Today Network goes on a charm offensive ahead of Survey One

Opinion from Peter Saxon

It’s hard to be humble when your stations have been number one FM in both Sydney and Melbourne for the best part of a decade. But with new Breakfast and Drive shows on 2Day and Fox as well as at 94.5 in Perth, the Today Network is hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.

“I can’t think of a breakfast show in the history of FM radio in Australia that has launched and gone up in its first survey. And that’s unlikely to happen next Tuesday. But we’re okay with that,” says Head of Content Craig Bruce in a video that’s been widely circulated to the advertising industry and the media.

By first highlighting Today’s weaknesses, and thereby addressing what everybody’s thinking upfront, Bruce then goes on to talk of some of its strengths – particularly when it comes to the Sydney breakfast show’s new found ability to execute solutions for their clients compared to the “previous breakfast show.” Apparently its erstwhile presenters are no longer mentioned by name at SCA… at least, not in polite conversation.

Says Bruce, “It’s a big step forward from the previous show. Jules and Merrick are commercially savvy and incredibly creative. We can make virtually anything happen for our clients. We want to be a partner not just a platform.”

This, actually, is as it should be. It’s good to be number one. It makes selling easier because conventional wisdom dictates that the more ears are trained on any given station, the more results any one ad will deliver to the client. All things being equal, that’s probably true. But it’s not as simple as that. All things are not necessarily equal.

The real question for an advertiser is not how many I sold, but what it cost me to sell each one. As importantly, what has the campaign, as a whole, done for my brand? That’s the question that SCA is hoping that advertisers will ask themselves, Who would you rather associate your brand with, “the previous breakfast show” – that shall not be named or the new show with lots of names: Jules, Merrick and Sophie with Mel B?

To that end, the publicity machine for the new show has been relentless, telling us about all the good things they’ve been doing – some of it good, some of it silly but none of it controversial.
Thw best thing, though, was last week’s stand against internet trolls following the tragic suicide of Charlotte Dawson.

Jules Lund, who launched a similar campaign in 2012 at Fox when the late Ms Dawson was first affected by twitter trolls, led the charge and recruited a bunch of A list celebrities to the cause, #ZeroTrollerance, including: Ricky Martin Lily Allen, Shane Warne and Samantha Jade.

It is with actions like this that the new breakfast show hopes to make it clear that they are a force for good, not evil. And hoping that that’s where Australia’s biggest advertisers want to be too.

 Peter Saxon



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