First published in Campaign.

Big congratulations to Aerial Awards winners Tom Dixon and Jo Griffin (the creative brains behind worldwide campaign ‘Missing Type‘) for their radio ad ‘Potatoes’ for NHS Blood & Transplant. Aerial Awards judge Martin Loraine comments:

The writer/director Billy Wilder had a rule: “Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go.” And that’s why I chose this spot, for NHS Blood & Transplant.

The commercial begins: “I’m there as she’s rushed down the corridor of A&E. Her bloodied hands are hanging limp from the side of the hospital bed …” Then, throats grabbed, the protagonist’s point of view flips – from an A&E corridor to a supermarket aisle. Because she is a blood donor, and she’s saving someone’s life while getting on with her own.

Here is a tight script – drama, totally at the service of the message. A simple but arresting narrative technique, too. And a single voice backed by sparse, meaningful use of special effects.

By seeing radio similarly – as an opportunity to be similarly ambitious, single-minded, and innovative as with any other channel. And by seeing the possibilities of audio, as demonstrated by the best podcasts and the successful TV shows that began in radio.

By challenging the 30″ spot – seemingly the default length for radio. This is a problem because in audio, we voice the logo, end line, phone number, hashtag, site and any legals, leaving barely any time to engage.

By pushing your craft. With TV, you may spend weeks crafting to reward repeat viewings only to see it on air once. With radio, the opposite is true. While some spots become infuriating with repeat listening, those with great craft only improve.”

Credits

Client NHS Blood & Transplant
Agency WCRS
Creatives Tom Dixon, Jo Griffin
Producer Kaiya Taffel
Sound house Wave Studios
Engineer Martin Leitner