• Stephen Pollock

Radio ads have unlimited production budgets.

A kitchen toaster on fire gets out of hand and blows up an aircraft carrier. A herd of elephant play jazz through their trunks. A property developer builds a skyscraper out of diamonds.

Expensive? Sure. On television.

Radio advertising plays by different rules. Thanks to the boundless world of the mind, budgets are unlimited. Even better, the listener pays for them with the coins of their imagination. They pay for the aircraft carrier. They pay for the musically inclined elephants. Heck, they even pay for the diamond skyscraper.

And then there’s health and safety. Imagine the danger pay you’d have to give an A-list movie star if they had to run around naked with their head inside a beehive.

So, no, advertisers don’t have to be a Rothschild to afford radio.

The point is that the audience creates the fantastical when they listen to the radio. They make the unbelievable real. In this way, radio isn’t unlike books. It demands more from the audience. It demands you use your imagination to fill in the blanks.

Think of TV. You’re already given an image, so you don’t need to imagine. If you don’t like the image, well, too bad for the viewer, and too bad for the advertiser, and their message, because that’s all the audience is given. One measly image.

Radio, on the other hand, gives birth to a million images in a million minds. It’s called theatre of the mind for a reason. Because it’s built on an audience’s imagination, the highest kite you can fly, the brightest rainbow, the infinite stars in the sky.

If you can imagine it, you can make it real with a radio ad.

Simply put, TV contracts the imagination.

Radio expands it.


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