ADVERTISING & PROMOTION: DR radio waits in the wings

DRTV may be all the rage at the moment, but research released this week by the Direct Marketing Association suggests that radio advertising is likely to be the next area of innovation in direct marketing.

DRTV may be all the rage at the moment, but research released this week

by the Direct Marketing Association suggests that radio advertising is

likely to be the next area of innovation in direct marketing.



The second DMA Census of Direct Marketing took data from the Radio

Advertising Bureau to provide the first accurate measure of the number

of radio campaigns with a direct response element.



Last year pounds 47m was spent on DR radio - measured as those

campaigns that included a telephone number as a call to action -

representing 16% of the total radio ad spend. Holiday companies,

financial services firms and utilities have been the biggest users.



A few advertisers, such as The Carphone Warehouse, popularised the

technique, but even FMCG brands like Apple Tango have used it in the

past year.



‘There is evidence that this medium has a lot of potential from a

direct marketing viewpoint,’ says Melanie Howard, consultant to the

report’s co-author, The Future Foundation.



‘But advertisers and their agencies need to think more creatively about

including telephone numbers in an ad. An integrated campaign is one way

of getting around the no-pen-handy problem. It



allows the radio ad to lead listeners to a press ad or a piece of

direct mail that gives them the mechanism to respond.’



Direct Line has used this strategy, directing listeners to the back of

the Thomson Directory for its phone number.



Howard believes that the huge growth in the use of mobile phones in the

past few years has made it easier for consumers to react to a phone

number on the radio. But she says that the creative element of the ad is

crucial to getting a response.



‘The repetition of the number, the length of the ad, whether a

‘trailer’ ad is played to alert the listener beforehand - all this can

affect the chances of someone responding,’ says Howard.



To aid advertisers in their quest for the perfect DR radio ad, the DMA

and BT have got together to research the number of responses that

various ads generate.



BT is also involved in research into new DR media and is working with

Maiden Outdoor on evaluating a number of DR posters.



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The direct route

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Key findings from 1996 DMA Census of Direct Marketing.

*  pounds 5.5bn was spent on DM last year - up 15.3% on 1994.

*  25.4% of TV campaigns (Laser estimates) and 16% of radio ads carry a

DR element.

*  Expenditure on DR poster ads doubled to pounds 45m. 12% of all

poster campaigns are now DR.

*  In 1995, pounds 50m was spent on DM on the

------------------------------------------------------------------------



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