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RAIN 7/29: Pandora's success in top U.S. markets best, but not only, case for Net radio advertising

Posted on: 07/29/2011


The main section of an article in the UK’s Marketing Week concludes with a quote from Barry O’Donovan, marketing director of Random House’s children’s section. He describes his enthusiasm for online radio: “It’s engaging and joined up. Content gives prolonged brand exposure and has delivered really strong engagement. I’m convinced that online radio will be something we will use more in future.”

The article, “Taking brands beyond the sound barrier,” begins slowly with a few figures on listeners’ uptake of online radio (old news to RAIN’s savvy readers!). A few paragraphs in, however, we begin to hear from brand managers, agency and sales directors, and other marketing execs. And all expound on the unique capabilities of Internet-delivered radio to target, engage, and deliver consumers. O’Donovan’s company, Random House, advertises on Funkids, an online and digital station for the under-10 audience.

Commercial director for Clipper Tea, Gill Hesketh, explains Clipper’s use of Spotify, “We liked the immediacy of it. It’s a brilliant piece of interruptive advertising — listen to the ad, click on the banner, see our pop-up microsite, be sent free tea. It has everything we need.” Spotify UK sales director Adam Williams adds, “In essence, advertising on Spotify supplies a seamless link from a consumer’s own music where there is deep engagement with high emotional resonance, to an advertiser’s site.” Brands can even use the Spotify content and feature user-generated playlists in campaigns, he says, without the consumer leaving their web page or Facebook page. “Because people like to share music so much, creating a music-driven campaign on a social network where sharing is natural behaviour has the most impact for the brand.”

Pandora and Toyota are also banking on the emotive power of music to add a new dimension to marketing. Pandora has created the “Legends and Icons” genre stations, each attached to a different Toyota vehicle, using “the emotions people associate with the music to link with the brand, aiming to create a deeper connection with the consumer.” (See RAIN coverage here)

You’ll want to read the full article for more anecdotes, like how Research In Motion integrates its marketing for Blackberry devices with Bauer Media’s Kiss brand. Or how the fact that listeners can immediately respond to call-to-action messages allows advertisers like British Gas can spread their message throughout the day, and not just in crowded drive-time dayparts. How geo-targeting allows the tourism body of Australia’s Northern Territory to speak to potential visitors from England. And (our favorite), how niche-genre online radio allows marketers at SheWee (go ahead, click it) to focus on that market segment they feel is most important and most likely to respond to their messaging (apparently, female heavy metal fans).

Read this entire article, “Taking brands beyond the sound barrier,” here.


Arbitron, which is currently developing an cross-platform measurement service for Internet and over-the-air listening, has acquired Zokem Oy, a Finland-based mobile audience measurement and analytics firm.

Zokem tracks consumers’ use of mobile media and the effectiveness of mobile ad campaigns. It will operate as Arbitron Mobile, led by Zokem’s founder and CEO.

Arbitron’s CEO/president William Kerr says Zokem “provides Arbitron with valuable new resources for our growing cross-platform initiatives.”

Kerr spoke last week about Arbitron’s new under-development audience measurement platform which will track online and over-the-air listening. (RAIN coverage here.)

You can find Arbitron’s press release about the acquisition here.


“Yesterday was the start of something quite interesting,” writes Radio Ink editor-in-chief Ed Ryan looking at Pandora’s newly-released AQH ratings (RAIN coverage here).

Pandora can release AQH ratings, but Ryans says they don’t need to. Pandora has actual data about “who was listening when and for how long and who clicked on a banner or viewed a coupon.”

Rather, says Ryan, Pandora released those numbers “to prove a point” that it can speak radio’s language to media buyers. And maybe even speak it better than broadcasters, who are supposed to be the experts. Meanwhile, Pandora knows radio can’t yet speak Pandora’s language.

Ryan encourages broadcasters not to simply “pooh pooh” Pandora but be the radio experts that they are. “We should have a plan,” he writes.

In the end, he writes, “a small business — or a big business — could care less what we think…relationships are good for a cup of coffee. R.O.I is everything to a business owner.” You can find Ryan’s full commentary in Radio Ink here.


Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman, speaking at Brainstorm Tech, pointed out that 3% of Americans use digital services like Pandora or Sirius XM. On the other hand, 93% listen to AM/FM radio.

He said Pandora is “still very small in the grand scheme of radio,” and again questioned if it could become a “good business.”

That said, Pittman indicated that he’s open to change (as perhaps shown in the coming launch of Clear Channel’s Pandora competitor in September, more here). “You can’t maintain the status quo. The world will walk away from you if you don’t catch up.”

Read more from Fortune here.

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