Response Radio in New Zealand
There are fewer than
4 million people in New Zealand.
And in a good year in excess of 60 million sheep.
This story is not about the sheep -- it is about the people. And a radio
station in Auckland doing some innovative and rather wonderful marketing
New Zealand is a small land -- about the size of the State of California
in the USA. A collection of islands "down-under". More or less
isolated from the rest of the world, sans Australia. And a handful of
South Pacific island nations.
And it is beautiful.
I know, as I've driven through much of it, flown in and out of a lot
of it and sailed some of it. Having been fortunate enough to present direct
mail and direct marketing seminars in years past, I've taken advantage
of those visits to see the land. I like it.
As in any market, when the numbers are less than great, you have a true
challenge. If you are Jana Rangoonl, Marketing Manager for rock radio
station 91FM you have that challenge. The total population of the
North Island city of Auckland is just over 1 million. Nice size, with
all the amenities of the city. Yet, not large for a radio audience.
So, how do you get those people to listen to your station? And to respond?
To your advertisers ... and be able to prove it, so you can gain more
As the #1 under 40's station in Auckland, 91FM takes stands and
makes points with their audience, thus keeping advertisers happy, too.
For example, one Christmas they ran commercials calling for anyone who
planned to "drink and drive" to register in advance
... for a FREE funeral! Point made.
On the subject of
crazy, February was a time for dozens of weird and wacky Aucklander's
to participate in a 91FM special event. First up was the ETA Ripple
Challenge. Listeners had to write in and tell what they would do to win
a trip for 2 to see a hot music group perform live in the USA. The finalists
had fun participating in a slippery slide, filled with crushed ETA Ripple,
watermelon, apples, rotten plums and a few liters of orange juice. Although
it "sounds" messy, sticky and not much fun to me, it was a smashing
When February 29 appears on the calendar it is another "reason"
for promotion. This time it was the 91FM Birdman competition at
Princes Wharf ... bringing a new definition to the word wacky.
The Station offered a contest which included real airplanes and high
diving stunt men, plus flying pianos, chickens and pigs, and numerous
other craft that frankly are difficult to describe. The top prize for
innovation that actually "flew" was NZ/$1500. for the farthest
flight, another $1500. for the most creative.
The charge behind all these efforts is listenership. And true service
to advertisers. The idea is to build a database of thousands who rely
on the station for news, music and ideas. And to communicate with those
Quantas did a special promotion on 91FM, a tie-in with the Australian
Tourist Commission. Purpose being to UP travel to / from Australia by
New Zealanders ... obviously, on Quantas, the Australian airline.
A post card mailing to the database, with on-air support, offer a mystery
number. Listeners were to respond and are given an opportunity to win
a free trip. I find this "interesting" -- as I'm not certain
the under 40's who listen to the top 40 are the audience to travel across
the sea to the continent. Which is the true purpose for Quantas.
The station has also built an extensive discount coupon offer booklet
-- available only to 91FM fans. With great savings on everything
from flowers and shoes to office equipment and sporting goods, from restaurants
and petrol stations to entertainment complexes and automobile dealerships.
Something for everyone.
Valentine's Day found the morning team of Mark and Kim on the street!
Handling out flowers and chocolates to drivers at major intersections.
They also had a summer pool party (February is summertime in New Zealand)
for all listeners. And a special Cadbury Moro "Bike The Bays"
bike ride, where over 2000 competitors tested their skill.
With the increased
exposure to AIDS around the world, 91FM made the decision to support
various organizations with a "Safe Sex" campaign. As
part of this effort they launched a combination free trip to Hawaii compliments
of United Airlines and Outrigger Hotels.
The station family planning counselor talks with teenagers and others
about the AIDS problem -- heavy emphasis here on education. This includes
on-the-air chatter and on the street direct contact with their audience.
I learned about the second half when I was in Auckland at the "right
time". I heard the message on the radio -- and learned of the 1:1
street contact from a seminar participant. At main expressway entrances
through-out the city, 91FM team members ran from car to car giving
away 2 things:
- A bumper sticker that made you eligible for one of the Hawaii trips,
- A small envelope with the phrase Mark & Kim say wrap
that wrascal printed on the outside. Inside? You guessed
it -- a condom! (And yes, rascal was with a "w",
to get attention.)
Talk about innovation and creativity! Needless to say, there was considerable
chatter about this special promotion ... most of it very positive.
Radio has always been my favorite "listening" communication
tool. E-mail is better for writing quickly. The telephone for exchanges
that are helped with tone and feeling. Still, radio for learning what's
happening, enjoying music or news or a story -- that's for me. I can't
recall meeting anyone -- ever -- who did not listen to radio. At least
some radio, some of the time. And ... almost every day, too.
In the mid-80's I predicted shortwave radio would become a direct response
tool. Why? Because it was so available around the world. And combined
with the telephone and toll-free numbers, the facsimile boom of that time,
credit cards and overnight delivery services it was a natural. A given.
A "guaranteed" happening.
Well, what I did not know was the World Wide Web was going to change
all that before the 21st Century began. Shortwave has not become
a direct marketing tool -- and probably will not. Radio has not become
a big tool for DM -- and probably will.
91FM radio in Auckland has proven it can happen. They are well
on their way to becoming a major DM force in New Zealand.
And at the same time being a good community citizen about it. Good for