SUMMARY: If you are seeking ideas for killer radio creative, or you've just always wondered what it would be like to do one of those Ginsu Knife or TimeLife commercials on late night TV, read this Case Study!
Last Christmas shopping season RightStart.com, the online arm of The Right Start stores for parents, needed a campaign that would drive substantial “Mommy” traffic and online sales. However the mass media was already cluttered with dot-com ads. Gerald Bagg, Exec. VP of RightStart.com’s direct response agency Century DR, told us how they helped RightStart.com stand out in the crowd.
Unlike general ad agencies, Century DR’s roots are in “pick up your telephone and call now” TV and radio campaigns. Bagg explains, “it’s a question of philosophy. Big brand name agencies generally do image advertising. These ads gratify the ego of creative directors and dot-com owners, but often they miss the key objective which is to get a customer to go online to place an order. We treat the call to action as the more important part of it.”
Bagg explains why DR ads are typically longer than image ads, “There’s very little you can do in 30 seconds to stimulate a call to action. You need at least 60 seconds. In the first 30 seconds we establish the brand and the offer, in the second half we give them a reason to visit the site, such as “if you go online right now and enter ‘Mommy’ in the code box you’ll get 20% off your order.”
DR advertisers also buy media very differently from traditional agencies. Bagg says, “We don’t buy fixed positions such as the first ten minutes of Dharma and Greg. We buy a broad three or six hour rotation. When you allow stations to be more flexible, you save 30-50% off rate card. We also don’t buy during prime time. Women go to a prime time show as a particular destination. They are engrossed in that program and pay less attention to commercials. They may even leave the room during commercials.
You’ll find response rates to your commercial are much higher during what I call “the dark side of the clock” -- late nights and weekends. That’s when women watchers are surfing. They’re not paying attention to the programming as much, they are open to suggestion, their selling guard is down.” Century DR placed TV spots for RightStart.com on female-skewed cable channels such as Lifetime, E! and Oxygen.
Century DR also placed radio ads for RightStart.com. Bagg says, “Typically people listen to music stations as background so your commercial won’t be heard, but they do listen to talk shows. So, we gave female talk show personalities gift certificates to the site and some talking points. They become our best spokespeople, they told their audiences to go online and enter their name in the discount code area, and that’s how we measured their success. We bought 60 second spots but typically the announcer would talk for another 15 seconds since they were live and they’d found the site to be a rewarding experience!”
COSTS: TV spot costs vary depending on production values, Bagg recommends you spend $150-200K to create a “good quality” two minute ad which can be cut down to other lengths for multiple uses. Live radio spots only cost a nominal $50-100 fee for the announcer. In terms of media buying, Bagg recommends a minimum test of $25,000 worth of radio time and/or $35,000-$100,000 with of TV time. This should give you enough results to accurately predict future ROI should you wish to continue.
RightStart.com’s traffic increased 97% after the first week of the combined TV, radio campaign. The site’s sales increased 148% during the campaign’s best week. The site plans to roll out another DR campaign this holiday season. In the meantime, other dot-coms such as WingSpan Bank are also winning with DR campaigns.
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