Even radio doesn’t understand radio

From Radio Business Report:

Hallmark commercial depicts radio as old fashioned Over the weekend on NBC and other networks you may have seen a spot for The Hallmark Store that features a girl decorating a Christmas Tree that has plenty of icons of new technology hanging-MP3 players, CDs, wireless devices, etc. Her grandfather, meanwhile, is decorating the tree with an old-time radio. The little girl, who has no idea what it is, asks him and he spells out “R A D I O.” All under the theme of sharing old memories and making new ones. RBR observation: Is this how advertisers see our medium now? Is this how our youth see it? Kind of a slap in the face, but hopefully not one of reality! They may not have officially be poking fun of radio, but the message was there.

So while the whole radio angle was strictly a context, the subtext contains much more symbolic truth than RBR would like to admit. If you don’t think the “younger generation” – especially the Madison Avenue sort – that creates spots like these views radios as archaic devices then you haven’t been paying attention. But archaic only in terms of those dimensions that are redundant to an mp3 player. As a music box, an iPod beats radio hands down.

But the full story goes more like this: In grandpa’s day, the radio was the entertainment center of the living room. Today people generally don’t buy radios, they buy things that contain radios – things like clocks and Zunes and cars. But they do buy mp3 players and CD’s and DVD’s and so on. Like it or not, the radio was the iPod of grandpa’s day.

For once and for all we in the radio business need to separate the box from what’s on it. This spot wasn’t about what radio provides, it’s about the box called radio. Grandpa didn’t decorate with the Ryan Seacrest show, he decorated with a box.

The box is a commodity, it’s a light switch or a thermostat. And that’s just fine.

But what’s on it can still make skin tingle, bellies laugh, hearts melt, and minds engage.

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