Radio

Just in time for Cannes, we round up the best in radio.

GLEE-FM puts TV on the radio
Fans of the hit show Glee, known as Gleeks, called in sick across Canada on a Monday morning in April to listen to the fleeting transmissions of GLEE-FM. To promote the second-season premiere of the top rated series, Canwest worked with Toronto’s 103.9 Proud FM to transform the station into GLEE-FM for a day, playing the 50-plus songs featured in the series and on the three soundtrack CDs released since the show began last fall.
“How do you launch a radio station? There were lots of pieces to this thing,” says Jamie Schouela, VP marketing strategy, Canwest. “We had to create a sound for the day – we did everything that a regular radio station would have.”
That included producing station IDs, training talent and developing programming, such as interviews with cast members, hourly CD giveaways and a grand prize of a trip for two to New York to see the cast perform live – and, of course, constant reminders building up to the premiere the following night.
The launch was promoted like any other new station breaking onto the airwaves, with spots on Global Television and in newspapers announcing “Toronto’s newest radio station GLEE-FM,” a website and traditional premiums like “cheesy” bumper stickers with a bogus logo. The signal was amplified outside the Toronto area via a dedicated live internet radio stream, which, Schouela says, nearly crashed under the weight of all the traffic. And as for the premiere, let’s just say it beat American Idol at sectionals and is on its way to regionals.

Laurentian drives househunters to mortgages
In Quebec, most people in the market for a new house engage in the Sunday afternoon open-house ritual. As they drive from option to option, they listen to the radio in their cars. This simple insight led Montreal agency Bleublancrouge to buy up the 2 to 4 p.m. block on two major Montreal radio stations last spring to make sure listeners knew about Laurentian Bank’s 5% cash-back offers on mortgages.
But instead of regular radio spots, the Laurentian Bank Open House domination consisted of 26 minutes’ worth of entertaining vignettes that mixed facts and figures on rates and other financial questions with taped anecdotes and live integration by superstar hosts. One DJ talked about how, if she’d had a bit more cash when she bought her first home, she could have avoided having her stepmother decorate the place for free, with disastrous results. 
“We used material that wasn’t driving information on mortgages but driving entertainment around what people were doing in their cars and visiting homes,” says Claude Lamoureux, VP media director at Bleublancrouge. “The risk we took was not to talk 100% about the product, but to accompany people in their decision process, so the bank could be a little closer to what’s happening in their lives.”
A huge increase in web traffic was immediate, with eight times the number of visits to the product page on the bank’s website, ultimately reaching the goal of $100 million in mortgage commitments. The strategy worked so well that this year Laurentian boosted it with TV integrations on Astral channels.

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