If I put an ad in my local paper and said “This Saturday at 1 pm, I’m going to give ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS to someone who comes to the Target parking lot” there would be Sky Chopper 5 news coverage of the mobs and the traffic jams.
We promise the same amount four times a day and maybe 6% of the audience will pick up the phone and try to win.
Great radio stations have great imaging. Not chlorinated 17 second straight-to-the-point copy. They have fun and there are characters and there’s some teasing and alluding and then there’s a pay off. On the other hand, if Radio was Bud Light, we would have shot down the Real Men of Genius campaign. “He sounds awful. Lose the song and the crap about ‘Mr. Banana Hammock’ and just read the copy damn it. And insert some zaps and lasers.”
Here’s a great exercise; run a clock on network TV promos over three hours of prime time. It’ll blow your mind at what they’re promoting and how far out and frequently they are.
So, KQRS in Minneapolis did a great contest over the past month and sent a winner to Las Vegas to see Elton John, Santana and the Stones on three consecutive nights. They awarded the prize a couple weeks ago and last Friday I was listening as Lisa Miller referenced the winner by name and suburb and said that “Right about now they’re probably at the pool at the Palms, getting ready to go upstairs and get ready for the Elton concert. I bet they stop at the gift shop for aspirin. I wonder why people go through so many aspirin in Las Vegas. Huh.” And then she plugged the next flyaway starting on Monday.
It was Art. And so simple. In a few seconds she painted a picture of sunburned contest winners who’d probably had a few beers and were getting ready to see the first of three huge concerts.
Post-promoting is not hard, especially with trips. And remember that a lot of these trips we send people on are money-can’t-buy experiences. No one who is listening to you will ever go to the Super Bowl or the Grammy’s unless they win somehow. So it’s good to remind the audience occasionally of some of these past contests.
Trips are a Promotional Position. When I go around and do market visits, one of the things we do is a breakdown, position-by-position, of how the battle looks. What’s up for grabs. What position we can steal. One way to do that, especially with trips, is to number them. Like “Fall Flyaway #7”. This also allows you to post-promote previous contests, which normally fall off the radar about five minutes after the Nuts announce the winner. So now, you can do “All this weekend, it’s Jammin’ Jetaway #27. In the past we sent you to buy prescription meds with Mariah Carey, shop for underwear with Ke$ha and see Daughtry in concert at a Ramada Inn in Oshkosh. (prerequisite “zaps” and “lazers”) All this weekend, qualify for Jammin’ Jetaway #27, sending you to…”
In the age of social media and iphones, every winner is potentially an “Official Reporter”. The name is very 1989 but the concept is great. One of the stations sent a morning guy to cover the Grammy’s a few years ago and he ended up doing no calls; just hung out with other radio guys. Flip side? KS95 sent a winner with a digital camera and the hot line number. She did GREAT interviews. She crashed parties. She was amazing. Why? Because she wasn’t jaded. This was going to be the greatest weekend of her life. It sounded amazing. I’ve had, over the years, listeners sneak into a limo at the Golden Globes, onto the floor at Rush’s hotel and into the Playboy party at the Super Bowl.
You should never send winners on trips without instructions to take photos and post them because maybe, possibly, some listener is going to be sitting at Digi Tech looking at your Facebook page and see the fun that the winner is having at the Justin Timberlake show in LA and think, “Maybe I should try to win the next contest.”
That’s why you post-promote. To maybe activate some listeners.