Tactical marketing communicates a contest, coupon or “publicity stunt.”  In other words, the message is centered on a tactic versus a product attribute(s).

If given a choice, I tend to favor tactical campaigns that have strategic perceptual benefit.  For example, offering cash after playing a song by an artist to which the station wants increased association.  Another effective option is some type of phrase that pays promotion in which the listener is asked to repeat a slogan central to a station attribute.

While many broadcasters find these traditional ideas boring, they are effective in strengthening a station’s perceptual profile.

While contesting and direct mail have been part of the ratings game for sometime, a few companies have taken it to a whole new level. Using Nielsen data and 3rd party mail and telephone lists, they are able to dial in on key zip codes to find those ‘likely’ to participate in the ratings process. Some even saturate households suspected of participating in the Nielsen ratings process. Since it’s the promotions vendor – not the station making contact –  broadcast companies feel as if they have plausible deniability of ratings tampering.

Tactical promotions often provide an increase in market share, the gains are most often only temporary. Thus, when determining whether a campaign was successful a station should also consider what, if any long-term strategic benefit was derived.


WRMF FM – West Palm Beach

WRMF-FM used this tactical marketing campaign to increase its association with popular music and to give the station a ratings boost.  This campaign significantly increased market share for several rating periods,.

Also, the increased association with popular music resulted in elevated ratings long after the promotion concluded.

Produced by Rosler Creative.


WENS FM – Indianapolis



“Free Julie & Steve” was a tactical campaign used to keep the duo top-of-mind during a non-compete contract clause.

The campaign included vague on-air references to “a persons right in America to work and support their family.” The promos were tagged with “Radio is not a crime. Free Julie and Steve.”

We staged several ‘protests’ complete with picket signs and lines at several popular locations, bought one billboard on the busiest highway painted to look as if it had been vandalized. We also placed ads in the popular Indianapolis Monthly magazine.

On the morning of their ‘release,’ the two broadcast from the back of a convertible departing their old station and arriving at WENS in prison jumpsuits.

Ad produced by Indianapolis Monthly.

American Kid-Idol

WENS-FM used this campaign to generate top-of-mind awareness and solidify perceptual linkage to hit music.

As a prelude to airing the commercial, the station held a well-publicized talent search,  asking parents to send video of their children lip-syncing to music played on the station.  The winners appeared in station television commercials.

All entries received a station shirt and winners were treated to a Hollywood Premier-like night at the Hard Rock Cafe complete with stretch limo service and awaiting paparazzi, They and their families were also treated to dinner before we played the spots.

The event was covered by every local media outlet with the television commercials debuting the morning after the premier and the extensive news coverage.

Aside from the considerable amount of coverage and the acute top-of-mind awareness, the campaign resulted in increased association with the station’s core artists.

Produced by IQ Agency.