D.J. Williams Authors Radio Marketing Book

Million dollar advergame baits potential reader

By Karen Bliss

In promoting his brand new radio marketing book, SoundBAIT – Creative Weapons of MASS Distraction, London, Ontario’s D.J. Williams is practicing what he preaches. Believing that creative ideas sell a lot easier than rates and ratings, he has launched an advergame contest on www.soundbait.com called Cash, Cars and Superstars with a prize of one million U.S. dollars.

“I wanted to do something fun and different; something exciting that would stand out and demonstrate another new way of advertising in electronic media,” explains Williams, whose company The Jetset Media Workshop has licensed these games from Chicago-based Tribune Interactive to sell in Canada and the U.S.

Advergames — using interactive games to advertise a product — are just one way that radio stations can attract more advertisers, says Williams.

“Radio stations have now put a lot of focus on driving their listeners to the station website, and in order to finance these websites, they need to sell space on the website just like the airtime on their stations.

“My feeling is that these advergames are something very exciting that a station can use because they allow them to take advantage of not just the space on the website, but to promote some excitement on the radio and drive listeners to the website for a chance to win something.

“In my case, I’m giving away a million dollars, but it could be a brand new home, a brand new car, whatever you want the prize to be. So it allows retailers who are interested in using radio to be able to develop a big contest or a big grand prize that fits their strategy.”

Williams, who was based in Atlanta, Georgia until he recently returned to London, ON,  has developed custom radio marketing plans for local direct clients on behalf of CBS Radio New York, ABC Radio/Citadel Broadcasting, Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications, and served as the director of client services for Clear Channel Radio’s internal ad agency, Creative Services Group.

 “When I first started writing the book, it was for radio stations as a guide to things that they could do to attract new advertisers and renew the interest in radio as a powerful medium,” says Williams. “Advertising has been down right across the board  — newspapers, cable television, Yellow Pages – everyone’s been feeling a hit because of the economic crisis. At the same time, people are having to now choose what medium they’re going to use with a smaller budget.

“Certain traditional media are maybe not getting a share or anything at all of what they used to get, and my feeling is that advertisers still are in the business of buying ideas and strategies. You just have to go to them with ideas, instead of just assuming that you’re going to get their buy.”

As a consultant, Williams says he goes to radio stations with a different message than that of many “old-school” consultants. He considers himself a “cheerleader for radio” and tries to inspire some of the newcomers to the business and let them know of traps to avoid and not to fall into tired old ways of thinking.

“A lot of the managers that are running these stations are still living in the past, so I like to be able to get my hands on new people that want to succeed in his business and know that they have to have something that will stand out or else they won’t go very far,” explains Williams.

He says his approach is similar, whether talking with U.S. or Canadian radio.

“I’d be one of the first to argue that radio in Canada has a much better grasp on the situation than they do in the United States because radio in Canada has always supported great ideas and great formats, compared to the United States where a lot of radio stations don’t even have creative writers on staff,” he says. “Canada is still ahead of the game and investing as many dollars as are available into keeping commercials that run on their stations sounding as fresh as possible.”

Williams is also optimistic about the state of terrestrial radio.

“I think it’s going to recover, similar to the state of the economy,” he says. “One thing about radio is it’s still local and people still like to tune into their radio station and hear what’s going on in their community. That’s a lot of the foundation for my belief.”