A controversial radio ad for Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), has won the 2009 Gold Siren award for best radio ad of the year.

ASCA is a national organisation that works to improve the lives of adult survivors of child abuse throughout Australia.

The ad called ‘21st Birthday, which also won a Silver Siren for the single advertisement category, was announced as winner of the industry’s annual award for creative excellence in radio advertising, and will be automatically entered into the Cannes Radio Lions to be held next month at the Cannes Advertising Festival.

Judge, Emma Hill, group creative director Clemenger BBDO believes that the winner was the stand out ad in terms of making you stay, listening and feel something, even though that something was ‘incredibly uncomfortable’.

“So many radio ads just wash over you and are easy to ignore. This one wasn’t. It’s hard hitting yes, but I think it gets the message across that child abuse is very difficult to move on from and that victims need a lot of love and support to do so,” Hill.

One of three in the ASCA campaign, has been termed controversial because of its use of humour to promote awareness about child abuse, and the accompanying television campaign has been heavily criticised for being insensitive to viewers.

“The three radio ads, the radio component of ASCA’s national campaign are sharp and punchy and like the rest of the campaign, confront the long-term legacy of child abuse head on. They highlight the horror of emotional, sexual and physical abuse intentionally utilising both male and female perpetrators and victims. We are thrilled with their impact – they are spearheading real change,” explains Dr Cathy Kezelman, ASCA chair.

The ad ‘Rugby’, also part of the ASCA campaign, won a Silver Siren Award for the 2009 craft category winner.

“Most public service commercials try to tug at the heart strings, or shock with graphic imagery. We figured people tune out to that kind of approach. A lot of people think victims of childhood abuse should just get over it and we wanted to show they can’t,” says Steve Dodds from Whybin TBWA.

List of 2009 Siren Award winners:

Siren Awards 2009 Overall Category Winner (Gold Trophy)

Agency: Whybin TBWA, Sydney
Writer: Steve Dodds
Client: Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA)
Commercial Title: 21st Birthday

Siren Awards 2009 Single Category Winner (Silver Trophy)

Agency: Whybin TBWA, Sydney
Writer: Steve Dodds
Client: Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA)
Commercial Title: 21st Birthday

Siren Awards 2009 Campaign Category Winner (Silver Trophy)

Agency: The Brand Agency, Perth
Writer: Kurt Beaudoin and Josh Edge
Client: Perth Zoo
Campaign Title: Find Your Animal

Siren Awards 2009 Craft Category Winner (Silver Trophy)

Agency: Whybin TBWA, Sydney
Sound Engineer: Beau Silvester
Creative Director: Garry Horner and Matt Kemsley
Client: Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA)
Campaign Title: Rugby