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Saturday, November 1, 2014

(PROGRAMMING) Keeping Pace With Progress


If you have seen the latest national Taco Bell commercial, it is a page taken right out of Radio Promotions 101.

I chuckled the first time I saw this and then it struck me, ?Hey, these are similar mechanics we've used for years in radio contests and promotions to drive customers to locations and make a purchase.?

Now the playing field is online, not the diary. It's driving "hits" to Taco Bell local locations and their website. The premise is that Taco Bell is giving away a new Play Station 4 Destiny Bundle "about every 15 minutes," every day for a limited time.

What a brilliant way to drive "likes" or hits on their webpage. By having people constantly logging onto their website, it's the same premise as having listeners writing your station down in a diary, or for PPM, keeping them from changing stations.

The "gray area" of this promotion is in the way the rules are presented and communicated. It insinuates that you have to purchase Taco Bell's "Big Box" to get a "code" to win. In smaller print it states, "consumers can also request a code without purchase," by going to their website for further details.

Therefore, instead of TSL / Quarter Hour Maintenance this drives how the Millennials (18-30 age group) play contests these days. They want things given to them instantly on a platter. They don't like to wait and don't listen to commercial radio. They only use it when they want something that speaks to them and their interests. They won't sit and listen for a "secret sound" or a specific song.

The way radio is now being used by consumers, and the many ways our industry is changing, we must stay alert and be aware of how we program our product every day.

Tom Watson is president of A.C.C. Consulting & Marketing International, with clients in major U.S. markets as well as in Europe and Asia. Reach him at or 310.498.5990.

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