How do you launch a radio station with little or no marketing budget on a platform that is still growing?
How do you get the mighty UK media industry talking about your brand new digital radio station before it has even launched?
How do you create a talking point that spans the generations and becomes a major topic of conversation?
Well, take a lesson from Absolute Radio 60s.
They did it with perfectly conceived, perfectly planned and perfectly executed PR.
The timing was good: Sir Cliff was doing the rounds, promoting his latest calendar and Soulicious DVD. Of course he is known for being proud and protective of his contribution to UK Rock’n'Roll.
And after so many years in the business, he also knows how to work a story when he’s on to a good thing.
It was a beautifully simple, tried & tested timeless story: Good versus evil. Young versus old. Hip versus square. To sum it up very simply:
“Absolute Radio 60s ban Cliff Richard for being boring”
Here are some of the highlights:
- Radio Today publish a story about Absolute 60s banning Cliff Richard.
- Clive Dickens starts Twitter commentary on the developing story.
- Daily Mail runs a story about Cliff’s fury
- Lorraine on ITV runs a phone-in asking “which artist would you like to ban from the radio, as Absolute 60s have done to Sir Cliff?”
- Paul Clements writes in the Telegraph about how ‘Cliff Richard makes uncool cool‘.
- The BBC report that Sir Cliff Richard hits back over radio airplay snub.
- Absolute Radio stoke the fire by releasing a Youtube video of Nile Rogers supporting the Absolute Radio position.
- Sir Cliff is interviewed on ITV’s Loose Women and reveals he knows the station is just drumming up publicity:
‘I think it’s a great scam, don’t you think it’s a scam?,’ he asked.
‘In a funny, strange way they’re using me to advertise their station’.
‘And I hope they are going to be really successful because then I can say, “Could they have ever done it without me?” and the answer is probably “No”.’
- The Biggest news website, Daily Mail Online – rustle up support for Sir Cliff from other wrinkly rockers … and Tony Blackburn.
- Media Monkey report Sir Cliff is on Radio 2, and call Absolute Radio ‘meanies’.
Saturday 19th November
- Saturday’s Daily Mail gives away a free ‘Christmas with Cliff’ CD.
Sunday 20th November
- Smooth Radio create a promo saying that they DO play Cliff:
Tuesday 22nd November
- Absolute Radio 60s Launches in a blaze of publicity and a remarkable level of awareness for a brand new radio station.
- Clive Dickens reveals on Twitter that the Absolute Radio Player had the highest ever ‘visits’ in the previous week. The hashtag is #ThanksSirCliff.
- … and Sir Cliff has probably had more headlines, features and interviews than he ever expected when he began his own PR offensive.
- And what can we learn from this?
- Simple things done well can be very powerful.
- You rarely need to reinvent the wheel.
- You can’t keep a good story down.
- No matter how strong the plan, never forget the importance of execution.
Congratulations to all concerned.
A couple of weeks later on (12th December), and Absolute Radio are obviously so pleased with the campaign and its response that they have now produced a great compilation of some of the highlights from the PR campaign: