No "Printer" Olympics

From Sterling Tarrant, Network Production Director, The Word In Music Network and KBIQ-FM, Colorado Springs, CO.

Most of you, I would guess, have never heard from a lawyer because of a production you've done. I know I'm real careful about not using what I'm not supposed to, so it came as a real surprise when Q96 received one of those "Cease and Desist" calls. I had just produced a spot for a local printer, First Press, and First Press was making a good "First Impression" on the ice at the 1994 "Printer Olympics." After First Press had received its perfect 6.0 marks for things like the Business Card Double Axle and the Combination Lift Letterhead, the phone rang. It was the owner of First Press. We had a problem.

First Press is a small printing company just down the street from the United States Olympic Committee here in Colorado Springs. A lawyer for the USOC informed First Press that use of the words Olympic or Olympiad for the purpose of trade or to induce the sale of any goods or services was illegal without the consent of the USOC. They wanted to know who had produced the spot so it could be corrected, and my name, as writer and producer of the spot, was first on the list (much to the relief of the AE whose name wasn't given at all). To avoid being on the docket right after Tonya Harding, we pulled the spot immediately, and the rewrite is awaiting approval from the USOC.

I never in a million years thought that using the Olympics in a spot was illegal, but I've got copies of the federal law and the court cases to prove it, thanks to the USOC. If you'd like more info, call me at (719) 531-9696. 


Commercial Pursuit

From Jeff Left, Creative Services Director at KFGO-AM/FM, Fargo, ND.

A few years ago, I sold a former PD, GSM and GM on a contest called "Commercial Pursuit." It was a great success. Here's how it works! The on air promo would sound something like this: "Play KKKK's Commercial Pursuit. Thousands in cash and prizes! Every hour before our 30 minute music sweep, we're gonna tell you a phrase from a commercial that will play in that hour. When you hear it, be the 6th caller and win the prize from that client! Every hour it's a different phrase, a different client, and a different prize! Only on KKKK-FM!" And so on.

To the Program Director: This contest still lets you focus on ¼-hour maintenance through the music but adds the incentive to the listener not to hit the button when the spots come on the air. Get some decent clients, and you'll get some nice prizes to give away. If you are like most stations, sweeping from :55 to :25, your sweep gives you the last ¼-hour as well as the first and second ¼-hours. Why not let the stop set give you the third ¼-hour, too?

To the GSM: Now you have a way to get a client to buy over and above their usual schedule. Or, you have a great way to get a client "radio friendly!" Other sales advantages are that this is a contest that forces listeners to focus on the copy and the client. This is a perfect way to sell the positioning statement of the client or sale items that they really want to move. Work co-op into this and really let the client make a killing. This entire contest creates a fantastic top of mind awareness for the client. And the best part is that it doesn't get in the way of station programming; it actually enhances it. Imagine telling the client that at the top of the hour, your jocks are going to say, "Keep listening, because sometime this hour I'll play a commercial that says 'cleverly hidden in Columbia Mall'. When you hear it, be the sixth caller and win." Then, in the first stop set, the second commercial is the Ogdens Furniture ad with the winning phrase. The sixth caller gets a free end table or a rocker by Rosalind Murphy (co-op), or a free desk -- "one of the 300 desks you can buy for only $49 all week long." All because the listener knew that Ogdens Furniture was "cleverly hidden in the Columbia Mall." And for those listeners that did not know, they know now! The contest is entertaining as well as informative. Everyone wins -- programming, the sales department, and the client!

To the Production Director: This is your chance to create the greatest spots you've ever done. Clients, co-workers, management, and especially the listeners will be listening more closely than ever to each and every commercial on your station. This is your chance to showcase your department and its value. Out of everyone involved, you have the most responsibility because the focus is on your work and your ability to get the listener to listen to your commercials!