What makes a Quarterly Aerial Award winning radio ad?

Aerials Awards logoEach quarter the RAB rewards the best in radio creativity with the Quarterly Aerial Awards, and the winners get showcased in RAB’s monthly briefing email sent out to over 8000 agency and advertiser subscribers.

We ask a prominent figure in the creative industry to pick what they believe to be the most creative ad of that quarter. The agency that created the ad receives a visit by me with a trophy, certificate and bottle of wine. Lucky them!

As the deadline for Q3 entries looms in sight, it is a good time to look back on the winners so far this year; DDB UK (Q1) & Wieden+Kennedy (Q2).

My first watch on the Quarterly Aerials at the RAB saw DDB UK with their ad entitled ‘Smart But Casual’ for the Financial Times Weekend become the winning Q1 2011 creative agency, as judged by Peter Buchanan, former deputy CEO of the COI.

Peter’s comments: “An effective use of music to tell the story. The FT took a well known piece of classical music and gave it a subtle jazz twist, to demonstrate how the FT took a more relaxed view at the weekend, without compromising quality. The tone was intelligent and measured, which needed minimum use of a voice over to support the message”.



DDB UK accepting the Q1 2011 Aerial Award
DDB UK accepting the Q1 2011 Aerial Award

(Be sure to read the blog on Peter Buchanan working with the RAB as a creative consultant).


With promises of double chocolate biscuits from Q2 winners Wieden+Kennedy, I cheerfully made the round trip from Golden Square to Shoreditch with their much deserved Quarterly Aerial Award for their Honda radio ad last week. Paul Burke from AMV BBDO kindly judged the Q2 entries, and here are his comments on why he chose W+K’s Honda ‘Power of Dreams’ ad as the most creative.

Paul’s comments:“Garrison Keillor was one of the most inspired pieces of casting ever and his relaxed, charming delivery of a simple, well-written script is perfect. Without mentioning any of the usual boring product details, it creates a wonderful impression of Honda as a confident innovative brand dedicated to the quality of its cars”.


Listening to both incredibly simple Quarterly Aerial Award winning ads, both voice actors gave me a strangely infectious feeling towards both FT & Honda brands. I don’t need someone to repeatedly shout a special offer at me, or tell me the email, phone number, address, price, opening times,  social details etc. I know where I can buy a new Honda or pick up a copy of the Financial Times. I just need a reason to.

If your interested, RAB Insight Manager, Aaron Pull previously wrote a great blog which included best practice guidelines to consider when trying to create an effective radio ad by listening to the listener.

And finally, here is a cringe-worthy example of a radio ad around 15 years old that was committed to going in the absolute opposite creative direction. This radio ad won no awards…

SuperScreen took no prisoners when making their ad and still remains a favorite of the RAB office. It has become a poster-child for how far the industry has come. As long as people create original, emotionally-engaging, clear ads, their radio campaigns are bound to find success.

  • http://www.strangeduck.com Irene Duma

    I want a SuperScreen – are they still behind the Renault dealer?