Neuroscience tells us that people are in a more receptive frame of mind when listening to radio than watching TV, but radio ads still need to “come out swinging”, according to a specialist in this market.

When people listen to audio, the brain moves from beta frequency to alpha, Ralph Van Dijk, founder of radio and audio specialist agency Eardrum, told the recent Mumbrella Audioland conference in Sydney.

While beta is alert, concentrated and somewhat stressed, alpha is a slower, more relaxed state of mind, he explained – and this is the ideal condition to consume new information and perform elaborate tasks.

“It’s what sport science calls ‘the zone’,” he elaborated. (For more, read WARC’s report: How to use audio to build rapport and drive action.)

This decreased frequency or level of activity in the brain can lead to significant increases in feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine and endorphins, creating something of a sweet spot – an ideal state of mind to be hearing advertising.

“People use audio to make themselves feel happier,” said Van Dijk. “And the happier people are, the more receptive they are to advertising.”

But that in itself is not enough to achieve cut through as listeners can easily choose to switch off mentally.

“The ad starts. Five, is this interesting? Four, this guy is shouting at me. Three, this guy’s boring. Two, this is completely irrelevant. One, now I’m thinking about dinner,” he said. “So I haven’t touched the radio. I haven’t done anything, but mentally, I’m out of there.”

That’s why “you need to come out swinging”, Van Dijk stated.

“You need to come out with an idea that is going to actually bring the listener into your world and then take them from whatever they’re thinking about. They may have zoned out and you need to bring them back into your world.

“You simply cannot afford to be dull, predictable or insincere in this environment.”

Sourced from WARC