QUESTION: A big local event is coming up. Your competitor drops
big cash to sponsor it. The sponsor is then buddy-buddy with
your competitor and gives you shit. From a programming standpoint...is
it better to:
A) Not mention the event on the air at all...hoping it doesn't
do so well (thus proving what a lousy station your competitor
B) Do all you can on the air to make it seem as if YOU'RE
the sponsoring station. Kind of 'perception is reality' with
From a programming standpoint, if you can "steal" some
of the perceived ownership of the event, do it.
If I knew exactly what the event is, I'd be able to offer specific
suggestions. In lieu of that information, here are some thought-starters:
If it's a concert, give away CD packages of the acts that will
If it's an outdoor event - a picnic, fair, etc. - give away "survival
packs" (suntan lotion, sunglasses with your station logo,
an "unofficial" t-shirt with your logo on it to wear
to the event, etc.).
If it's at a public location with stadium-style parking, can
you contact the parking concession directly and arrange to pay
for the parking of everyone who drives in with your bumper sticker
on their vehicles?
If so, announce this deal on-the-air....and have staff members
outside the parking area, handing out stickers to incoming cars
and explaining that if they let you put the sticker on their cars
BEFORE they enter, they won't have to pay for parking.
Give away tons of station t-shirts on-air...and announce that
a KKED Secret Spotter will be at the event, awarding $100 bills
to 20 different people who are spotted wearing the shirts.
Show up outside the parking lot, handing out hundreds of station
t-shirts ...and encouraging everyone to put them on so they'll
be eligible for one of twenty $100 bills inside the event.
Pay every attendant (employee) in the arena $50 to wear your
t-shirt during the event.
Publish a commemorative book or program and hand it to each person
before they enter.
Obtain the city's permission (for a small fee, perhaps) to line
the streets surrounding the event with banners trumpeting your
If celebrities are involved, see if you can them to do in-station
interviews, record promos, etc. (Contact the celebrities or their
managers directly. Don't needlessly distract them with unimportant
details - e.g., there's no need to volunteer the information that
you are NOT the sponsoring station.)
If celebrities are involved, contact their management and/or
record companies, publishers, etc., to arrange for autographed
giveaway items for on-air use.
Above all: Never, never let your competitor see that you're upset
about being aced out of the official sponsorship. If you run into
someone from the competing station, smile and ask, "How's
the summer music fair coming along for you guys?" Act as
though you haven't really heard very much about it but that you
certainly hope it turns out to be successful for them.
Your laissez faire attitude will leave them with self-doubt, wondering
if there's a reason that your station didn't think it was worth
the money to bid for the event.
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