A remarkable 90% of the adult population of Britain tunes in to the radio each week and dedicates over 20 listening hours to the medium. Any brand that doesn’t take an opportunity to reach such a broad swathe of the population is either on an incredibly tight budget or is trying to make things difficult for itself.
That said, we live in an age of integration; the combination of radio and outdoor advertising is a powerful way to raise awareness and deepen engagement with your brand.
Radio is a great way to build initial brand awareness- radio ads find the listener already primed to receive information from the airwaves, and whilst it’s true people often pay less attention to ads, they are still very effective at worming their way in to the listener’s consciousness. Even bad adverts can be effective, if they’re catchy enough. Not that we’re recommending you irritate your audience, that’s a strategy that will come back to bite you in the long run, but it is worth noting the efficacy of radio.
Pop vs P.O.P
One of the major drawbacks to radio on as a standalone advertising medium is that all too often the consumer is too far from the point of purchase. They could be listening to the radio over breakfast, drifting off to sleep at night, or whist at work. True they could be in their car on the way into town, or listening through headphones on the high street, but all too often they’re not: there’s just no guarantee.
Enter, Outdoor Advertising. The one guarantee you have with outdoor is that the consumer is definitely not in their home. But they may well have your ad in their head. This is the point where outdoor moves in for the sell. Radio builds rapport, and Outdoor closes the deal.
Radio ads allow plenty of time for telling a story, and there’s ample time to communicate verbally with your audience; to explain your product, to introduce characters, jingles and other hooks. The strength of Outdoor is its ability to make a big splash, use colour and striking imagery, and take advantage of the dynamics of OOH.
Radio and outdoor advertising: A powerful partnership
Billboards and radio
The size of the hoarding itself lends an air of authority and impact, and this is your chance to use bold, simple imagery that is instantly memorable. Because you only have a short space of time to communicate your message, so you are forced to use short slogans (seven words is really the maximum) that have the benefit of being instantly memorable. Because billboards and other poster mediums are only able to present a snapshot to the consumer, you’ll certainly gain the benefit from having already familiarised your audience with your project via a memorable radio ad spot.
Street furniture, six sheets and radio
Using six sheets, bus shelter and phone box ad space may not make as big a splash as a billboard, but street-level advertising has an interesting advantage over its larger, blunter cousin: street-level ads give your brand an opportunity to get up close and personal to your audience. Your ad campaign will meet them as they go about the nitty-gritty of their daily lives: as they wait at a bus stop, peruse the high-street, enter and exit bus stations, railway concourses, shopping malls, cinema foyers and petrol station forecourts.
Your radio advert and outdoor ads have to be tightly linked to each other. The radio slot should introduce the brand, a specific product or service, and also highlight any special offer, time limited discount, new feature, upgrade… or whatever. Your outdoor messaging should build on that. It’s important that it doesn’t add any new information, but instead highlights a key call to action, or finds a way to simply encapsulate the core message of the ad.
Capital and Universal Music
An effective and innovative use of radio and outdoor came from Capital radio partnering with Universal Music. Digital billboards used state of the art live syncing technology to highlight UM artists currently playing on the radio, alongside the message ‘playing right now’ above the Capital logo. This is a great inversion of the radio first, outdoor second format. In this case, digital out-of-home messaging encouraged people to tune in to the radio where they would hear songs from Universal Music artists, increasing the likelihood that they would buy the single, and that they would become Capital listeners. It was a win-win scenario to the mutual benefit of two separate brands. Pretty nifty.
The popular energy drink brand synced radio spots to digital billboards for their 2015 ‘find your flow’ campaign. The spot featured various professionals ‘finding their flow’ by rapping their jobs; a high school teacher spitting lyrics about the Battle of Hastings, a flight attendant MCing a short-haul flight schedule.
The radio ads (listen here), were end-plated with the slogan ‘find your energy, find your flow’, and made humorous and engaging use of audio storytelling to put the Lucozade product front of mind. The digital billboards sprung to life in concert with the ad spots, using BroadSign player software. This simultaneously created a multi-sensory effect, fusing the storytelling power of radio with the visual impact of 48-sheet outdoor digital posters. Primesight research showed that the campaign reached 79% of the brand’s target audience, of which 63% considered themselves to be more likely to purchase Lucozade as a result.
Greater than the sum of their parts
The Lucozade energy example is particularly instructive. The combined use of radio and outdoor was found to be 37% more effective than just radio alone, and 23% more effective than just outdoor alone. It seems that combining radio and outdoor advertising in your campaigns is an incredibly powerful way of connecting with your audience, and that the most effective campaigns are multi-dimensional. They create effective, modern ad campaigns that, with the aid of cutting edge tools and technology, are much greater than the sum of their parts.