Radio Makes an Emotional Case

RAB Research Says Consumers Find the Medium Relaxing, Comforting

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Radio is a more emotional medium than TV. Amid the glass-and-steel information-heavy space that is the Bloomberg building in New York, the Radio Advertising Bureau released its latest study from its ongoing Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab, which took a look at radio's effect on people versus other media's effect on people.
A study by the RAB finds adults less annoyed with radio ads than with messages in other media.
A study by the RAB finds adults less annoyed with radio ads than with messages in other media.

Less annoyed with radio ads
The findings? People are more likely to say radio makes them laugh, relax, comforts them and improves their mood than they would TV, newspapers and internet. And that, according to the ad effectiveness lab, carries over into the advertising. It also said radio listeners expect the ads they hear to be relevant to them and that they're less likely to become annoyed by radio ads than ads in other media.

The study was an expanded version of the first Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab study in 2004. This time, the internet was added to the list of media included in the original study -- radio, TV and newspapers -- and studied both perception of media and ad annoyance. The study was conducted by Harris Interactive and its subsidiary, Wirthlin.

According to the study, which polled 2,500 adults aged 18 to 54 via randomly dialed telephone calls, 33% felt radio advertising "reached the people it was meant for." The other three media averaged 31%. Perhaps surprisingly, given the advances in behavioral ad targeting the internet allows, the comparison between radio and internet was 33% and 17%, respectively.

"Radio's emotional connections aren't there for the internet," said Jim Peacock, president of Peacock Research, which consulted on the study.

Newspapers: the 'original TiVo'
Radio ads also appeared to be less annoying than internet and TV advertising as well, although, in what is perhaps bad news for most media, levels of annoyance were still high. In radio, which was perceived less annoying than TV or internet, more than a third reported that ads got in the way of enjoying the medium and 45% felt ads "repeated too much." Newspapers were the clear exception with very low "annoyance" levels. Mr. Peacock suggested that was because newspapers were the "original TiVo" and ads could easily be skipped if they weren't relevant.

The presentation, clearly meant to bolster radio's standing among advertisers, pointed to the fact that 49% said they "can do other things" during radio ads as a positive thing -- something that reduced annoyance with radio advertising. But 38% said the same thing about TV commercials.

The next study, to be released in first quarter 2006, will explore the synergy and relationship between radio and internet advertising.
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