The smoothfm TVC that Michael Buble rejected | radioinfo

The smoothfm TVC that Michael Buble rejected

Tuesday 27 May, 2014
Tony Thomas continues his chat with Peter Saxon to focus on the marketing of smoothfm.

Just two weeks ago, smoothfm celebrated its second birthday. And what a two years it’s been. By every measure it’s been a huge success. Even it’s fiercest competitors agree that the launch of the smooth brand was the most effective they’ve seen.
“A lot of the radio station launches are in a very functional space, like: This is the format, and it’s very direct. but we had more of an emotional position and I think that was part of its success,” says Nova Entertainment’s Group Marketing Director Tony Thomas.
“All our creative positioning around Sydney and Melbourne was about the new place to relax in a market that was quite loud and noisy. It targeted 35-54 year old mums who live very busy lives and was all about the position of delivering something where they could sit down, take a deep breath, have a cup of tea.

“So if you remember the launch creative, that featured Michael Buble, was around that exact position. Someone would walk in the door, looking tired and frustrated with their day, dump their shopping, drop their keys, turn on the radio, sit down with a cup of tea and in walks Michael Buble singing Haven’t Met You Yet. She puts her hand up to shush him because she’s in that moment. Because she’s finally had that moment relax,” says Thomas

However, that wasn’t the original creative. In the original, the woman doesn’t shush Buble. As Tony Thomas reveals, it was actually Michael Buble’s idea to for the woman to ignore him.

“There’s an interesting story around the whole making of this TVC. We were in LA and we had the whole ad shot in the particular house location and he walks onto set with his Joie de vivre - an incredibly engaging personality and character. We outlined the part that he would play, the original one, where she would sit down with a cup of tea and closed her eyes in a moment of relaxation and as he walked in and she was almost in a dream state. She hears him singing and she opens her eyes absolutely dumbfounded that Michael Buble is in the room. Like, OMG I cant believe it. So, it was a dream sequence in which she was enamoured with Michael Buble.

Buble read it and said, ‘NO NO NO NO NO NO. I don’t want it to look like she’s worshipping me. Why doesn’t when she open her eyes, look up and see me singing and tell me to shush?’

“He was very self deprecating and it actually changed the whole tone of the ad because we ended up with an end where he was going to take the piss out of himself which added a whole bunch more personality to it. In the end his genius and creativity shone through and it ended up being a great spot,” says Thomas.

However, marketing is more than just advertising. Branding, positioning and, of course, sales are all part of the mix. As is research. Which can be a dangerous thing if radio stations rely too much on it.

“There was a fair bit of intuition, says” Thomas. “We also did a fair bit of grounding around the business case and the market opportunity and playlist testing as well as understanding the general level of appeal.

“As far as all the creative and collateral development, it was all done without testing which I believe is a significant part of being able to adapt and understand the market and deliver against it. Although we didn’t do a hell of a lot of testing around it, we certainly had a whole launch grounded in a lot of fact and business case and data that we had available to us,” says Thomas.

With Buble and its other superstar guest presenters like Keith Urban, Lionel Richie, Olivia Newton-John, Robbie Williams and Ronan Keating, smoothfm sounds like a billion dollars yet runs on the smell of an oily rag. It’s dollars spent per ratings point is arguably the best of any metro station in Australia.

With the smooth brand having gained phenomenal traction so far and growing rapidly, Tony Thomas says that it’s important to extend the brand into other areas.

"We’ve extended the brand onto television. We’ve extended the brand into compilation CDs. We’ve extended it into our RDIO  subscription streaming music platform and we extend our brand onto the street with all the street activity.

"We’re extending the audience footprint into other areas that allow us to build a lot more market share and give us a lot more opportunities to promote our radio brand, build our broadcast audience and monetise it.

"I still think when I turn on the radio in my car or turn on something at home that’s still radio. And I don’t think that’s going to change for a long time," says Tony Thomas.
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