What is Radio Advertising? - Definition, Types & Examples

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  • 0:04 Radio on the Road
  • 0:50 What Is Radio Advertising?
  • 1:43 Types of Radio Advertising
  • 3:14 Why Radio Advertising?
  • 5:08 Radio Advertising Examples
  • 6:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Ever been driving along and found yourself humming along to a radio jingle? That's radio advertising at work! In this lesson, we'll discuss this form of advertising, its types, and a few examples.

Radio on the Road

Fast-food restaurant McDonald's ad campaign targeting drivers on the road is a situation to which we can probably relate: late-night driving, quiet radio tunes, rain on the windshield, passengers asleep around us. At the end, they throw in the idea that they're awake too and, oh, by the way, they have coffee and apple pie hot and ready to go.

What advertising medium do you think would work best for this type of advertising? If you said radio, you're correct. After all, you can picture yourself in that scenario because you're already in the car, right? A commercial called 'Driver' holds a bit less weight if you're sitting in the comfort of your living room.

So, how does radio advertising work?

What Is Radio Advertising?

Just like advertisers pay for the commercials you see on television during your favorite show, some advertisers also choose to focus their marketing dollars on radio advertising. That is, buying commercials, frequently called spots in the radio industry, to promote their products or services. Advertisers pay commercial radio stations for airtime and, in exchange, the radio station broadcasts the advertiser's commercial to its listening audience.

In radio advertising, there are numerous types of commercials that an advertiser might employ, similar to how brands might pursue different print advertising options (newspaper vs. magazine, for example) or electronic advertising options (email vs. social media).

Let's take a look at a few of the more popular types of radio advertisements.

Types of Radio Advertising

Depending on your brand and the type of message you're trying to convey, you'll likely lean toward one of these popular radio advertising choices.

1. Live read

The ESPN Radio show Mike & Mike is a good example of a format where you can hear commercials read in real-time online by a radio announcer, a type of commercial also known as a live read. This type of advertisement is more effective with a really popular on-air host because advertisers hope that the host's voice will carry extra weight with the show's audience.

2. Sponsorship

Many radio stations implement sponsorships for certain types of radio segments, such as traffic, weather, or sports scores during halftime of the big game. It will generally sound something like this: 'This hour's weather update brought to you by Beach Rentals. Call Beach Rentals for all of your vacation needs.'

3. Produced spot

A produced spot can either be a straight read of your advertising message or a read that incorporates multiple voices, sound effects or a jingle. A jingle is a short, catchy song about your company. These typically tell listeners where to find your business or your products and can be funny, serious, or informative.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of using these types of radio advertising? Let's take a look.

Why Radio Advertising?

Some people might say that radio advertising is a less effective form of communication than others, given the prevalence of personal mp3 devices, smartphone music applications, and satellite radio. Yet, radio advertising still presents many advantages, as well as disadvantages, of course.

First, let's check out the advantages:

1. Reaching your demographic

Radio advertising specialists know who is listening to their programming, which means you can reach your intended audience without the guesswork.

2. Saving money

Buying spots on local radio can be a great way to reach your audience for less than it would cost to run the same advertisement on television or to implement a costly direct mail campaign.

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