February 2008 - Channel Crossing: Radio

The Ultimate ‘Celebrity’ Endorsement

By Buck Robinson

For years, direct response marketers have known the value of incorporating celebrities into their productions in order to lend credibility and star power to their offers. Familiar DR spokeswomen like Suzanne Somers and Victoria Principal epitomize the effectiveness-and economic potential-of celebrity endorsements. But there is another type of celebrity whose support for a product or service carries even more weight than a movie or TV star: the radio on-air personality.

“Come on!” you say, “How can you compare some faceless voice behind a microphone to a celebrity who has (or at least had) his or her face plastered all around the world? There is no way that a radio DJ could ever have the impact that a Hollywood star does in helping to sell my product!” Well, in some categories like cosmetics and gym equipment, you may be right. However, when it comes to high-ticket products, intellectual property, housewares and other categories that are not the usual purview of short-form DRTV, there is no one more effective in generating highly qualified leads than a trusted radio personality.

The reason for this is simple: While television or movie stars may play a part in your target customer’s life once a week or perhaps once every few months, radio personalities generally play a daily role in their listeners’ lives. And though listeners might have no idea what that personality looks like, they certainly have a far more intimate relationship with that “celebrity” because they know how the radio personality feels about a wide variety of subjects-what they enjoy, what they dislike, etc. In short, radio personalities are not known for the characters that they play, but for who they really are as individuals. They are not iconic: They are friends, advisors and confidants. In short, they are real. And as real celebrities, they have a level of intimacy and trust with their listeners that no Hollywood actor could ever have with his or her fans.

So how does that help a DR marketer? In short, a radio personality’s endorsement immediately lends an unprecedented level of credibility to your product, even though the audience cannot see the item or watch it being demonstrated. They don’t need that kind of validation, so long as they know that it has “passed muster” with the on-air host who they know and trust. Generally, when clients decide to utilize on-air personality endorsements, both at the local and nationally syndicated levels, we have seen campaigns grow four or fivefold in response simply because of the addition of the DJ’s seal of approval. So if you are thinking about DR radio and want to immediately cut through the clutter to make your product instantly appealing to a well-targeted audience, there is nothing more effective than employing the voiced endorsement of an on-air radio personality. After all, wouldn’t you be more likely to buy something after hearing about it from a trusted friend?

Buck Robinson is founder, president and CEO of Robinson Radio Inc. based in Glen Allen, Va. He can be reached at (804) 726-6400, or via e-mail at [email protected].

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment