Wild 107.7/now-94.9 was a flailing enterprise as they tried to figure out their niche in the Bay Area. They couldn’t out-Urban KMEL and straight CHR was killing them, so Jerry Clifton and Rick Thomas looked at the million people in San Jose and thought maybe they should go down and talk to them. Every night they went out to bars and talked to the young Hispanics who said “You should be playing Old School!” Rick and Jerry actually had to ask what that meant.
They went back, started adding in some of this music and kablooey, the rest is history.
I was on a flight into a market where a C Company had just launched a CHR that morning with a really LAME switch. Literally into spots playing some God awful mix of Country and out with Top 40. Coincidentally on the flight was a VP for the company the new station was targeting, so I commented about how their weak launch had made his job a lot easier.
He dismissed me with “No one cares about fucking launches except Radio people.”
Now, I’m used to launching stations that three or four hours into it I can be at an ATM or a McDonalds and hear people talking about it. So…the next day I went out to a mall and 28 hours after the launch asked approximately 400 12-34 y/o’s about the new station.
Not one had heard about it. Five years later they are still mired in obscurity. It’s hard to overcome a weak launch but that’s a whole other blog.
In every market there is ONE idea that people will recall when prompted about “What Radio promotion do you remember here in Riverside.” And 22 years after the fact they’ll tell you about the time KGGI moved to Iowa.
Budweiser spends a billion dollars to get that kind of brand recognition.
I can’t go back to either of the Carolina’s without having someone in a meeting tell me about the launch of 102 Jamz in Greensboro (1988) or the time they lost their “1” (1994).
Those are Mall Ideas. Ideas that decades after the fact people will recall, and you can’t beat a station that continually drops these things on the audience. It’s like a Vietnamese carpet bombing. Shock and awe.
No one is ever going to say 15 years later, “I remember the time that Hot 101 did The Secret Sound!” or “I remember the time Cooter Country did their Anniversary concert and did tickets at Walmart remotes.”
Mall Ideas all apply the Marshall McLuhan theory of how you can massage the message to make it notable and not have it get lost in the thousands of other marketing attacks they get in a single day.
In Paige Terms™ they fucked with it and turned it just slightly 3 degrees off-center.
In my next blog post will dissect what makes up a Mall Idea.