I am appalled. Not only is Viva! 963 AM about to change its name to the
infinitely more dull-sounding 963 Liberty AM, but it is about to lose
its exclamation mark tag in the process. Shame on it!
Of course there are some who say it is only copying the likes of
Hello!, but I say no! After all, it is a pretty unique idea to use what
is a visual device on an aural medium.
No matter. In this, the week that the Radio Advertising Bureau has
pulled in some 750 people to its annual conference, its very own Michael
Caine has slipped me an interesting statistic. It is this: of the top
100 advertisers in the 12 months to August this year - by definition
obviously national advertisers but companies, not brands - no fewer than
92 use radio. Pretty impressive, huh (in an exclamation mark sort of a
way, of course!)?
Naturally, you will ask who are the eight letting the side down and the
answer, in descending order of total expenditure, is this: Pedigree
Petfoods - which seems a bit odd considering its parent, Mars, spends
pounds 1.75 million of its total pounds 38.8 million adspend on radio.
Next comes the toy manufacturer Mattel. It is followed by a company
(which neither I nor the RAB has heard of) called Golden Ltd, which
apparently spends pounds 20 million a year in the other media - clearly
not to great effect if we’ve never heard of it.
Then comes Rothmans, followed by the china plate and flying duck
specialists, Franklin Mint, and Book Club Associates. Rothmans is
obviously a bit stuck by the nature of its products, and Franklin and
BCA are best seen in a press environment. Seventh is Gillette, which is
rumoured to be going on radio soon anyway, and eighth is J. D. Williams.
Perhaps most interesting is that, with the exception of Pedigree, all
the big fmcg advertisers, traditionally anti-radio, have succumbed to
the medium’s charms.
Nevertheless, the figures show, as a proportion of their total spend,
radio is very low, suggesting these companies are still dipping their
toes into the water. For example, leaving aside its health and beauty
range, Procter and Gamble spent only pounds 14,000 (out of a total spend
of pounds 80.8 million) on the medium, while Lever Brothers did only
marginally better (pounds 14,000 against a total spend of pounds 69
million). Curiously, its sister Unilever company, Brooke Bond, spent
more pro rata, but still only about 2 per cent of its ad budget.
Since radio is now officially a 5 per cent medium, its target must be to
get more of these big companies to put that proportion of their budgets
behind it. Surprisingly perhaps, some of the biggest fmcg advertisers
already are. Coke, McDonald’s and Kimberly-Clark all put more than 10
per cent of their spends on radio, while, at 17 per cent odd, the
Ministry of Defence is, pro rata, radio’s biggest national client.
Thus, in the words of one famous brand still not using radio, nine out
of ten brand owners obviously like the medium. Shame they never spent it