New Awards for Radio Ad Creativity

A new national advertising award for creative agencies, recognising excellence in radio advertising, has been created, as part of the industry’s push to promote radio in creative and advertising agencies.

The Siren Award has been established, via a dedicated website (see link below), with winners announced every two months and an annual winner automatically entered into the Cannes Lions Radio Awards.

The new award has been named after the Greek mythology figure, which boasted the sweetest voice, and follows the inaugural meeting of the Siren Creative Council (initially called the Creative Advisory Committee). The Council includes key creative directors from leading national advertising and creative agencies and senior radio industry executives.

Commercial Radio Australia CEO, Joan Warner, says the new award will be supported by the advertising and radio industries and is about providing important peer recognition for writing excellent and innovative creative for radio.

“Peer recognition, as well as education and training, are important elements in lifting the bar for creative in radio advertising and providing the medium the recognition it deserves.

“The new award is an inspiring idea and highlights the positive work the Council can do to promote radio advertising. The Council will also consider other ideas to help boost advertising, including broadening education and training programs, already on offer for radio copywriters, and setting up a library of creative excellence, featuring some of the best radio ads from around the world.”

Entry for the award is free. Creative and advertising agencies will be targeted for the first award, to be presented for material which has aired between January and March. The Siren Creative Council will be responsible for initial judging, after which the bi-monthly winner will judge the next entries. The winning commercials will be accessible on the website which, over time, will provide an archive of award winning radio ads.

CRA Creative Director, Ralph van Dijk of Eardrum advertising agency, says: “The timing of the new Siren Awards is perfect. There’s a real buzz about the medium and a greater emphasis on radio creative. These awards will help to inspire agencies and clients to invest more time, money and effort, as well as recognise those who are doing it well. As a radio director, I’ll be doing all I can to help teams win them by the boatload!”

The Council, launched two months ago to advise the radio industry on advertising issues and help devise strategies to increase its share of the ad market, includes key creative directors and radio executives. Apart from van Dijk, members include Peter Withy (KWP! Adelaide); Mike Edmonds (Meerkats, Perth); Craig Moore (Campaign Palace, Sydney); John Mescall (Smart, Melbourne); Steve Yolland (Magnum Opus); Jonathon Kneebone (Glue Society, Sydney), Ben Lilley (Smart); Sean Cummins (Cummins & Partners, Melbourne); Matt McGrath (Young & Rubican); Mark Dove (George Patterson Partners, Sydney); Simon Collins (JWT, Sydney); Rem Bruijn (McCanns, Brisbane) and Bradford Grisaffe (Audio Brien).

The Council held its first meeting in late June in Sydney and stems directly from a radio think tank, a month earlier, involving key creative directors of leading national advertising agencies and commercial radio.

Joan Warner says the group will meet regularly, every few months: “The committee will also consider other ideas to help promote radio advertising.

“The Siren Creative Council is part of an overall push by commercial radio to promote the industry’s effectiveness as an advertising medium, spearheaded by the renewal of a $20 million national campaign for another 12 months.

“Despite a positive response to the brand campaign, the industry recognises there is more to do and one challenge identified was improving the creative component of radio advertising.”

Ralph van Dijk says: “Better radio ads are good for consumers, good for marketers, and contribute to a better radio environment overall. The new Council is a very positive step in this direction. If the best and brightest minds of Australian advertising bring the searchlight of their intellects to bear on this problem, then the future will be bright indeed.”

Rationale for Siren Award name

Most advertising awards have very literal names – AWARD, MADC, D&AD, London International. The Siren Creative Council wanted to come up with a more abstract name, appropriate to radio, but also flexible enough to stand for more than just an awards’ scheme.

The word, ‘siren’, has two meanings. Aside from a device for cutting through and attracting notice, the siren – in Greek mythology – has a more alluring and seductive meaning, as the name given to the beautiful creatures who lured sailors to them by the sweetness and complexity of their song.

When faced with a radio brief, a creative has the opportunity to make an ad which cuts through and attracts notice, as well as using creativity to engage the listener and draw them in.

The Siren Awards will promote and reward commercials which stand out from the crowd.

The Award Statuette

The half human/half bird image of the siren also lends itself to a statuette design. Most awards use metal or perspex, but CRA is considering alternative materials like driftwood, glass or even fibreglass.