Why is a lot of radio advertising so poorly remembered? It doesn't have pictures and it doesn't have the reach of television, but is there more to it than that? Even saturation campaigns don't seem to make it into the consumer's mental filing cabinet to the extent that one might expect. For example, one 'successful' saturation radio campaign which ran for a sixteen-week period in a specific target market was one of the highestscoring campaigns I have seen in regard to radio ad awareness, yet it did not get more than 40 per cent of listeners to spontaneously recall the advertising.
Radio is not TV and it is not a substitute for TV. It could be used more effectively, but advertisers often seem to use it wrongly. The two main problems with radio seem to be listener attention levels and the fact that radio advertising doesn't have pictures. Advertisers can do something about both of these factors in designing more effective radio ads and media schedules.
Radio competes with its environment for the listener's attention— much more so than TV, which usually has its own, relatively quiet exposure environment. When people watch TV they more often do so with fewer distractions. That is not to say that TV audiences are glued to the set. Brands in low-involvement product categories particularly have to rely on very creative ad executions to grab and hold their TV audience's attention.
Radio, however, competes with all sorts of things. At breakfast it competes with the clatter of cutlery, the sounds of breakfast preparation and breakfast conversation. Again, in the morning and drive-time slots, radio has to work exceptionally hard to break through a different kind of 'attentional clutter'. This 'clutter' is made up of the peak-hour traffic, the