HMV dials up radio to support madness + mayhem

Agency/media company

Agency/media company

OMD Canada





Media budget

Less than $200,000

Media used



June 18 through July 15, 2001

Media team

Teresa Savile, media manager, OMD

Jason Pal, media buyer, OMD

The background

For the June 2001 ‘Madness + Mayhem Sale’ program, HMV had four goals to achieve:

* Create the need and desire to go to HMV to buy the weekly sale CD before it sold out

* Convey to consumers that HMV was offering a one-time weekly sale and that once the product was gone, it was gone

* Communicate the wide range of titles being offered during the sale (1,000 titles)

* Broaden the typical HMV target group (adults 18-24, music nut) to a wider audience of adults ages 18 to 49

For the one-day sales, HMV created a new environment with messy racks and bright yellow skids. HMV is well known for its clean stores, hot pink logo and its shopping experience, and so this Madness + Mayhem sale was a real departure from its traditional campaigns.

The plan

For the first time in 2001, radio was used as the primary medium for HMV. Radio was chosen to build excitement at HMV stores and create a sense of urgency to buy. In addition to the regular brand-sell campaign, radio was extended with a variety of strategic initiatives such as exclusive promotions, live remotes, DJ chats, station Internet tie-ins and in-store concert events.

Radio was chosen as the primary medium for this campaign because we were able to convey a sense of urgency to consumers and deliver the added value and promotional opportunities it could offer.

Radio was planned in eight markets for four weeks to support the sale. In each market, radio stations were purchased strategically based on environment rather than ratings to ensure a variety of music formats. This made it possible to communicate the wide range of titles available during the sale on an array of different stations ranging from Contemporary Hit to Classic Rock.

To kick off the sale, radio remotes were negotiated in each market to localize the promotion, generate awareness and drive traffic into HMV stores. All remotes aired pre-promotional spots to communicate the remote location and tout the Saturday Morning Door Crasher Sales, which featured markdowns on CDs, videos, DVDs and accessories.

During the program, HMV held three in-store DJ events (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver). Each station executed live cut-ins from the store encouraging listeners to come to HMV to see the DJs spin, receive some great prizes and check out the merchandise. The popularity of DJ spinning added to awareness and drove traffic.

To enhance the campaign in the key markets of Toronto and Vancouver, local radio stations created exclusive promotions. The Edge 102 created ‘The HMV/Edge 102 CD Rush,’ and Z95 in Vancouver aired the ‘HMV Summer Sizzling CD Sale Contest.’

In Toronto, Edge listeners were asked to call in two times a day to win HMV prize packs (3 CDs) and qualify for the grand prize, a 102-second CD Rush at HMV. The grand prize draw was executed at the end of the campaign and took place at the 333 Yonge St. flagship location. The Edge aired a live broadcast from the store the morning of the Rush describing the grand prize winner scrambling around the store, and what he won compliments of HMV.

In Vancouver, Z95 listeners were asked to enter the ‘HMV Summer Sizzling CD Sale Contest’ at all lower mainland HMV locations. The station supplied HMV with ballots, ballot boxes and posters and aired a heavy 30-second promotional campaign to support the sale. As well, each week, one name was drawn for a $50 HMV gift certificate. At the end of the four-week promotion, a grand prize winner received a $1,500 shopping spree at HMV.

In addition to events and promotions, added value was also negotiated with radio stations in the form of sponsorships, Web site logos, links and adjacencies to highly rated programs. The 10-second sponsorships were key in promoting the ‘Door Crasher of the Week’ and driving consumers to the stores.

The results

Not only did consumers get excited about the events at HMV, the radio DJs got pretty excited too. Morning teams received Madness + Mayhem packages full of goodies that stimulated on-air chat about the sale and the variety of music available at HMV.

Using radio as the primary media vehicle for the HMV June promotion demonstrated that a combination of brand-sell and events can drive sales to exceptional levels.

In fact, the Madness + Mayhem Sale generated the highest sales in HMV history, with the exception of Christmas.

Judges’ verdict

‘Choosing radio for a music retailer is such a perfect fit (it borders on obvious). The creativity came into play in the negotiation of added value products. I was impressed with the mix of products used (sponsorships, remotes, etc.) and it’s hard to argue with ‘highest sales in history.”

‘This plan appears to have required a lot of organization and detail. I liked the use of radio as the primary medium, the urgency approach and the DJ involvement. The time frame was realistic and successful. Choosing radio stations based on format rather than GRPs is not unknown, and in this case, it helped broaden the audience.’