Radio Advertisers Get Their Own Agency: Hyperbolic Creative

The average American listens to 14 hours of radio each week and 93% of listeners don't skip commercials, according to Nielsen Audio. Simply put, they are a captive audience for advertisers.

Now, two former Leo Burnett executives, Darren Wright and Dave Skinner, are launching Hyperbolic Creative, a full-service agency to concentrate solely on radio advertising.

Wright and Skinner will serve as the executive creative directors. Conor Murphy, Sean Elias-Reyes, and Julian Rebolledo will serve as co-founders and managing partners. They will be joined by staff of around 10 on site and an off-site writer pool.

"We have thought for a long time that radio advertising was being underserved creatively, not by choice of the large agencies, but as a consequence of the pressures of TV budgeting and the mad scramble to social and digital marketing," say Wright and Skinner. "As we are working on radio every day, we saw that this could be done better and decided to put a team together. We are launching now because we feel we have the best team in radio advertising and that our team is the equal of any team at any agency on any account in any medium."



The New York City-based office will host a recording studio, radio casting, and production facility to offer end-to-end services to clients. Currently, Dreamworks Animation, the BBC, HBO, Paramount and Nickelodeon all produce content at its location. 

“Here’s what Hyperbolic Creative brings to the table: two executive creative directors with 20+ years of experience making national brands stand out, a fully dedicated radio casting and production facility in midtown Manhattan, 50 award-winning writers, and a team that knows the nuts and bolts of radio. We look forward to putting all of this talent and all of our resources to work for your brands,” the agency’s founders said.

Wright and Skinner join Hyperbolic Creative after launching the New York office of Leo Burnett. Previously, at BBDO, they led the charge in transitioning AT&T into the number one mobile brand in the world. Throughout their careers, they have created award-winning work for the NFL, Sony, and the United Nations.

The agency's name was an obvious decision, said Elias-Reyes. "When you endeavor to open a business you naturally want it to be the best. We want all of our clients to think of us in the most hyperbolic terms possible. … We want our clients to have the best creatives working to give them the best spots possible."

Still, they admit it will be a challenge to get brands to embrace radio over newer, trendy channels. "Our major challenge is to educate clients and show them that radio is an incredibly powerful platform," say Wright and Skinner. "The numbers could not be clearer. Radio is the best bang per dollar spent in advertising - by a wide margin. Is it ok for your radio advertising to be just ok? We think no."

11 comments about "Radio Advertisers Get Their Own Agency: Hyperbolic Creative".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 5, 2014 at 10:47 a.m.

    Does anyone believe that just because 93% of radio listeners don't change stations or tune out during an average commercial ( minute? ), according to portable peoplemeter measurements, that radio audiences pay attention or "listen to" 93% of all commercials broadcast on their receivers? Of course, Nielsen isn't claiming this and rightly so as it has no way of knowing whether or not people actually listen to radio commercials. Still, the implication is there, hence my comment. Beware of such statistics.......they are highly misleading.

  2. John Harpur from Yellow Submarine, November 5, 2014 at 12:40 p.m.

    The 93% average commercial tune for Radio comes, of course, from the 2011 Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) report on "What Happens When the Spots Come On?" This report claims an average break of 3.5 minutes. And the commercial tune is significantly lower for younger audiences, non-drive time day-parts, and music formats.

    Our own study of Kantar data in 2012 shows the preponderance of commercial breaks to be 5 minutes or more, especially on music formats.

    As Ed suggests, I would posit that no one can actually "listen" to five, six, sometime seven minutes or more of Radio commercials. Even when the breaks may be interrupted with a quick weather or traffic report or DJ announcement.

  3. Cece Forrester from tbd, November 5, 2014 at 8:02 p.m.

    Well, one may mentally tune it out if one has heard it 57 times already.

    Here's an idea for these guys: Make sure the commercial is intelligible on any radio, not just your state of the art equipment. And that anything like a product name or a URL is not mumbled or buried under music. Try spelling it out or saying slowly if it's really ambiguous. And if you spell it out, remember that some letters sound almost alike--B and V, for example. You'd be surprised how many radio commercials there are that run into this problem. I keep picturing some guys scratching their heads wondering why they didn't get the response they were expecting.

  4. Jonathan Latzer from MarketJon, November 6, 2014 at 12:17 p.m.

    Wow. Amazing comments. Maybe we should give these guys a chance. Very few if anyone is trying to improve radio creative today. These guys are at least attempting to do that. Instead of critiquing the obvious, maybe we should see if the work they do creates a meaningful impact for the brands that employ them. Radio has been "dissed" so much and of course there are many alternatives but whatever figure you choose to believe it's still an effective medium for brands especially on the local level where a majority of radio dollars are spent.

  5. Jerry Gibbons from Gibbons Advice, November 6, 2014 at 12:36 p.m.

    I'm thrilled to see anyone, particularly really talented people, do anything to improve the creativity and quality of an form of advertising. And, I believe, that radio could use that kind of focus. Who knows, perhaps they can even have an effect on the format in which the commercials appear? That would be great too.

  6. Bob O'Connor from Compass Media Networks, November 6, 2014 at 12:46 p.m.

    Well said, John Latzer. As a 30+ year radio veteran, I'm continually amazed at the lack of attention that is paid to audio creative. Radio can, and does, work wonders for marketers when used properly. Best of luck to the Hyperbolic team...we're glad to have you on board!

  7. Jim Alkon from CRN, November 6, 2014 at 1:15 p.m.

    People can twist statistics about radio to whatever best suits their needs. So here are some more stats you can twist - CRN asked 525 consumers of varied demographics about their listening habits regarding commercials and which radio messaging tactics are most likely to prompt them to take action. Here's what we found:

  8. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 6, 2014 at 2:48 p.m.

    The RAB and others have long maintained that the large agencies relegate radio ad crafting to junior people while their creative "stars" handle TV and I have seen this myself. As a result, many---not all, I should note----radio spots do not put forth the best effort that the client deserves and the recall research shows it. Typically, there is a larger gap between the performance of the top radio ads----those with effective creative and positioning messages----and the others than is seen with TV commercials, which sort of proves that point. A few advertisers are well served; many are not. While it is a general poll, which has its limitations, the study which Jim referred to, above, noted that 80% of the respondents pay little attention to radio ads while 67% claim that they rarely get beyond the second message in a commercial break. Obviously, it's high time that somebody makes an attempt to redress this situation----hopefully guided by good advertising impact research, which tends to be lacking for the radio medium. Good luck, guys.

  9. Paul Anthony from Connoisseur Media, November 7, 2014 at 5:45 a.m.

    On MediaPost's own website, when I registered as a member, the categories I had to select from to describe my work were: Media Company ( TV, newspapers, Online publisher, ad networks, etc. ) Radio wasn't even listed. It's about time RADIO gets some respect in the advertising world. Best wishes for success Hyperbolic Creative!

  10. Larry Oakner from CoreBrand, November 10, 2014 at 2:53 p.m.

    As the writer of AND NOW A FEW LAUGHS FROM OUR SPONSOR, The Best of Fifty Years of Radio Commercials, I applaud Hyperbolic Creative's passionate entry into the market. Even with the transient attention of today's potential listeners, good creative radio advertising remains a powerful form of media. Good luck on your venture!

  11. Jenna Fox from Journal Broadcast Group, November 12, 2014 at 1:11 p.m.

    Creative IS the difference maker in radio as well as other forms of advertising. We need more people like this ready to harness the power of RADIO. And as for surveys... what people write down or say that they do does not always amount to what they actually do. Marketing isn't supposed to work that way. Let the haters hate... go out and make people money with radio! Good luck guys!

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