A radio sales tactic your station must try!

The radio ads targeted to just one person

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that radio, as an advertising medium, works really well. Really well. People listen to what’s on the radio – even advertising messages.

You might remember a few radio ads for radio itself. Most of them I’ve ever heard are either talking about the “theatre of the mind” (not very interesting to a would-be advertiser), or use a cheaply-made voiceover saying that radio advertising is “cheaper than you think” and “after all, you’re listening to it!” – you know the score.

So you might like this from the UK’s Radiocentre – a kind of cross between a commercial radio association and a Radio Advertising Bureau.

Radiocentre spotted a few key clients who aren’t spending enough on UK radio. So they did their research. Looking at Unilever (who make everything from tea bags to detergent), they found the Chief Marketing Officer, a man rejoicing in the name of Keith Weed. His Twitter profile says he’s a “lover of all things visual”, which doesn’t bode well for his radio spend.

Radiocentre proceeded to make a radio ad – just for him. They then got it onto the types of radio stations he might be listening to in the morning. Here’s the ad.

When the ads went out, the response was quite fast. “You can not believe how many calls and emails I’ve had from people who had heard it,” tweeted Keith, presumably vaguely flattered at the attention. Others tweeted him to say how great his ad was.

After a day of this ad, in primetime across a number of stations, he’d got the message: radio works. Keith managed to respond by tweeting a rap from one of his brand’s mascots (a monkey that sells tea, as it happens). As a piece of highly-targeted advertising, it worked beautifully.

Radiocentre have now targeted people at a few more companies: Craig Inglis, the Customer Director from department store John Lewis (think Macy’s or David Jones); and Hugh Pile, the Chief Marketing Officer of makeup company L’Oreal. You can hear all the ads here.

The five, nine, twelve or fifteen minutes of advertising that goes out on a typical commercial radio station every hour is just as much a part of the sound of the station as the songs and the presenters; and this is a nice way to have a bit of fun to land a great point: that radio really works and can grab peoples’ attention.


About The Author

James Cridland is a radio futurologist: a writer, speaker and consultant on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business across the world.

A former radio presenter, James has worked for stations and companies across the world, including the original Virgin Radio in London, the BBC, Futuri Media, Imagination Technologies and Seven Network. He has judged many industry awards, including the CBAA, ABC Local Radio, RAIN and the UK’s ARIAS.

He writes for publications across the world, and runs media.info the worldwide media information website. He also runs a free weekly newsletter with news of radio’s future.  

British by birth, James lives in Brisbane, QLD and is a fan of craft beer.