Types of Promotion
Particularly in television news and in
radio niche formats, stations promote a specific image.
In television, a station's news department frequently is
its image. The station's news content is
the primary conduit to the bulk of the station's viewers.
In radio, the station's format---whether rock music or
news/talk---creates the image with its target audience
and promotion is tailored to reflect that reputation.
Image promotion is designed to do two things for television
or radio stations. The campaigns are created to promote
brand loyalty for the station's format, call
letters, and news content and station themes for
reinforcing the image.
In television, this type of promotion is essential for
entertainment shows. The 10-second and 30-second spots
are used to show clips of key moments in individual episodes
of syndicated shows the station carries. All syndicators
now provide episodic "dailies" for their stripped or
weekend episodes, which are distributed by satellite to
Episodics are also used in news. When local news
departments air multipart series, or minidocumentaries,
the promotions manager is charged with developing promotions
for the individual episodes of those series. In large
markets, episodic news promotions are some of the most
criticized promotional elements---as many attempt to
spotlight the most sensational or violent portions of
the series to advertise.
These spots are used to promote general station images
in both television and radio. Generics stress the overall
theme of a station's news department ("more people, more
reporters, the best live coverage," etc.) in television.
Radio promotion typically stresses the format or the
general virtues of the station. These types of spots
are considered more as reinforcement to hold onto
existing viewers or listeners, rather than promotions
which attract audiences from other stations.
These campaigns are structured to highlight key personalities
who are in the prime on-air spots in both radio and
television. For television stations, the news, sports,
and weather anchors are the primary personalities highlighted.
In radio, air personalities are the central focus of
this category of promotion.
The spots usually follow a specific thread, stressing
either the credibility of the news team, or even the
personality quirks of the drive time on-air radio
personalities. Frequency is a key to the success of
these promotions, with the intent to create a "household
word" and "name recognition" for the key personalities.
This is considered the most vital and
effective advertising. For one thing, a station can
constantly reinforce its image and personalities with
its most loyal viewers/listeners. Second, television
viewers are said to sample a newscast they do not regularly
watch at least twice a week for at least ten minutes.
In radio, listeners typically spin the dial at least
four times per week away from their favorite station.
This sampling affords promotions managers opportunities
to attract audiences not typically loyal. Radio, in
particular, is vulnerable to audience switches. Surveys
indicate most radio stations lose twenty per cent of
their listeners each year, due to personality or format
burnout. On-air promotion is essential to attracting new
listeners to compensate for the losses.
Print advertising is not considered as
effective as in earlier decades, primarily because fewer
people are reading newspapers. For newspaper success,
promotion managers are now challenged to target pages
which attract readers which most compliment their listening
targets. For example, a station which has an adult
contemporary format which features a heavy diet of younger,
hipper female vocalists may best target the women's page
of a newspaper to advertise its station, rather than the
entertainment page. In some instances, stations are
buying space for full tabloid sections of newspapers (in
large cities, as many as 16 pages) to promote their
personalities (with information on their families, hobbies,
other interests, etc.).
These are primarily used for promotions
in larger cities, which feature special interest city or
regional magazines. However, the target audience for
these would likely be upscale, business and recreational
oriented viewers or listeners. Magazines are not considered
one of the more effective methods to advertise, primarily
because they do not have the repetition reading factor
Billboards and bus sides are
considered the two least effective methods of broadcast
promotion. The net effect never results in converting
viewers or listeners away from other stations, because
they provide no tangible evidence to audiences of why
they should switch stations. As a whole, stations use
these outlets if they have spare dollars in promotion, in
order to reinforce existing loyalties as a station's
listeners or viewers pass by the advertisements on
highways. Programming consultant Ed Dougherty suggests
outdoor advertising primarily feeds the ego of a station's
staff, which often tends to panic when it sees an opposing
station investing heavily in billboards or buses.
The advertising swap, or tradeout,
is an effective method of radio and television stations
using each other's media to promote their products. Typically
reserved for the ratings sweep periods, radio and
television stations often see television stations using
radio to promote daily episodic bullet points of the
stories to air on their newscasts in the same evening. In
some instances, a television meteorologist will deliver
an afternoon forecast for the radio listeners via telephone.
In the reverse, radio stations will produce television
commercials to promote their music formats or air personalities
during key ratings survey periods. In the tradeout, no
money is exchanged, only avails.
More to Come on Promotion 2
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