Doh! Homer Simpson in Just One Second

Fox First to Buy Clear Channel's Blinks

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Listen closely. Clear Channel Radio has found its first buyer for blinks, its new one- to three-second radio spots. Fox Broadcasting Co. is the first to purchase and use two-second radio spots in an effort to promote the fall season premiers of "Prison Break," "House" and "The Simpsons."
Homer Simpson's signature phrase will be the ad.
Homer Simpson's signature phrase will be the ad. Credit: Fox.com

Starting today
You'll be able to hear the first blink today between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Starting at 6 a.m. one blink will be broadcast every hour until 7 p.m. on 1,120 stations to promote the premiere of "Prison Break." The campaign will continue Sept. 5 for "House" and Sept. 10 for "The Simpsons."

Kaye Bentley, senior VP, Fox Broadcasting, said she might start broadcasting two blinks an hour for "The Simpsons" -- Clear Channel's Creative Services Group currently sets a maximum number of blinks per hour at two. But at one per hour, Clear Channel estimates Fox's blink buy will make 15,000 impressions per day.

"We really felt like we had the perfect shows for [less than, five-second spots] because we've got a lot of one-word title shows and we've got a lot of shows that are known properties," Ms. Bentley said.

Part of broader ad strategy
But the blinks won't stand alone; the one second ads are just part of a more traditional marketing plan, she said, equating the blink to the radio version of a pop-up.

The spots will focus on a signature sound effect or character voice, followed by an announcement. For example, Homer Simpson says, "Doh!" And an announcer follows with "'The Simpsons' tonight on Fox."

The blinks will be broadcast within content, rather than within a commercial pod, said Jeff Howard, regional president of Clear Channel Radio Sales.

The agreement also includes a level of exclusivity. Ms. Bentley said no other marketer will be able to air blinks until Fox's campaign is done.

Price of a blink
Clear Channel says the tiny ad's value is that the finite number of blinks broadcast per hour gives well-known advertisers a "little added push," Mr. Howard said. Specific financials of the deal weren't divulged by either party, but both Clear Channel and Fox said the deal wasn't added value. Mr. Howard said, "From the perspective of an open market discussion, we would hope to get about 10% to 15% of the going rate for a 60-second ad."

Ms. Bentley said she paid less than that. "We negotiated a really, really, really good deal. Because, you know, Clear Channel wanted somebody to do it, and we wanted to be the first ones to do it," she said. Fox Broadcasting plans and buys its media in-house.
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