Q It Up: Production Intensive Promotions

Q-It-Up-Logo-sep95Q It Up: What promotion in the past few years was one of the more challenging ones for you, with regards to the promos and other imaging material you had to produce for it? What steps did you take to meet the challenge? Did the promotion “teach” you anything that made you better than you were before?

Cooper Fox [fox893[at]yahoo.com] Magic 104, Conway, New Hampshire: One of the coolest promotions I have had to image for is the Magic 104 12 Days of Christmas promotion. On the 12 biz days prior to Christmas Eve we play a sounder to cue the listeners to call. There were several different parts to the imaging/production that went on for this. Starting things off, right after T-Giving we did teaser sweepers to push the idea. Then, there were promos to push the details and tell ‘em what they’re gonna’ win! The sounders themselves were the best part, though. I rewrote the 12 Days of Christmas to talk about the prizes... For example: On the first day of Christmas Magic gave to me the gift of skiing... From Cranmore Mountain. The sounders were sung by ad execs, a couple of jocks, and my fiance’.  They were pretty bad, but then again, that was the point. They weren’t supposed to sound like they came from Jam Productions.

Drake Donovan [drake[at]drake donovan.com], WZPT-FM, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: I’d have to say the “Shark Tale” promotion we did this fall was a challenge for me. Coke was supplying a cruise and needed a lot of juice in the promo. Also, I knew nothing about the movie other than it was an animated feature. When I did other movie-based promos, they were for sequels, so I could use sound from the first movie to promote a contest for the second. With no sound or idea of the plot, or how to mate it with Coca-Cola, I decided to play off the title “Shark Tale” and base my promo on the joke about the cabin boy who’s new to the crew of a the pirate ship who asks his captain how he came to have his peg-leg, hook, and eye-patch. I came up with a scene with a group of kids asking a pirate captain to tell them a scary sailing story, and he proceeds to tell his “Shark Tale” about how he won the grand prize in our Star 100.7 contest. It was great because I got to use the character to give out all of the contest info in his story and tell the punch line of the joke. To this point, I had used character-base exposition promos, but they usually just set up a story. This one I knocked out all of the contest and prize info in the skit. I definitely learned that I don’t have to rely exactly on what we’re giving away to build my promo around. It was fun to do, and I got to be the pirate! Arrrrgh!!

Nick Cain [nicholas.cain[at]citcomm. com], Citadel Marketing Group: The promotion our CHR station, 102.5 WIOG, did for the Fall book was “The Fugitive.” The set up required me to create a scenario where a car was stolen, the police are called, they pursue the ‘Fugitive’ and then lose the ‘Fugitive’. It was then up to the listeners to find him/her.

The challenge was the actual setup. Using only theatre of the mind, there were minimal if any voice parts used. I had to put the listener at the scene of the crime. And in a fledgling “Less Is More” world, most of the promos were only 15-20 seconds long.

They built quite a buzz because there were lots of sound effects that really caught the ear if you were in your car or not really focusing on what was happening. This promotion really showed me the power that our medium has; the phones were lit up with people wanting to know what happened, where it happened, etc.

Once the scenario was set up, all the pieces came together in a final promo that detailed what exactly was going on, how they could win, and what exactly they had been hearing for the last week. If anyone would like to hear a ‘montage’ of the promos feel free to email me!

Ian Fish [Ian.Fish[at]chrysalis.com], Heart FM, United Kingdom: “Get A Life” was a promotion that ran on air with one of the simplest mechanics, but most difficult to explain... a series of questions with mutli-choice answers... each answer was numerical and the idea was to get through 4 questions and have all your answers add up to exactly 100!

If you managed that, you got into the draw to win a prize package worth tens of thousands of pounds — holidays, a car, home entertainment, cinema, theater and concert tickets, free meals... everything you need for a full and interesting life.

The contest needed a stack of production, in much the same way as “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” plus promos of winners, teasers and news intros.

The lessons learnt: KISS, keep it simple stupid.

Production value and content can’t make up for an idea it takes the audience weeks to understand.

The prize doesn’t need to be huge to attract callers. In fact, the £50,000+ prize actually put people off as they thought they’d have no chance of winning such a big prize.

Richard Stroobant [bigdick[at]cjay92 .com], CJAY 92/VIBE 98.5/AM 1060 CKMX, Calgary, Alberta, Canada: As a matter of fact, it is the current one we are doing for our Spring BBM ratings period. It’s called Gerry Forbes Toughest Contest Ever. This follows on the heels of G.F. Really Tough Contest, and G.F. Even Tougher Contest. You may have heard something similar in other markets before.

I’d say this one was more challenging because of the daily maintenance this contest needs to be as successful as it was. (For those who haven’t heard this one) We run a “mission” at 7:15 in the morning. We take a caller and ask if they will do the mission. (They have ranged from posing naked on a billboard for 8 weeks, getting your granma’s nose pierced, a really hairy guy getting a back wax, one guy giving a friend a prostate exam, live in a coffin underground for an entire weekend, etc.)

They do the stunt the next day at 7:15am, and then the third day we give a synopsis of what happened/or announce a new mission. On the production side of things, the daily promos were the challenging part. Getting the audio from the 7:15 mission or call, and putting together a promo every morning before 9am so they can run it every 90 minutes throughout the day kept our listeners up to date on what happened. The promos were often updated in the afternoon as well, if anything new occurred (someone changed their mind or couldn’t complete and all day mission like living with 20 pigs in manure all day, couldn’t stay in a body cast all weekend, etc.) or if there was TV/newspaper coverage.

The teasers before this spring’s version and last fall’s version had highlights from the previous contests. So as you can tell, keeping the audio from ALL the missions were vital for this to come off well. It also was at times challenging to get a 5-minute, 1 hour or entire weekend “mission” edited down to a 60 sec promo.

As for what it taught me, first it showed me just how immediate radio can be. We often sell our clients on the fact we can change their ad quicker than newspapers or TV, but this contest used that mentality to the max to benefit our station and the contest. People were talking ALL day and for weeks about the prostate exam, or two females going to another province (state) to get married, or how two grandparents chickened out and didn’t get the station’s logo tattooed on their ass.

This promotion was a grand slam each time we ran it for several reasons: this mission was a perfect fit with our morning guy and his show, the “missions” were outrageous, other media picked up on them, the promos kept them in the loop if they missed 7:15 (or hammered it home even more if they heard it at 7:15). And of course, there was the big cash prize at the end of the contest that everyone went in a draw for.

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