Retailers ramp up radio advertising

Tesco has inked the “biggest ever” deal any brand has negotiated with Absolute Radio as retailers look to cross-platform radio advertising following the negative publicity around press advertising in the wake of the News of the World scandal.


Tesco’s campaign, brokered by media agency Initiative, encourages users to identify the “real sounds of Christmas,” such as crackers being pulled, both on air and online with multiple giveaways from the retailer on offer.

The campaign, dubbed “Tesco Countdown to Christmas,” will run executions on Absolute between 7am and 4pm and will be accompanied by several takeovers on its homepage between now until early in the new year.

This will be accompanied by similar homepage takeovers on Absolute Radio’s 60s,70s,80s,90s,00s and Classic Rock sub-brands with the competition encouraging users to text into the station using Tesco’s campaign tag line: “It’s the little things that matter.”

As part of the campaign, the pair will run a co-branded online quiz taking place on a specific campaign site with participants in the running to win Tesco prizes including a £500 voucher.

Angela Porter, Tesco’s head of brand advertising, says: “It’s such a busy time of year for retail advertising but we believe the scale and quality of this activity will really cut through and resonate with the consumer.”

Recent radio ad spend figures from Nielsen revealed that both Asda and Tesco had increased their spend on the medium by 25% and 87% respectively during the 12 months to October.

Speaking with Marketing Week last month, Asda CMO Stephen Smith explained the decision to reintroduce radio into the supermarket’s marketing mix describing it as an “obvious … and really great channel for retail.”

Simon Redican, managing director of the Radio Advertising Bureau, attributes the trend towards retailers reinvesting their marketing spend on radio instead of other mainstream channels as a possible after-effect of negative publicity surrounding newspapers during the Leveson Enquiry.

“The biggest change we’re starting to see in retailers has been a commitment to air time. Formerly they’d use it for short-term promotions but the bigger budgets would be spent on TV and newspapers,” he says adding that the scandal has led to retailers “reassessing” where they spend budgets.

Retailers are also taking advantage of the developments in digital radio that means broadcasters can offer closer links to retailer’s e-commerce sites to drive traffic and sales, according to Absolute’s head of promotion Kathernine Knapp.

“We’ve always been keen to get advertisers on to multiplatform [campaigns] and from a branded content point of view, we’ve always tried to convince retailers that there’s more they can do. A lot of retailers are now seeing how booking cross platform campaigns can play a role in brand-building as opposed to just price-led advertising on air.”

RAB’s Redican agrees that digital technologies have made radio more appealing to retailers.

He says: “The big broadcasters have led a drive towards persuading advertisers to invest with them. What definitely helps is the new technologies [such as websites and mobile apps] which can drive traffic directly towards their sites and make them more accountable.”

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