MAM

Radio provides unique options to advertisers

MUMBAI: While speaking at the Advertising Club Bombay's Value Creation seminar on marketing entertainment and their growing inter-dependence, Banyan Tree Communications CMD Anish Trivedi reiterated that radio FM presents an inexpensive, repetitive and reinforcing option that scores over television and cinema advertising. He added that radio has become a mobile companion for consumers for any time of the day. Lambasting the viewership surveys, Trivedi urged the advertising fraternity to go by the feel and the content of radio FM channels. He reasoned that the "silence" between the "songs" is what determined the popularity of the radio channels as all of them played the same songs.

Here are some excerpts from Trivedi's presentation:

A radio station has to choose its audience and define the various characteristics of the listener. Radio, an intimate medium, connects to audiences due its personalized rapport with the listener. Listeners don't have to fight for a remote to listen to radio; they could listen to "what they wanted, when they wanted and where they wanted!". A study conducted in the US showed that 63 per cent listeners listen to radio on their own as against 39 per cent who get to watch TV on their own.

A BBC World service survey stated that a majority (50 per cent) of the people who participated in a poll wanted a radio as a companion if they were marooned on an island. The other options TV (33 per cent), magazine subscription (9 per cent) and newspapers (9 per cent) lagged behind radio. The average listening for people in the UK had increased to 3.5 hours a day and 5.5 hours on weekends. The listening was ruled by high station loyalty due to a long period of association with the station of choice.

Radio is an intimate and mobile medium that provides instant gratification to the listener. The level of interactivity in radio is higher than that in other mediums. This trend was augmented by technology such as call-ins, e-mails and SMS through mobile phones. The best part is that the listeners can be heard on radio and the RJs actually listen to them unlike in TV. McDonalds used radio advertising effectively to draw instant response from target audiences for instance a family going out listens to a radio jingle and immediately heads for the nearest McDonalds outlet. McDonalds "Aao Match Kare" contest was aired on radio as well as the outlets simultaneously resulting in a multiplier effect and more participation.

Radio advertising also provides several options of developing contests around promotions and events. For instance, Cadburys was sponsoring the popular Malhar youth festival in Mumbai and supplemented the campaign by bringing the festival live on radio to listeners. Kenya Airways used radio as a medium to create awareness of its latest offerings. The British Council used radio to create enquiries amongst the students and discerning audiences generated through programmes such as radio adaptations of famous novels like A Suitable Boy.

The advertising fraternity must look at the niche numbers based on qualitative research rather than the quantitative analysis. The cost of advertising on radio was cost-effective and cheaper as compared to TV and print advertising. Advertisers and agencies could come up with different creatives at a fraction of cost of what it takes to create TV advertisements. For instance, Yankee Doodle ice-cream came up with 50 different spot ads to be aired - a new one every week.

The programming on radio can be customized and adapted to advertiser requirements. Parle Beverages Bisleri did an innovative ad campaign to introduce their "20 per cent extra free" campaign. Bisleri asked the programming team to add two more songs to the popular Go 92.5 FM one hour programme called "Anish Trivedi's picks 10 songs". The Bisleri team developed radio spots to be aired during the programme.



Radio can also do social cause marketing advertising and provide advertisers with an additional opportunity. For instance, Go 92.5 FM conducted auctions of memorabilia and the highest bid was given away to NGOs. Radio also gave an opportunity to listeners who could contribute their mite to social causes and feel nice about the whole experience.

Cadbury Temptations sponsored a late Sunday night Jazz show simply because the signature tune of the Cadbury jingle was inspired by a Jazz tune. Also, there was a perfect synergy between the brand and the kind of songs that were played on the late Sunday night slot.

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