Clear Channel Integrates Digital With Radio Ads

Dual-Media Efforts Help Ford, MGM Boost Consumer Engagement With Brands

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NEW YORK ( -- A pair of recent Clear Channel integrated campaigns help prove that online and radio are learning to play well together.

This summer, Ford tried to warm up Southern Californians to its brand, a tough order because the Golden State overwhelmingly favors foreign imports. The Detroit automaker came up with a plan to target eco-conscious beach-goers in Los Angeles, hosting events that showed off its high-mileage vehicles. To drive attendance, Ford ran ads on the websites of local radio stations, while radio personalities talked up the events. At the events, consumers were able to take virtual test drives and retrieve a code that let them enter a contest to win a Ford vehicle, which they customized on Clear Channel's local web properties.

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Showing up at an event, getting a code to enter a contest, and then finally designing a Ford vehicle meant people had to be pretty involved with the brand and had likely gotten the message that Ford produces vehicles with good gas mileage, said Scott Brown, a director at WPP's media network Group M who looked after the campaign for Ford.

"There are a lot of hoops to jump through; you'd have to be very engaged to enter the contest," Mr. Brown said.

Over a 15-week period, the campaign yielded 63 million impressions, most of them on-air, with some 4,300 people customizing their Ford vehicles to spec and entering the contest. The campaign's toughest hurdle was getting permission from this group to allow Ford to contact them in the future. But 17% of the contestant pool, or 752 people, opted in to receive more information from Ford -- a solid return as opt-in rates are typically in the single digits.

The campaign also let people enter the contest by mobile texting, an element that Clear Channel later added to the campaign. Ford counted about 2,400 text entries, noting that if mobile had been integrated at the campaign's outset, the texts would have accounted for a larger share of the response. Next year, Mr. Brown said mobile would play a bigger role in local campaigns.

Role of radio
Even though Ford still has a ways to go to convince Californians its brand was on par with any Japanese or European automotive nameplate, Mr. Brown said the campaign was a good persuasive effort, and credits its success partly to the integration with radio.

"Radio provides the sheer numbers needed to make the online and mobile elements a success," Mr. Brown said. "It's best when it's customized and targeted ... by integrating the on-site, event, online and contesting elements, we were able to bring a great local branding plan to life and get all of the participants excited about it."

MGM is using Clear Channel in a national campaign to drive traffic to a microsite for its upcoming movie "Fame,"scheduled to open Sept 25. Targeting teen and tween girls, Clear Channel websites are promoting the remake of the cult '80s flick that follows a group of hopeful singers, actors and dancers for four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. Separately, cellphone maker LG will drive listeners to, where different engagement tactics are in play. Fans can watch exclusive features including videos of the cast members singing and dancing. Aspiring performers can submit videos with their rendition of the iconic "Fame" theme song for a chance win a $50,000 grand prize, as well as vote on their favorite submitted performance.

"Radio and online are both important and essential mediums when targeting tween and teen girls because that is where they live," said Christine Batista, senior VP-marketing for national partnerships at MGM. "They are both means of reaching the same audience on their terms. It's an opportunity to bring together people who have common interests as well as media-consuming habits."

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