Nearly 60 radio hosts across the country spent a good part of Friday (Sept. 16) “locked in” their studios.
Call it product integration for AM and FM.
T-Mobile, in partnership with its advertising agency Optimedia and national ad sales network Katz Radio Group, recruited the air personalities as “longtime endorsers” of the wireless communications brand.
The T-Mobile takeovers started at 6am Eastern and lasted until 7pm, local time.
Air talent including KLLC-FM “[email protected]” in San Francisco wake-up personalities Sarah & Vinnie and WTMX-FM “101.9 The Mix” morning pair Eric & Kathy were just a few of the “brand ambassadors” staying on the air as a tie-in to the wireless carrier’s “Unlimited” campaign. Other hosts, including those at Spanish-language radio stations Univision Radio’s WXNY-FM 96.3 in New York and KLQB-FM “Qué Buena 104.3” in Austin, have been posting updates as to their extended escapes on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #DJSUnlimited.
The theory behind the “lock-ins” was to show how they were on-air “unlimited” all-day, illustrating T-Mobile’s key marketing message that its customers are from the limitations of data plans.
Participating stations from nearly all of the top 40 DMAs were involved in the promotion.
“Radio, and in particular DJs, have always been a way to ‘dimensionalize’ the T-Mobile ‘Un-carrier’ story,” said Jason Harrington, EVP/Managing Director of Optimedia. “The DJ lock-in is an exciting and innovative way to evolve our relationship with DJs while providing a bigger platform for them to evangelize their personal experience with T-Mobile.”
What does this say about radio’s ability to engage in product placement? How is it unique compared to TV?
In an exclusive Q&A with RBR + TVBR, Christine Travaglini, President of Katz Partnerships with Katz Radio Group, says, “Radio has been doing product endorsements for decades because it works, and it builds brands! What makes radio unique is that it combines an unmatched reach — across all demos — with its ability to personally connect with consumers. Listeners have a genuine emotional connection to their community’s radio personalities, and trust and rely on them for information whether its news, sports, weather, traffic – or products and services.”
Travaglini explains that T-Mobile has an ongoing relationship with its radio personalities, and the lock-in served as “an exciting way for the DJs to engage listeners and talk about their personal experiences with T-Mobile.”
How can other brand categories learn from T-mobile on this effort?
“They can also embrace radio’s powerful ability to personally connect with its listeners, and its ability to deliver on unconventional, out-of-the-box solutions,” Travaglini says. “T-Mobile is an innovative partner, and wanted to do something bold to announce the launch of T-Mobile ONE [the one-price unlimited talk, text and data plan]. The nationwide DJ lock-in is something that has never been done before. It’s fun, creating a lot of buzz, and gives DJs a way to give dimension to the T-Mobile Un-carrier story.”