Major NoCal radio effort to aid dealers


Today the 60 member Radio stations of the Northern California Broadcasters Association will begin a campaign to educate Bay Area consumers on the advantages of purchasing a new vehicle during the month of March. These spots will be run at no charge to dealers and are being run in a spirit of cooperation and support by Bay Area Radio stations.

Radio stations in all nine Bay Area counties, from Santa Rosa to San Jose, have agreed to participate in the program. Included are all of the major San Francisco stations and each member station is scheduled to run four
spots a day, seven days a week, for the four weeks from today through Sunday, March 29th. That’s 112 spots on each station and a total well in excess of 6,000 spots that will run during the month. The campaign has a value
of over $1,500,000.00.

The commitment will result in almost 50,000,000 impressions being delivered to Bay Area residents…and many of them will hear it while they’re in their car. If they want, they can drive right to their favorite dealership.

In a spot entitled “Five Reasons,” the message explains that the stimulus package, the current Buyer’s Market (high inventory/low demand) and the upcoming state sales tax increase all combine to make this an extraordinary opportunity to purchase a new vehicle.

The spots have been developed by Hoffman/Lewis on a pro bono basis and the :30 and :60 second spots are attached. The studio time and talent fees have been covered by the NCBA. The NCBA is hopeful that the stimulus package in conjunction with the upcoming increased California sales tax and license fees along with some terrific vehicles (They’re safer, run cleaner, greener and get higher gas mileage.) will help people realize that now is an exceptional time to purchase.

Radio reaches over 93% of the Bay Area’s 18+ population every week and Radio employees sincerely appreciate what the Bay Area’s 250 Automobile dealers represent to their communities.

Mike Cavanaugh, an AE at CBS Radio/Portland, OR, tells RBR they’ve been doing the same for dealerships since November of last year: “Seems to be a trend that is catching on. After we did it the other radio groups did it and both TV & Newspaper even chimed in late.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Indeed, this is a great idea. When times are tough for previously lucrative categories like auto/dealers, it may be a good investment to run some free ads—the auto advertisers will remember that radio gave a helping hand when times were tough, and it also drives more folks into the showrooms—which will end up generating more paid ad dollars. A win-win. Perhaps the RAB should look at promoting a national dealership effort in this respect.