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Where are the award-winning audio ads?

In recent years, award-winning audio advertising, or audio ads for short, has been absent from Dutch award shows. And that’s a pity because audio is the perfect medium to put the listener’s imagination to work.

First of all, what exactly is an audio ad? An audio ad is a form of advertising in which sound is used as the primary medium, such a radio commercial. They can vary in length. Audio ads are traditionally used on radio, but are equally suitable for streaming platforms such as Spotify, or within podcasts. With audio ads, you can create a broad reach and, above all, make your brand sound recognizable. Multiple scientific studies have shown that on brand (i.e with a recognizable sound) and creatively memorable commercials are more effective with any given audience.

However, the current audio ad landscape is dominated by banal price offers with or without a .com reference. And that’s a shame because, creatively, you can do so much more with an audio ad. Steve Allen was thinking of all those possibilities when he called radio the theater of the mind. Here are some international examples that show how creative one can be with audio ads:

In 2019, the German company Toppits developed a seemingly simple but very distinctive commercial:






Chili Con Carne

“Less is more,” also applies to some audio commercials. Within 7 seconds, and with just one word, a strong image can immediately be evoked. Sometimes very little copy is needed for an ear-catching commercial. It is no coincidence that Toppits won various audio awards with their advertising, including a London International Award and the New York Festivals Advertising Award.

Swim Ireland
In 2020, Swim Ireland developed this impressive and goosebump-inducing commercial in collaboration with Irish Boys+Girls for the start of Drowning Prevention Week.

Another great example of an ad that tells a story with very few words. As a listener, you cannot help but be affected by its message. The commercial won several awards, including two D&AD Pencils.

Wunderman Thompson created a great radio ad for IKEA’s Small Space Value Collection. Listen here
A 1-minute radio commercial divided into 20 super short spots that ‘fit anywhere’, just like the furniture in the IKEA collection. This innovative way of advertising won them a Grand Prix at the 2022 Dubai Lynx, among others.

Go RVing
This campaign developed by FCB Chicago proves that distinctiveness does not have to be short in length. Brilliantly written, dry humorous copy that speaks to the imagination. The commercial received a Best of Show award at the 2022 Radio Mercury Awards.


Go RVing

Salt & Silver Am Meer 
Who are the actual seafood experts? This audio ad for a German seafood restaurant knows, and features them well. 


Salt Silver am Meer

For the online learning platform Squla, the Amsterdam agency Buutvrij, in collaboration with Amp.Amsterdam developed an audio ad consisting of three parts:







“Show, don’t tell,” a writing technique that can also be effective for audio ads. Without being explicit, this commercial shows how Squla helps in educating kids. The first ad features a terrible flute performance that grabs your attention, and makes you wonder. The second ad features the same music piece, but an audibly better performance. Finally, we hear a pretty solid performance in the 3rd ad: the child has clearly studied hard to master the piece. Squla helps those who want to learn, and advocates perseverance.

In short: So much is possible with audio ads. They can be fun, smart, innovative, or deeply moving. Whichever form or message you choose, it provides an (affordable) opportunity to stand out from the clutter. And for a brand, is that not exactly what you want?

Are you a marketer or creative and interested in making remarkable audio ads? Do not hesitate to reach out, we would love to hear from you. At Amp.Amsterdam // The Sonic Branding Company, we want to give the audio ad the stature and the creative fire power it deserves. For any questions or to schedule a brainstorm session, please contact Maurice Paans.


Maurice Paans

Client Director

Contact Maurice