TRI has a copy of this email from the Kroger agency – “Hello radio partners, a couple weeks ago I had sent out a request for information in regards to your station using the verbiage ‘commercial-free.’ After much discussion with CB&S/Kroger Corporate, we absolutely cannot have spots running on a station that communicates that it is ‘commercial free.’ Please let me know as soon as possible that you will stop using this specific verbiage. All other stations across the nation have accommodated this request.” It’s impossible to know if that last statement is true, but there are going to be some serious conversations at the department head level about a tactic music radio has employed for decades. Why would a client dislike it? It communicates a negative about advertising, which is, after all, what pays the bills.
So let me get this straight, Kroger agency….
It doesn’t matter how many consumers a station reaches, as long as it doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”
It doesn’t matter that certain tactics may produce more listeners – and more exposures for your spots – as long as the station doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”
It doesn’t matter how effective your advertising is, as long as a station doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”
It doesn’t matter how efficient your buy is, as long as a station doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”
It doesn’t matter how many great ideas a broadcaster has to plus your campaign and drive more consumers through your front door, as long as the station doesn’t use the term “commercial-free.”
It hasn’t dawned on you that the audience does not need any help from the station to perceive the term “commercials” to be a negative, because you, Mr. Agency, have done your level best to cement that negative association in their minds over the years.
It hasn’t dawned on you that, while audiences are no fans of many “commercials,” they are quite responsive to those marketing messages which are both relevant and valuable to them, especially if they’re delivered in a manner that has as much respect for the audience as the radio station does – that radio station which provides those audiences for you on a silver platter.
Perhaps, “after much discussion,” you can focus on new ideas for Kroger which leverage the unheard of reach of radio and its deep relationships with its audience. Perhaps “after much discussion” you can develop messaging tactics which are both relevant and accountable. Perhaps “after much discussion” you can stop making excuses for what I’m guessing is a client relationship that’s “on the bubble” and start connecting consumers with that client on their terms, which are the only terms that matter.
Perhaps “after much discussion” you’ll do your own job and let radio do theirs, which is to make you look good and make your client a success in the marketplace.