BBC runs first national ads to push local radio stations

LONDON - The BBC is running its first national advertising campaign promoting its network of local radio stations in an attempt to rid them of their 'cat stuck in a tree' image.

The poster campaign, created by BBC Broadcast, uses a fingerprint device to show that BBC local radio stations provide relevant local information, whereas the national commercial stations are more cluttered.

The executions incorporate the fingerprint into examples of local road and weather maps. The posters are personalised for each BBC local radio region and will be posted in England and Northern Ireland from 20 March.

The target demographic for the campaign is 45- to 54-year-old listeners who, although not rejectors of the BBC, choose to listen to commercial stations because they think that local radio is irrelevant to them and fronted by Alan Partridge-type hosts. The campaign aims to drive trial of BBC local radio breakfast shows, which is where most listeners sample the radio.

The BBC has 46 local radio stations and, according to the latest Rajar figures, they have a 22 per cent adult weekly reach with an 11 per cent share of listening. This means they have a higher weekly reach than both Radio 1 and Radio 4.

The stations all have common elements - they are speech-based and carry extended local, national and international news. They also carry local weather, traffic and sports coverage.

Anton Ezer art directed the poster ads, which were written by Ben Friend at BBC Broadcast. Media is by PHD.

The campaign will be posted for three weeks.