Life + 10% = Award Winning Concepts....
Life + 10% = Award Winning Concepts....

IAPI, alongside Media Central and the AAI, were delighted to host Ralph van Dijk, Founder and Executive Creative Director of Eardrum Australia in Dublin on 25 October. Ralph is a world authority on effective radio and audio branding and was with us to give members and clients the inside track on what makes award-winning radio by showcasing some of Eardrum's most creative and innovative radio ads.

The event was split into two sessions with a keynote presentation for 50 people in the morning followed by an Audio Masterclass for a select group of 15 representing a cross section of Creative Directors and Copywriters from our member agencies.

In the interactive session Ralph explained the successful method Eardrum applies to every step of their process from ideation to execution. Plus, he shared his insights on preparing award entries and what really goes on behind the jury room door.

  • Ideation; stretching your concept to breaking point
  • Redefining radio; busting out of the break
  • Voice Casting and Directing; practice makes imperfect
  • Don’t Judge Me; insights from the jury room
  • What work has been winning and why?

So here are some inside tips from Ralph...
So here are some inside tips from Ralph...

If you couldn't join us at the event, below are some of Ralph's most important points and links to some of the wonderful work that he played for us.

Firstly make this your mantra - Relevant Cleverness! A relevant insight with a clever execution is what makes an excellent radio ad because ultimately "Nobody Cares" about the advertising. They are not listening to the radio waiting to hear your advert about paint or sausages or kitchen cabinets. They are listening to the radio on autopilot in the background all the time and you need to cut through and grab their attention so they process your advert.


You are targeting their subconscious and looking to reel them into your ad concept. You want to elicit an emotional response and try to make the listener your co-author. They have to imagine your advert to properly process it and in doing so, they become your co-author. So:

‣ TARGET EMOTIONS

‣ MAKE IT RELEVANT

‣ MAKE IT PERSONAL

‣ FOCUS ON CONSUMER BENEFIT NOT PRODUCT FEATURE

Steps to an award winning ad...
Steps to an award winning ad...

Step 1 - Make Room for the Big Idea - Distill the message of the brief into one sentence to make it a "radio brief". If we can communicate one thing and it's this - would we be happy?! If you have more than one message, make more then one ad.

Don't give lots of detail about the product as that's all useless information to the audience unless you've already convinced them of the need for the product. For a great example, listen to the St John Ambulance First Aid advert.

Step 2 - Award Winning Concepts = Life + 10% - Don't go too big just because you can do anything you want via audio, set it on the moon etc. Take life and amplify it just a bit to tap into people's everyday lives but deliver a little extra!

Step 3 - Award Winning Writing - Every word must earn its keep, underwrite then cut back, allow room for silence, use emotive language, comedy needs surprise - let audience assume one thing and then reveal another, get into a rhythm with your script. For a great example of script writing, listen to the IKEA - Holidays advert.

Step 4 - Award Winning Casting - Cast actors not voice-over artists. Actors bring words to life, voice-over just makes words audible. If you want your piece to cut through to the audience having it delivered by the most popular/common voice-over artists in use at the moment won't help! Having it delivered by a surprising, naturalistic voice that is new to people will. For a great example, listen to the Perth Zoo Silent Night campaign.

Step 5 - Award Winning Innovation - Try to think about how the ad can exist outside of the ad break. Do more with your airtime or try guerrilla style advertising. For a great example of this, check out the Strepsils advert.