Jacobs Media's Paul Jacobs weighs in on a missed opportunity for radio:
Miller Brewing, a long-time major advertiser on radio and television, has decided to abandon electronic media for the rollout of Sparks, a citrus-flavored malt drink laced with caffeine. Instead, they've decided to place all of their money on a web site (www.sparks.com) and to develop a word-of-mouth program by giving away the product at events and sponsoring gatherings like art shows.
The target? Generation Y, the 60+ million generation of 16-30 year-olds.
What Miller is doing makes sense, but only to a point. We're big fans of street and guerilla marketing, and we more than realize that this generation is listening less to radio than its predecessors. But that isn't the point. The fact is that no medium does as effective a job - even today - of reaching this demographic as radio. But that is obviously no longer enough.
Miller is looking for new and different ways of reaching this life group, and that's the painful lesson for radio. If all we can do (or all we are known for) is the 60-second commercial, then we will continue to get passed by. Miller isn't dissing radio. They are, however, making a strong statement that Radio needs to develop new delivery models that are in-sync not only with listeners, but with major advertisers like Miller Beer.
Shorter commercials won't cut it - they don't want "blinks." Event sponsorships are old school. And banner ads on our web sites are so 1999. Radio needs to wake up and completely re-structure the ways it can deliver its most valuable asset - huge cumes - to advertisers. And we need to hire salespeople who understand these new platforms and their potential for advertisers, not cost-per-points. Clients want creative, multimedia solutions, not packages. The model has changed. Radio must change with it.