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ABX has long been fascinated by the power of radio.  We’ve written several blogs on the topic, which are full of research: “Four Great Tips for Radio Advertising” and “Research Shows Radio Advertising may be Most Effective.”  And today we directly compare sets of TV and radio ads that are very similar, to see how well both score.  We’d love to hear your feedback at the end!

If you are a believer in Field and Binet’s findings that reach matters, and if you are not taking advantage of radio’s exquisite reach capabilities, you are missing the boat.  The CPM for radio is usually ½ to 1/3 that of TV. So, moving some TV funds to radio usually produces significantly higher reach.

Often the excuse for not doing this is the need for sight, sound, and motion that TV provides and, in many cases, the lack of confidence in radio creative’s ability to move the needle. But extensive ABX data shows that radio can be nearly as effective as television when best practices in audio creative are followed.  

To demonstrate this point, we identified three strong ads that ran with a comparable creative construct in television and radio and compared an aggregated metric, the ABX Index, which has been shown to correlate to sales, along with five other creative KPIs.

Arby’s – “Two for Six Bucks Every Day (TV) vs (Radio)

Arby’s has created effective TV and radio ads linked below. The radio ads are 8% less effective than the TV ads, but given the huge difference in cost, radio wins on a “bang for the buck”basis. The TV ad is full of food creativity and visual promise and the narrator sells it with enthusiasm. Click the$2 for $6 image below.


The 30-second radio spot actually sounds even better, with the same announcer throwing great enthusiasm into the spot and building similar mental food visuals. (click the radio image to hear above).

ABX compared the scores for each ad below.  Many of the KPIs are neck-in-neck including Any Action, which includes intended action such as Purchase, Talk About, Look For, Talk About, etc.   

Kroger’s – “Want to Know the Secret?”(Radio) vs “At Kroger, our Secret Shoppers do Pop-in Inspections” (TV)

Kroger’s radio ad is only 2% less effective than their matching TV ad, providing ample reason to improve reach by providing more weight to radio.

This :15 TV spot is beautiful in its animation and uses the “Secret Agent Man” music to make the spot pop and show that Kroger’s “secret shoppers” really do inspections of competitor grocery stores’ products.  


The radio version is also very strong, with the music and a strong female announcer describing the “secret shopper” program while going on to promote some specific produce.

Chick-fil-A – “Ever Wonder Where the Capital A in Chick-fil-A Comes from?” (TV) and (Radio)

Chick-Fil-A’s radio ad is 9% less effective than their matching TV spot. What a wonderful 15-second TV spot with a surprise at the end. The spot’s premise is the “A” is for all the “little things” Chick-Fil-a does to bring you their best. The hand-written bags are a marvelous touch.


Radio does almost as well with the same music and voice and an additional male voice listing some of the extra things they do.  Overall, if I were marketing for Chick-fil-A, I’d use radio liberally in my creative mix for additional reach.

If you have questions about this article or how ABX can help your brand, contact us HERE.