Magazine article Marketing

Radio Watch

Magazine article Marketing

Radio Watch

Article excerpt

The controversy over pre-election Government advertising came as no surprise to Radiowatch. Several months ago, this column reported a dramatic increase in COI Communications radio work at the dawn of election year. This month's table, however, only features two COI campaigns -- the National Benefit Fraud Hotline and the Territorial Army.

Also in the national headlines is the mobile telecoms industry, a victim of its own success that is now enduring media reports of massive redundancies, rising phone costs and health and environmental risks linked to mobile technology.

Advertising budgets are already being affected, although radio -- often used as a tactical promotional medium -- remains a key value vehicle for the big brands. Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone Retail and One 2 One retain their grip on the May league. In fact, Carphone Warehouse is number one for the sixth successive month with radio awareness close to saturation point -- around 70% -- in some areas.

There have been four recent Carphone Warehouse commercials, two for basic tariff offers, one promoting Pay As You Go phones before this month's price hike and the fourth addressing the flak the chain received after its 'hands-free amnesty' last year.

Critics said that the 'free ear-pieces' offer encouraged people to use mobile phones while driving, bringing a continued risk to driver concentration. Carphone is now offering to install a proper, hands-free car kit for particular phones, saving the customer around [pound]200.

Vodafone Retail uses radio not only to drive people into its 400 stores but also to direct people to the Vodafone network. This month, it has extended its 'Help at Hand' TV work with a radio ad contrasting Vodafone's helpfulness with people (such as a pilot attempting to land a plane) not receiving the help they need.

Vodafone's broad target audience has led OMD UK to buy a mix of prime and daytime ads, back-weighted toward the weekend and upweighted in areas of greater Vodafone penetration.

One 2 One has changed its radio strategy from supporting TV brand messages to using it as a standalone tactical and local medium driving specific messages such as the current value message.

One 2 One has been off-air for most of this year re-evaluating its advertising and now, says marketing communications head Tina Harrison, "we are back with a big bang". …

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