The Overlooked Power of Audio 

July 4, 2024 | General
The Overlooked Power of Audio 

It’s Not The Look vs The Sound… 

The audio marketing industry is big business, and understandably keen to retain – and grow – its share of the advertising pie. As media fragments into more and more avenues for marketing, radio fights its corner by promoting its defining strength: pure audio. It usually does so by focussing on great radio campaigns, and the emotional power of creating compelling theatre of the mind. 

It has traditionally positioned itself against television, a huge competitor when chasing advertising dollars (especially in the pre-social media age). It makes sense, but it also sets this up as a binary choice: do you want sound, or do you want vision?  

Let’s take a different approach: instead of turning our back on TV, let’s look at the power of audio used in television commercials.   


It’s How Well You Use the Sound 

Even when visuals are being employed, it may surprise you just how much the actual sound of TV ads resonates – and how much the impact would be lessened without audio. We’ll start with an Australian classic. Remember the ad where one woman is mad at another and shouts something at her as she disappears down the street? Maybe. 


But if we said the words ‘Not happy, Jan’ you’d know exactly what we’re talking about.  

 It’s rightfully an all-timer, with a level of cultural penetration it could never have achieved through visuals alone. Sure, the pictures matter, but there’s no way this ad has the impact it did without the smart use of audio. 


How about A Big Ad? Of course this is a big ad. And you didn’t need to be in the room to know what it was, because the audio did so much work (also note Carmina Burana is still under copyright so NOT a classical piece you can leverage for a marketing campaign as we covered recently) LINK TO PREVIOUS 

Again, the visuals play a crucial role. But we’ll argue it’s the audio here that does the heavy lifting and makes the ad as memorable as it is. 



Heading overseas, Cadbury came up with a spot people really loved. You’re probably already picturing the gorilla at the drumkit: it’s a completely irreverent, beautifully framed, and memorable sight. But without the right song, this could have faded from memory very quickly. 




In Moving Pictures, Sound says What About Me? 


These are just three obvious examples of the audio playing a crucial role in the success of a TV campaign. Remove sound from any of those ads and the impact is wildly reduced.  


That’s not to dismiss the fact that TV commercials come with sound by default. And that simply proves our original point: pushing the power of audio by focusing solely on audio really doesn’t demonstrate the full potential impact of a smart script, great sound choice, and great sound design. 


Making it a binary choice sells audio short. Yes, great ads exist in audio-only form. But let’s not forget the role sound plays in elevating the visual side of marketing as well, and maybe the audio industry will start including examples like the above when they sell the power and benefits of what we do. 


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