CAMPAIGNS: Radio 3’s sweet sound of silence - Branding

Despite two and a half million listeners tuning in every week to Radio 3, there is a general lack of awareness of the fact that half the output is live, with more than 600 events recorded or relayed from around the UK each year. Research among concert goers indicated that 50 per cent did not listen to Radio 3 so the station’s sales promotion agency Amadeus was charged with developing a below-the-line brand-strengthening initiative.

Despite two and a half million listeners tuning in every week to

Radio 3, there is a general lack of awareness of the fact that half the

output is live, with more than 600 events recorded or relayed from

around the UK each year. Research among concert goers indicated that 50

per cent did not listen to Radio 3 so the station’s sales promotion

agency Amadeus was charged with developing a below-the-line

brand-strengthening initiative.



Objective



To promote the Radio 3 brand to concert attendees and achieve a wider

awareness of the network’s live output.



Tactics



Amadeus was already working on direct mail and banners for Radio 3, but

some sort of PR gimmick was needed to reach a wider audience. The

concert hall is traditionally seen as a refuge from commercial

’assaults’ so a delicate balance had to be found between something that

had novelty value, but was also practical, non-intrusive, and compatible

with concert halls.



Cough sweets in branded ’non-rustling’ wrappers, although not a new

idea, emerged as the perfect solution. Strong, menthol-based cough

sweets were sourced and wrappers - imprinted with the logo and frequency

- and perspex ’help-yourself’ dispensers, branded with Radio 3’s logo

and the line ’Music sweet music’, went into production. The sweets were

trialled successfully in selected concert halls during the summer, and

officially launched at the start of the autumn season. Local PR was

initiated in Bristol around the first concert of the season in August

and the ’silent sweet’ angle was then picked up by the nationals.



Results



As well improving sound quality on live recordings the silent sweet

captured the media imagination. Along with generating local coverage

around venues, the story was picked up by national press such as the

Times, the Independent, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Express and

the Sundays and made the front page of the Daily Telegraph. Local and

national radio and Sky TV also did news pieces on the sweet, picking up

on the quirky angle.



As a result, Radio 3 has been inundated with demand for dispensers from

halls around the country, including those not featuring Radio 3

concerts.



Verdict



Although the trade title Classical Music commented that the free cough

sweet idea is ’as old as the hills’ in terms of novelty, its reworking

by Amadeus for Radio 3 certainly hit the spot. In terms of media

coverage the initiative has been phenomenally successful: ’Beyond our

wildest expectations,’ says Mark Butcher, managing director of

Amadeus.



While there are no statistics about the reduction in coughing levels,

the sweet, according to Butcher, ’definitely sorts you out’, and the

initiative has also been applauded by performers. Radio 3 says the

impact on the brand has been huge with virtually every article

mentioning the network’s live output.



Client: BBC Radio 3

PR Team: Amadeus

Campaign: ’Music sweet music’

Timescale: Spring 1997 - ongoing

Cost: Undisclosed



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