Creative impulse

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The Independent Online
A pounds 1m print campaign is being mounted for Classic FM, now the UK's most successful commercial radio station. Launched in 1992, it reaches 7.7 million adults, with listeners tuning in for an average of 5.7 hours a week. The trompe l'oeil images shot by photographer Nadav Kander, will appear mainly on billboard sites, though there will be some exposure in the national press.

The client: Classic FM

John Spearman, chief executive

The brief was fairly precise, but rather a difficult one. We wanted a campaign that continued with some of the characteristics and the overall style of our launch campaign, but we've now got to a stage where we've had our best audience figures, and wanted to give people a more fundamental reason for listening to us, rather than focusing on specifics. But we wanted to communicate more than just a thought, and that involved connecting our ideas to striking visuals that could represent other things. We also went for large posters and dramatic positions for the ads, to reinforce the ideas of space and calm and power.

This campaign will have continuity, and is very distinctive: we've thought of some of the emotions and sentiments that emerge when listening to classical music, and then constructed a visual idea out of it.

The agency: Bainsfair Sharkey Trott-BDDP

Paul Bainsfair, chairman

We first of all talked a lot about the need for Classic FM to appropriate the emotional qualities of classical music. We didn't really want to talk about the actual radio station, so much as take the high ground and concentrate on the benefits of classical music.

We tried to interpret that into a simple idea for a poster campaign: a print ad must work quickly. We used shots of instruments from unusual angles to suggest these emotions - the harp to look like a big dipper, for exhilaration, and the brass to look like a refinery, for power - but there was also a need for the instruments to be photographed in a style consistent with the beauty of classical music, which is why we commissioned Nadav Kander.

The ambiguity of these posters reflects the fact that we know we're dealing with an audience with different levels of musical appreciation. Classic FM is listened to by both the cognoscenti and those who approached classical music through more prosaic means. We don't want to pander to those who are really into the music, but then we don't want to be patronising to those who listen more casually. We want to convey the message that you can take whatever you like out of Classic FM.