Skip to content

Join my newsletter flock!

I’d love you to join me on this magical flight through life. I’ll be sharing recommendations, snippets of wisdom and bits of work along the way.

We’ve discussed why it’s worth advertising on the radio and what makes the perfect radio commercial. Have we converted you yet? Or are you still a video only kind of person?

Retro radio for Sara Starling radio commercial voice over blog post

Well, I’m an optimist, so I’m going to assume that you are, at the very least, open minded. Maybe you’re even beginning to look at radio in a shiny new light…?

If that’s the case, it might be helpful if we talked about some of the things you may want to consider if you’re going to create a campaign that really stands out.


In order to be as helpful as possible to you, lovely clients, I asked three questions of some seriously fabulous creative experts in the industry. They were so generous with their time and advice that I had too much information to squeeze into one blog, so this is part two of a series! Those cracking creatives are, in no particular order: –

Paul Burke (PB) – a multi award-winning writer, producer, director, he’s also chaired juries for D&AD, Creative Circle & The Aerials. Oh yes, he knows what he’s talking about!

Gerry Farrell (GF) – Creative Director at Gerry Farrell Ink, winner of numerous awards at Cannes and D&AD as well as serving on their juries, so you know, he knows what works.

Rick Loynes (RL) – award-winning commercial producer for Signal, now Bauer Media, he’s also a talented musician, voiceover & a lovely chap to boot.

Olivia Downing (OD) – Copywriter at TBWA\MCR.
50 under 30 – The Drum’s Outstanding Women in Creative and Digital and a real tour de force in the creative industry, championing both women & creative.

Tim Fortune (TF) – Producer at Global Radio for over 28 years, I think we can safely say he knows what’s what!

Pam Myers (PM) – Radio & audio producer at Rorschach Ltd, she also happens to have been a member of theCannes Festival of Creativity Radio Lions jury, she knows a winning idea when she hears one!

James McCombe (JM) – Producer & Studio Manager at Maple Street Creative, he has his feet firmly on the ground.

Kieran Murphy (KM) – formerly of Global & Maple Street Creative, Kieran is has now been unleashed upon the world in his own right. He also happens to be a stand-up comedian, which might just come in handy!


PB: “A great script, ace sound designer and talented actors.”


GF: “1. Try to sound different from all the other radio ads. Most of them shout so why don’t you try talking quietly. Many of them finish up with an inane jingle. Why don’t you use Mozart or Beethoven?

2. If your script is a two-hander and you can afford a well-known actor or actress, ask them if there’s another actor they enjoy working with. You can get some extra on-air chemistry that way.

3. Don’t just try to be funny, make sure you actually are funny.

Laughing horse by Dan Cook to illustrate audio adverts blog part 3

There’s only one way to find out: read your script out to people and see if they laugh. If they don’t, it’s not funny. Alternatively, rope in a comedian who can improvise, give them a rough idea of the script and let them do it their way. It might cost a little more, but you’ll be repaid in spades.”



Pam Myers quote on branding for Sara Starling radio commercial blog part 3

” What are your competitors already doing and how might you do it differently or better?

Radio is sometimes a background accompaniment to daily activity, how might you tap into that (and bear in mind that might be through buying relevant day part slots not just your creative approach).

How will your radio ads live alongside your other presence, and what do you want them to do? Maybe you want footfall in your shop or traffic on your website.

Radio is very good at delivering results where the aim is clear, so be very sure you know what you want to achieve.

Enjoy it! Radio is a wonderfully liberating medium, you can achieve any feeling, taste, colour, sensation in sound (and if you doubt me, do check that Radiocentre ads database and look at the Aerial Awards section). Be bold, be innovative and have fun.”


TF: “A good radio ad is often a test of ‘the offer’ – make sure you have a good one.

A good radio ad is not just your press ad read out.

Tim Fortune quote for Sara Starling radio commercials blog part 3


RL: “Who, What, Why.

Who are you speaking to?

What are you saying to them?

Why are you saying it?”


KM: “Odds are, your business has a logo. Maybe even a motto. In most cases, you even have visual brand guidelines. Support this with a strong brand voice.

Employed correctly, audio, whether on radio or digital channels can be hugely effective at communicating your brands values far beyond just statement of fact, it’s a medium that has the power to connect with individuals at an emotional level.

Make them laugh, make them nostalgic, make them cry or think. Think big & implement a long-term strategy. If you don’t have these marketing tools at your disposal, talk to the creatives who are paid to guide you, not just write a stock standard ad!”


JM: “The offer you’re making, the creative you’re using, and the frequency of that creative. You want to be making an enticing offer – whether that’s material or not, with good creative, that’s going to be heard often by the people you want to hear it.”


OD: “Be disruptive. Consider what your competitors are doing, and by competitors, I mean not only brands with a similar product, but brands who are advertising on your radio channel too. Do something entertaining. Be unexpected. Don’t forget, most people are listening to the radio whilst driving/commuting, a samey, boring activity. From a memorability viewpoint, a bit of disruption in this category goes a very long way.

Choose your channel wisely.Unlike mainstream TV advertising, the radio/audio channels out there have a really tightly narrowed down demographic, which you can filter not only to age range, but gender, race and even location. This gives you a really great opportunity to cater your message directly to your specific target audience, in a manner that will appeal to them best.

Crowing cockerel by Jairo Alzate to illustrate Sara Starling radio commercials blog post 3

Sound and voice. When it comes to radio, a lot of emphasis is put on script. And don’t get me wrong, a script has to be good. But the wrong voice delivering your script can kill it in a second. Similarly, there are some things you don’t necessarily have to say: my radio ad for David Lloyd won gold at The Drum Roses this year, and the first twenty seconds are merely sounds. So much can be inferred just from sound and voice. We know this in our lives: from sirens, to sighs, to whispers, to shouts. Taking the time to really find the perfect voice and consider sound with the same priority is, in my mind, what takes radio from good to excellent.”


Vintage wooden radio on stool by Ian Halac to illustrate Sara Starling radio commercial voice over blog

If statistics & cold hard numbers what you’re after, look no further than Rajar, the official body in charge of measuring radio audiences in the UK.

Phew! Has that helped? If you didn’t care about radio or audio before, perhaps you do now? I have to say, I agree one hundred percent about finding a voice that embodies your brand and that a voice can make or break a campaign. But you’d expect no less of me, would you?!

So often we’re told that ‘it’s all about video these days’, but hopefully we’ve helped to illustrate that it would be a mistake to forget about our old friend the radio, audio & the power of sound. Because it isn’t just about radio, there are podcasts galore out there, too!

If the thoughts & ideas shared by the wonderful contributors to this blog have inspired you, remember, you don’t have to venture out alone, there are some cracking creatives out there who will cook up the perfect campaign for you. And of course, if you need a voice, look no further! Drop me an email – & let’s talk.


With enormous thanks to Pam Myers, Rick Loynes, Gerry Farrell, Olivia Downing, Tim Fortune, Kieran Murphy, James McCombe and Paul Burke.

Let’s work together

Like what you’ve heard and think you might want to work with me? Get in touch. I’d be happy to provide a short, free, bespoke demo to show you how I can bring your story to life

Get in touch