Yes, it's an old idea, but it’s perfect for summer appearances. Last year an A&O client did this simple take off on the venerable "Pepsi Challenge" and built revenues AND ratings to the point that the Summer ARB rose to the highest point since the station had given away ten new cars during a book and advertised it heavily on television.
Even nicer, “The Challenge” doesn’t cost money, it can make money. The first client to pitch it to: Pepsi, who might agree that it would be fun to find out what your listeners "care about," but even if they are already committed for the summer, don't let that stop you.
1. Construct a good looking, transportable booth. Or, even better, trade out a van or RV. Feature the call letters and station position that sets it apart from the competition cleanly and clearly.
2. Locate the "hot country zip code areas", where your station has a good signal but for lack of awareness and/or habit listeners tend to prefer your competitor.
3. Target advertisers in those areas. Find at least 100 who have highly visible locations and large parking lots. Sell these business a "mini remote".
4. For 30 days blitz these areas with appearances by your air personalities in the RV, van or booth. Have at least one 'XX minute' (your frequency in minutes) appearance in each daytime daypart each day.
5. Invite your listeners to bring a friend to "meet the XXXX personalities" and listen to the station to "compare."
Have two sets of headphones set up, one with your call letters above them and another with a CD or MP3 of "them" (your competition or other types of music) that contains their telescoped weaknesses - talk, irritating songs, commercials, etc.
6. Give everyone who attends the appearance something tangible for coming out: a sticker, Post-it’s, file cabinet/refrigerator magnet, a card asking for their suggestions to make the station better, a hat, t-shirt, bandana, etc. Build the cost of these items into the merchant's promotional cost of the mini-remote.
7. Have station personalities recording testimonials of the new converts, talking about what they like about your station. Tell them to be listening for their voice on the air "tomorrow." Produce a series of "listener's choice challenge" promos with REAL PEOPLE saying your unique selling propositions in their own words. Keep these positive. Do not air "slams" of the competition. Focus all listener comments on the inherent weaknesses that lie within your competitor's strengths by talking in a bright, positive way about YOUR best qualities.
Motivate your air staff/street team of summer interns to present themselves well and touch each person who responds to the challenge with warmth, friendliness and a good attitude. Win some friends, make a buck and have some fun while you’re “out” this summer!
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