Sunday 29 September 2013

What’s behind the weaving of a film song in the storyboard of an advertisement? – Part 5

When I wrote the four (04) part series, What’s behind the weaving of a film song in the storyboard of an advertisement? (click here to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of this post), it was about how a music label should pitch its catalogue to the brands and the creative agencies. The segment I overlooked was the media owners, especially radio. The realization came after I heard two ads on radio, which have a film song weaved in their story board.

Brand: Krishna Mystiq (Real Estate)
Song Utilized: Kya Dekhte Ho (Qurbani, 1980)
Song Element: Tune (Publishing License)
Media Vehicle: Radio
Station: Fever 104 FM, Bangalore (Karanataka), India
Date/Time: September 24, 2013 / 18:50 Hrs – 18:55 Hrs

Brand: Vishal Megamart (Retail)
Song Utilized: Mar Jawan (Fashion,2008)
Song Element: Music (Sound Recording & Publishing License)
Media Vehicle: Radio
Station: Fever 104 FM, Bangalore, India
Date/Time: September 18, 2013 / 19:30 Hrs – 19: 35 Hrs

I believe that not all brands/clients are inclined to spend a part of their budget on an agency to get the ad created, one of the reason is they would rather allocate the entire budget on building reach and frequency, i.e. on buying the mass media (in this case, radio). These would be direct clients (not through an agency) and depending upon the mechanics employed to sell the media plan, it might be the creative solutions team of the radio station that creates the ad for the client. The station either does it gratis (because a bigger chunk of the media budget is spent on the station or it is the only station to get the client’s entire budget) or perhaps for a lesser fee than what an agency will charge to the client. 

As radio is a localized media, the ratio of local to national advertising on it is approximately 60:40 (this statistic pertains to India. I remember it from a newspaper report of 2011). For a music label, it makes sense to pitch its catalogue to the radio station for utilization in the ads created by the station for its direct clients. But, music labels should also realize that the budgets for a local campaign are not in the same league as a national campaign. If the radio’s creative solutions team decides to obtain the synchronization license from the music label for its client’s ad, it is an additional cost borne by radio’s client. 

The key for the music label is to strike a right balance between what it will charge for granting the synchronization license to a national versus a local campaign. One cannot score a six of each ball; it is the singles that keep the scoreboard ticking!

Tuesday 24 September 2013

An Indigo Birthday

It was either July or August of 2006. I was working with Reliance Communications (RCOM) in Mumbai. I was part of the team that took care of commercial/legal negotiations with organizations, desirous of opening their mobile short code on the RCOM network.

I don’t know if Jagadeesh M R, from Indigo Mass Communications Private Limited is reading this post and if he is, whether he will be able to recall those few mail exchanges we had to formalize the Agreement between RCOM and Indigo Mass Communications Pvt. Ltd. for its mobile short code 2919*. For me it was just another short code Agreement amongst many others. I did not know then, that seven years later, in 2013, I will recount my 2006 encounter with Jagadeesh and will be writing about Radio Indigo 91.9 FM (Indigo Mass Communications Pvt. Ltd.). Things sure pan out in unimaginable ways!

Why a walk down the memory lane? I tuned to Radio Indigo 91.9 FM during the week of September 16, 2013 to September 20, 2013, while their seventh birthday celebrations were on. I realized that the short code 2919 has been rested and is now replaced by the long code 9900 100 919.

I also came across the segment ‘Prize Vault’, which was all about sharing the birthday happiness with the listeners. The listener had to be the ninth caller to the number 255 02 919 on the morning show with RJ Michelle and RJ Nathan. The RJ gives them an option to open one of the three vaults by pressing the corresponding number on their phone, i.e. 1 for opening vault one. This is followed by cling and clang of a heavy shiny steel door opening up and the sound of a grand reveal. The RJ tells the listener what’s inside the vault and the listener has the option of claiming or passing the riches of the selected vault in favor of the next vault (greed is good sometimes!). The only condition being that the listener foregoes the goodies of the previous vault in favor of the next vault, even if the next vault turns out to be of a lesser value than the previous vault (greed is not good sometimes!).

The prizes were valued pretty decent. The prize value ranged between INR 1,000 – INR 10,000, that’s what I gathered when I was tuned to Indigo.

The modus to participate in the evening drive show with RJ Sriram was a bit different than the morning show. The listeners had to text their name on 99 00 100 919 and a lucky one got to open the Prize Vault.

For Indigo it was their seventh birthday celebration and for me it was a trip down the memory lane. Here’s wishing Radio Indigo 91.9 FM many more such Happy Birthdays.

*As per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) order of 2007, all 4 digit short codes had to be prefixed with number 5 and consequently be five digit short codes. I believe that 2919 would have changed to 52919 in 2007. I am a Vodafone customer and did a quick test to check if the short code 52919 is still alive! I chose a random keyword INDIGO and SMSed it to 52919. The response text suggested that the short code 52919 is perhaps retired. The response text read; select longname, password from smstable where longname=’hutch’ and password=’hutch’ Thank you, your message has been registered. Stay tuned to Indigo 91.9 FM. Log on to

Sunday 8 September 2013

RJ Mentions

I know what a RJ Mention is when I hear it. But if I am asked to define it, I can’t. I have heard it on radio, and on occasions I liked how RJ Mentions added value to the spot and made it meaningful to the listener.
Googling did not help find a definition. It provided me links to debate about “should RJ Mentions be regulated”, or network executives who believe “that stations should demand a premium for RJ Mentions” or opinions that “RJ Mentions are not good for listener experience”. Given the fact that this is being debated, eulogized and rubbished, it deserves to be first defined! I will define it simply as:
Mention of a brand when RJ speaks to you. Of course on radio J
The spot I heard was about a business that delivers online trainings. They are named as Like me, if you have heard their spot, it would SOUND to you as For all you know, the ad dollars spent by SIMPLILEARN would be driving traffic to its homophonic (phonetically similar sounding) counterpart SIMPLYLEARN. Scary isn’t it? So what options do these guys have to make the ad dollars count by driving the traffic to the right URL? Not so good three options come to mind:
·         Change their name, which is not a good idea, they can’t rename their business just to do a campaign on radio.
·         Create a spot which emphasizes their name over 50% of the time, which would be an utter waste, as they would rather speak about their work than spell their name.
·         Use a URL shortening service to set up an acronym redirect to their site and spend ad dollars to advertise the short alias than building their brand.
Since this campaign also had RJ Mentions in its media plan, the RJ not only spoke about SIMPLILEARN, but also spelled out the URL for listener benefit and in the process salvaged the ad dollars spent by the brand. If the brand actually paid a premium for the RJ Mention, I’ll say it was money well spent.
Hypothetically, an online brand with homophonic words in its URL would not face such a dilemma while advertising on radio if it is a big spender on visual media (e.g. QUIKR) and uses radio as a supplementary media to increase reach and frequency. But for brands who are yet to grow big on visual spends, do you believe they present an opportunity for radio stations to sell RJ mentions at a premium to them?
I’ll be glad to have your thoughts on this. Please leave your comments.