We’ve just celebrated another record increase in audience share at Fire Radio, a station where I love picking the hits for the playlist.The last time our share was as high as now, iPods looked like this. They only had black and white screens and couldn’t play games.
While chatting about suitable music for the Dennis The Menace show on Fun Kids, how did I not realise before – Dennis is an emo kid waiting to happen. It’s just one heartbreak away…
…since this one, as thought up for a BBC schools music radio programme in 1981.
Although I think 2CR FM (later Heart) in Bournemouth had a studio like this until it closed very recently! Sad to see it wasn’t needed or used for years. It begs the question, what COULD you do with radio if you really wanted to…?
How classy does this ad look to you? How smooth and sophisticated?
Let’s see where it goes wrong. First – the image itself. Who is this for? As the radio station it’s promoting is aimed at women, I’m going to guess that’s the target for the ad too. Not lusty blokes, but women who, the station would hope, will identify with the image and want something of the experience portrayed. Laid back, relaxed, smooth, indulgent, not a care in the world.
Now put that image where outdoor ads tend to be displayed. In this case, sticking out from under a bridge. The kind of place you wouldn’t hang around late at night. It’s not an ideal fit for the image, is it?
Add a bit of particularly unfortunate placement. Where is the woman in this ad? What does that suggest she might be doing, or what might be happening to her? Don’t blame me if that thought disturbs you, it’s your imagination at this point. It would be working just as hard without your conscious awareness if we hadn’t asked the questions.
So maybe this is one bad example. But I’m hard pushed to think of a context where this ad would work. It’s a cut off half body, for goodness sake – your mind is always going to fill in the blanks. Even if the placement were perfect, in beautiful isolation and a splendid, pristine, relaxing environment (the kind of place no-one sees ad hoardings), it’s still not that good an image. It’s impersonal and devoid of identifiable character, the opposite of good radio for their target audience.
The station owners are Celador, by the way, creators of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Next time… (insert your own “phone a friend” / “ask the audience” related joke here.)
When I first saw this logo, I thought it was someone with Photoshop having a clever satirical swipe. Turns out, it’s real!
I do LOVE Capital, they’re fun, musically savvy, very authoritative and reliable when it comes to pop and pop culture, they love their listeners and have lots of fun with them, and it shows.
Apart from a few weird years when they thought they needed to be “fashion forward” r’n'b lite, they have always been the very model of a modern, metropolitan, big, kickass, pop station, the kind which is envied and copied around the world.
The winning strategy, as rediscovered by the under-credited Scott Muller and since affirmed on steroids by Paul Jackson is very simple – play the big current hits, have fun, and totally, 100%, make listeners identify you as the sound of London. Capital. London. The clue is in the title. So simple, you probably don’t even think about it. Capital = London = Capital = London = Capital.
Adding the “95.8″ back into the name probably didn’t hurt either. It was dropped in the wilderness years, but came back to remind people “we’re back, like we were!” and – very handily when trying to get lots of people to flick an FM dial or search back to you – 95.8 was where they could find you. Good to know.
So now Capital goes national (-ish, in lots of regions and cities currently covered by Galaxy anyway). And it’s going to be fun to watch how it all goes down. Hit music? Tick! Good presenters and fun? Tick! (Assuming they keep the best guys from Galaxy to do local stuff, and there are lots of good Galaxy people to choose from – my old colleagues Sally Hudson and Ben Glover among them…) So what could possibly go wrong?
Well, if Capital = London = Capital = London, the further you go out from London, the more the brand is likely to stink. Good luck in Scotland! Capital already considered this stuff when it chose to do “Beat” as a brand instead, which then became XFM Scotland (which took great pains to be as Scottish as possible), then Galaxy Scotland (growing a decent audience), so now… Capital Scotland. From London. Really?? Ditto in Wales, perhaps worse as heritage brand Red Dragon has to go to make way for Capital Wales, live from Leicester Square. REALLY??!
Where else is London going to be Capital of? How about the North of England!
OK – this might not be an unsolvable problem for a talented team, but talk about giving yourself a big challenge. Not for the first time, either. What happened when Capital rebranded its AM stations across the country as Capital Gold? They didn’t become any more popular.
As for the “95-106″ bit – who is that for? What’s the message? “We’re really big!!”, I’m guessing. It’s an in joke, surely. How is it helpful to the listener in any way? IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE TAKING THE P*** – and I would be careful about doing that in Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire, Manchester and the midlands when you declare London to be their Capital.