Thursday, 9 December 2010

You know what ? I am going to come out of the closet and tell everyone something that I have kept quiet about for many years.

I LOATHE ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

There. It’s off my chest and I feel a darn sight better for revealing my dirty little secret.

It feels like the whole world loves this show. But to me, just one note of a Cha Cha Cha or a glimpse of a sequin outfit adorning someone coated with orange fake tan makes me, cringe.

‘Strictly’ is one of many TV shows that uses celebrities to entertain us. On top of that, magazines like ‘Hello !’, ‘OK’ and ‘Heat’ publish millions of words about who’s doing what, with whom and where. Celebrity and everything that surrounds it is a huge industry and the public just can’t get enough of it.

All this makes me think that perhaps some radio advertisers are missing out on a trick. There are very few ‘celebrity’ brands on the air. By this, I mean local or regional advertisers taking an offering (be it a brand or a service) and creating a campaign that turns an ordinary company into a hugely popular icon.

Think about it. A business, product or service that everyone wants to be near or to be seen in. What if radio Commercial Producers and advertisers could work together to create something that when broadcast, emanates an amazing glow. Listeners hang on to every word, they feel compelled to respond when a new product, service or offering is broadcast. And when they deal with the company, every expectation is exceeded.

There are numerous international brands that are already doing this. Apple are doing an amazing job. Jimmy Choo with their to-die-for shoes. Virgin too. And although there are some local and regional radio advertisers adoring the crowds, I think there’s a lot of room for more to jump on the bandwagon.

Crunching it down, Apple make computers. They are well-made and work well. Jimmy Choo make attractive shoes and amongst other things, Virgin put you on aeroplanes and fly you somewhere. That’s it. But what helps to give them the iconic status is the way the offering is framed. If you’ve seen the Virgin Airlines ‘Still Red Hot’ TV commercial (the one with the group of beautiful Virgin hostesses walking through a 1980’s air terminal to the music of Frankie Goes to Hollywood), you’ll see how well framing can work. I am in the genuine belief that local and regional radio advertisers could do the same thing albeit for a smaller budget.

Helping an advertiser to achieve celebrity status isn’t something that will happen overnight. But if more brands could make listeners feel they are part of something special or perhaps God-like, then everyone is onto a winner.

John Calvert.