin’ radio spots. As long as the spots are great.
See, I think radio is different than other media. A radio spot exists only as long as it’s playing. (Okay, so does TV. Pipe down, I’m on a roll here.) And unlike TV or print, there’s no visual graphic standards to worry about. Whenever I sit down to do radio, I allow myself the freedom to attack it one spot at a time, trying to string together a bunch of the coolest-or-funniest-or-scariest spots that I can. Sometimes I’ll hit on a spot that has a repeatable format, with lots of legs. THAT’S when I go with a very campaign-y campaign. And if I don’t? BFD.
The thing is, if you are diligently writing to one strategy, one brief, your spots will likely all add up to one brand anyway. No matter how wildly different the structures of the spots or the sound of their voiceovers, in the end the listener takes away one thought. (GEICO’S 4 TV campaigns come to mind.) In the case of these wildly dissimilar spots for Dunwoody, the intended take-away is: “You can waste your life after high school by getting a crappy job, or by getting a fancy-schmancy liberal arts degree which will result in the same crappy job anyway. So come to Dunwoody for training in a actual career where you’ll land an actual job.”
You can listen to my fave radio campaign by clicking here. Please feel free to tell me what you think, even if you think they suck. (I’ll probably disagree with you because I think they’re pretty good. But, hey, I could be wrong.)