It should come as no surprise that Ian Spero, managing director of marketing and sponsorship specialist Spero Communications, is launching a media promotions company, Creative Media Partnerships, with Viva! founder Katy Turner as managing director (MW December 15, 1995). Although his company is not yet primarily known for its work in commercial radio, it soon will be.
Spero has spent the past 18 months working with the Automobile Association, which relaunches its 21-year-old TV and radio traffic report service later this month. He was appointed to audit the AA’s Roadwatch scheme, advising how it could be developed and alternative means of funding secured.
The AA’s aim is to expand the travel and information market and establish a strong, well-recognised brand to increase its number of listeners and defeat the new competition in the market.
Despite providing the definitive road news service, the association believed it could be better position-ed and more effectively focused.
Last autumn, the AA announced it had formed an alliance with Vodafone to achieve this (MW November 3, 1995). Spero has worked with both on reshaping the service and it will now be known as The AA Vodafone Roadwatch. Local stations will receive the service in exchange for bartered airtime used to promote Roadwatch, the AA or Vodafone. They will be able to participate in joint promotions and marketing, both local and regional. And they will be able to make use of branded roving motorbike reporters.
Making radio work harder by developing more sophisticated integrated media promotions is one of Spero’s aims. CMP’s brief is to develop media promotions, ranging from TV and radio sponsorships to magazine advertorials.
“When working in radio, I was often approached by promotions or PR companies suggesting promotions either irrelevant to a client’s marketing strategy or media owner’s audience,” Turner explains. “There is certainly a need for a dedicated business that understands the needs of both.”
All too often, media promotions fall between two stools. The sales promotions company, which lacks media expertise, or the media specialist, which regards it as a function of the sales promotion company. Specialists already exist in either camp, such as Curtis Hoy on the radio sales promotions side.
According to Turner, CMP intends to bridge the gap. A typical campaign could involve a cover-mounted cassette on a women’s monthly – a co-promotion with a radio station whose style of music would feature on the cassette.
She says: “The magazine gets a boost from the station, the station from the magazine and an advertiser from branding on the cassette or within the box through another promotional device.”
Turner’s track record is beyond dispute. She launched commercial radio promotions and production specialist Radio Projects in the late Eighties and until last summer worked at Golden Rose Communications, where she was sales and marketing director responsible for Jazz FM. She also championed the launch of women’s radio and founded Viva!