My Biz

Submit content

My Account


Media Company news South Africa

Audio showing its ROMI prowess and the power of sounding odd

The power of radio and the audio ecosystem received a significant boost as the trusted medium for advertisers during a time of uncertainty for brands, with the launch of the inaugural 72-hour radio and audio marathon, SoundGen.
Carl Willoughby
Carl Willoughby

Powered by Mediamark, East Coast Radio, Jacaranda FM, and Kaya 959, SoundGen sparked a new narrative and discussion around audio creativity, technology, content integration, and trends. The event welcomed 50 leading South African brands, advertising agency creatives, and strategists.

"SoundGen was six months in the making," said Mediamark head of marketing Charlie Wannell. "When we started this project, we aimed to have meaningful conversations with the right audience, and we wanted the content to resonate and amaze them. It all started with developing a forward-thinking platform and then delivering on that promise."

SoundGen truly delivered on that promise! An impressive line-up of award-winning speakers and industry leaders, such as Carl Willoughby, chairman of Creative Circle and TBWA CCO; Garreth van Vuuren, founder and CEO of RAPT Creative at Mortimer Harvey; and Terry McKenna, creative director at the Odd Number, kicked off with content on creativity in the audio space and connecting emotionally with audiences across culture, age, and gender.

Garreth van Vuuren
Garreth van Vuuren

Terry McKenna coined the phrase of the conference when referring to the “power of sounding odd”, and challenged the delegates to have the courage to be offensive when it comes to audio creativity.

The impact continued over the next two days as brand strategists, and CMOs were taken on a journey of insights and education into the advancements radio and audio have made in technology, audience loyalty and trust, and ROMI – return on media investment.

The future of audio was a hot topic with digital audio advancements and podcasting insights taking centre stage.

Heavyweight speakers included Adrian Naidoo, MD Mindshare, Chris Borain head of digital audio IAB, Deirdre King, managing director of Jacaranda FM; Bala Dama CEO Podcast & Chill Network, Melissa McNally, research and analytics manager at Kagiso Media Radio; Nando's CMO Doug Place, who was recognised as the 2024 MAA Marketer of the Year; and Dashni Vilakazi, managing director of The Media Shop, and recently announced juror for the Media Lions at the 2024 Cannes Lions.


"The SoundGen content was very fresh as it illustrated the innovation of audio and how marketers can engage, connect, and influence audiences while also providing flexibility, targeted reach, and cost-effectiveness," said Vilakazi. "Standing out in a cluttered marketplace, the correct creative will help a brand break through the noise and capture attention. Building a brand personality through storytelling, voice, and music is vital currency. SoundGen certainly took us on this journey," Vilakazi concluded.

Creating vital currency through storytelling was also precisely what SoundGen achieved with their SoundGen After-Dark programme. Bringing the radio station environment to life for their guests, the evenings were filled with a fusion of delicious dining and live entertainment, including the first public appearance by Lira since her stroke two years ago. The hour-long experience saw Lira interviewed personally and up close by Elana Afrika-Bredekamp, taking the audience through Lira's heroic two years of recovery. In a safe space, as Lira termed it, she engaged, cried, and sang as the SoundGen guests held onto every word spoken, and every note harmonised.

"I truly believe SoundGen was a ground-breaking three days for the audio industry. When we started this journey with our strategist, we had no clue that the conversation would become so big," said Wannell. "But now we truly understand the complexities that creative teams, brand strategists, and CMOs face when planning and looking at elements such as the content mix, building brand loyalty, reaching various consumer segments, engagement, and most importantly ROMI, and not understanding to a certain extent the mediums available in the market. SoundGen certainly provided a lot of clarity in this regard – and audio independently stood its ground as the most trusted medium and a Master of Marketing”.

Let's do Biz