The Billboard may also be known as the 'Tee Up', 'Set Up', or 'Tease' and can be very effective in the right hands. Just before the spot cluster kicks off we 'billboard' a big event coming out of the stop set and hopefully everyone is so excited they don't tune out during all the commercials. In the right hands and with the right content it can work. But the key is 'in the right hands' and 'with great content.' "Coming up another Katy Perry song" in CHR radio today is probably not going to get many to sit through 5 minutes of commercials. When Katy finishes her new songs this summer you can probably get a crowd to stick through the spots for the 'first play' of the new song.
Billboards can be a great TSL weapon, if they are well executed and justified. In many ways we haven't really built them into an art, instead they have become a necessary task and show up before nearly every stop set without much thought or prep. Especially now in the PPM world the billboard could be one of the most effective weapons. How well it's used by the talent is the key. In today's world of voice tracking dayparts and even letting some dayparts and weekends roll without air talent it seems like billboarding is taking a back seat and not being utilized or developed much as a TSL tool.
The other tool we're looking at this week is Recycling. In some ways it's like billboarding but here the dynamic is not just to hold the audience through the stop set and into the next quarter hour - it's trying to get them to come back to another hour or daypart or day. The most recycled daypart is Mornings with most shows getting regular sweepers and mentions throughout the day.
While Mornings are very important what about the other dayparts? Building up at work listening, making sure the Morning audience is also there in afternoons and could you get a little more out of evenings with some more exposure throughout the day?
Both of these techniques are obvious and they do work. Perhaps more so in a PPM world than in the 'recall world' of the diary, but they can pull the audience through a stop set and they can build numbers for other dayparts. The challenge is that it's effectiveness relies on:
- Great Content - If you don't have something big to billboard or recycle it doesn't work as well.
- Preparation - You have to plan this out to make it really work. You need a full recycling plan, running weekend recycling on Monday probably won't be as effective as Thursday.
- Air Talent - Some have a real talent for building up the excitement and some just seem to go through the motions here. In the end the air talent has to prepare the teases - hunting down the best content in the hour and packaging it to be effective. Are we teaching, coaching and evaluating this trait anymore???
There really isn't anyway to find any research or metrics to prove that Billboards and Recycling help in actually delivering TSL. Based on what we can see in PPM tracking there may be some evidence, but since we really don't track the 'content' of every billboard and compare it to the audience graphs (like we do with music and spots) we really don't have any 'proof.' But we all know that billboards that are skillfully delivered, well planed and that promote captivating content the audience will stick around or try to come back.