Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Clever Pitching of a Show

Now this is some truly clever marketing on behalf of a show's producer.


A subversive plan to influence pubradio programmers

Jesse Thorn of The Sound of Young America has a subversive new strategy to win airtime on public radio stations: he's offering free t-shirts to anyone who works at a station and likes his show. The catch: all recipients must agree to wear their t-shirts to work and "talk about the show when people looked at them funny," Thorn writes on his blog. The t-shirt campaign is already underway at one unnamed major market station. "Hopefully, the program director is noticing," he writes.

But I love the thinking-outside-the-box mentality here. This is something your average over-30 producer would, I'm fairly certain, never think of on their own. (Thorn is 26)

Admittedly, I'm not really all that sure this will work. I mean, it's a smart way to get the attention of a station's program director, but I'd be surprised if a program director is going to give that much weight to the opinion of a bunch of (presumably) twentysomethings who're all walking around, wearing the same t-shirt like they're in a cult or something.

Posit: Look at it this way. Imagine it's 2001. Your PD drives a Lexus. He likes it a lot. He drives it for ten years. One day, he decides it's time to buy a new car. By coincidence, the next day, all the kids in the station are wearing t-shirts that say "Buy a Toyota Prius" (remember, it's 2001, when the Priuses first arrived at the US).

Question: How much will that influence the PD's decision?

Answer: Probably very little. The PD has a known track record with a car he's driven for a long time, and has a proven track record of quality. And he knows that car "looks good" with the people he cares about, (other) rich people who give the station money. Granted, now at least he knows about the Prius, and he might be aware that the Prius has definite benefits, even advantages over the Lexus. But odds are good he'll stick with the Lexus.

Now if the PD got 100 phone calls from his top 100 donors telling him to buy the Prius...then he'd probably buy the Prius. Or if he got 10,000 calls from people living in his neighborhood.

Still, it'll be interesting to see if this experiment works. I wouldn't be surprised if the PD at the above, unnamed "major market station", refuses to air the show just because he/she doesn't want to be drowning in free t-shirts from other desperate show producers.

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