Live, real and uncut: advertising imitates reality in FCB’s raw ‘Radio Punks’ promos

Structure, planning and order aren’t words often associated with student radio. And why should they be? The raw spontaneity of these services is exactly what makes them so appealing to the university students who intermittently tune in to listen to ramblings of young radio jocks cutting their teeth on the airwaves. And it was this rawness that FCB aimed to tap into with a series of radio ads and online videos created to promote local documentary Radio Punks: the student radio story, which recently aired on Prime TV.

Rather than developing a series of over-produced ads, FCB instead emulated student radio and had a bit of fun with the process. 

The agency developed three radio ads, featuring presenters reading out a script while under extreme circumstances. One presenter underwent a tongue piercing for the campaign, another was beaten by a kickboxer and the third had a chicken peck grain off his bare chest and stomach. 

“To promote the documentary Radio Punks The student radio story, on Prime TV, we put together a radio campaign made in true student radio style, fast, loose and on the smell of an oily rag,” says FCB senior creative Peter Vegas. “The recording was filmed and the making of videos were shared on FB. No students were harmed in the making of this campaign except for Ollie, who took some severe kicks to the head from the female Thai kickboxer ‘Princess of Pain.'” 

The radio ads that emerged from this process ran unedited, bringing a taste of student radio chaos to mainstream radio. And given that radio is an increasingly visual medium, FCB also captured the chaos on video and published them online.

However, chaos isn’t the only thing to have emerged from student radio. Some of the most talented personalities in the media industry started their careers on the medium. Jeremy Wells, John Campbell, Marcus Lush, Russell Brown and Mike Havoc are just a few of the names that first appeared on student radio lineups.   

“Thousands of prominent New Zealanders got their start because they could go along to a student radio station and talk nonsense,” said Wells, now a presenter on Hauraki, during an interview with Stuff. “That’s a big part of it, I think, of why student radio appeals. The best thing about it is that you can get in there and make mistakes and nobody really air-checks you, nobody judges you.”


From a boat out at sea to our university halls then out into the big wide world. NZ radio legends speak of their early days on the airwaves in our final Prime Presents NZ Season documentary – Radio Punks: The Student Radio Story, 8.30pm tonight.

Posted by Prime TV on Monday, 17 August 2015

The documentary screened on Prime TV in August, but the content can now be viewed on SkyGo

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