Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What does sound look like?

It's official, I'm tired of being told to look at things on the radio. Radio is a difficult medium, especially with as visual as humans tend to be. It doesn't help that such a hefty part of advertising is built upon visuals. But I still don't feel that's any excuse to ignore the medium's most obvious feature- the fact that you can't see anything. At least two radio ads I've heard recently have done this.

The first is for the new Blackberry Storm. Naturally, a touchscreen is a tough sell on radio, but I'm forced to grind my teeth when the spot starts out by telling me to look at the screen. It's not that I won't, but I can't, no matter how hard they want me to.

The other is for Guitar Hero World Tour. It starts out with the right idea, asking you to remember the TV spot (still a bit of a cop-out), but quickly degenerates from there. First, it tells me to "look at that," then goes on to tell me, "no, stop looking at..."

Know your medium, don't try to recycle your TV spots. Sometimes it requires a little more imagination or even the occasional straight-sell, but at least you won't be insulting people by telling them to see the sound waves coming out of their speakers.

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