The Buggles were the first band to have a music video played on MTV at 12:01 a.m., August 1, 1981. The video was chock-full of sparks, synth close-ups, cardboard cutouts, and all-too-chic extraterrestrials. Their seemingly presumptuous message, on the other hand, carries some serious weight more than thirty years after the words were first spoken: Video Killed the Radio Star.
Put aside the fact that video is now the victim and reality reigns supreme on MTV and let’s think about this in terms of advertising. When was the the last time you eagerly awaited hearing a radio spot. I, personally, immediately flip to another station upon hearing a radio ad, hoping with all my might that not all of my presets are on commercial break.
On the other hand, we anticipate –and in my case track down and bookmark– some quality video ads. Whether it’s the Apple’s 1984 spot, Budweiser’s frogs of the ’90s, Spike Jonze’s Ikea Lamp commercial, or the brilliantly crafted The Man Your Man Could Smell Like from Old Spice of recent memory, we laugh, wonder, and (only when the girlfriend’s in the other room) tear up a little.
There’s a time and place for radio, but it’s hard to deny that moving images move you more. Take a look at The Mill’s visual work from 2011 at full-screen and try hard to not feel the child-like wonderment and a sort of instant nostalgia.
Now tell me radio can do that.