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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 is)


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 your listeners?


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 be performing.

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 station logo.

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.

© 1997 O'Liners. All Rights Reserved.