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MEDIACOM Marketing Digest 15 December 2004

MEDIACOM Marketing Digest 15 December 2004

L E T ' S . T A L K . R A D I O

A new voice dawns.

For years, we've watched as radio station after radio station has sprouted up, offering music that sliced and diced a few basic formats into ever thinner segments. "Want music from the summer of 1974? Listen to Rocktober74FM". Now we understand how nanotechnology originated, and the purpose behind unlocking the human genome.

Meanwhile, NewstalkZB and Radio Pacific have expanded from single stations into nationwide networks, but have had the commercial talkback format to themselves. Not any more.

CanWest's RadioWorks subsidiary, operators of Radio Pacific, on Monday revealed plans for a new, nationwide radio news and information station, to be called Radio Live and described as a "contemporary information format" station. The station will feature (in their own words) "high profile, contemporary and controversial hosts". Given the limited celebrity gene pool in New Zealand, that means Martin Devlin, Michael Laws, Kerry Smith, Paul Henry and Marcus Lush.

Radio Live is a new format, separate to Radio Pacific, which will remain on air as a racing oriented format. At non-racing times, Pacific will broadcast a mix of music and talk radio.

Radio Live will broadcast in 21 markets throughout the country, on the following frequencies:

* Northland 94.0FM

* Auckland 100.6FM and 702AM

* Waikato 100.0FM

* Tauranga 96.1FM

* Whakatane 92.1FM

* Gisborne 94.8FM

* Rotorua 91.9FM

* Taupo 99.1FM

* Hawkes Bay 97.5FM

* Taranaki 89.2FM

* Wanganui 96.0FM

* Manawatu 93.8FM

* Wairarapa 98.1FM

* Wellington 98.7FM

* Nelson 96.2FM

* Westport 90.1FM

* Christchurch 738AM

* Timaru 89.9FM

* Alexandra 95.9FM

* Dunedin 96.6FM

* Invercargill 94.0FM

Radio Live is expected to go to air in April next year. A quick skim through the list above reveals that the network will be FM nearly all the way, except for Christchurch (and a simulcast AM signal in Auckland).

Radio Live isn't the first national network that CanWest have suddenly magicked into existence. TV4 was created as a metropolitan channel seemingly out of nowhere, through a hodgepodge of frequencies cleverly engineered to create a new free-to-air network, when the perceived wisdom was that there was no room for such a beast. Radio Live similarly comes as a surprise, at least to those of us who are mere observers from outside. Smart work.

It would be churlish of us to wonder where the audience is coming from, but we'll risk the label. In this new world where personality-laden Current Affairs suddenly abounds on television, where Sunday papers flourish in triplicate and even the humble mobile phone can provide news headlines by the score, do we need another chorus of opinionated voices?

The same question, of course, could be asked of every new audio format that has graced our ears since the invention of the club signalled the age of percussion. With the marketing clout of RadioWorks behind it, Radio Live will quickly carve out a niche. Whether it ends up challenging NewstalkZB's hegemony, however, depends on how well the Radio Live chorus manages to vocalise the mood of the nation.

We'll essay an opinion of our own: there'll need to be some changes to the on-air lineup before Radio Live reaches its full potential.

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Another initiative from RadioWorks, this one falls into the "what took them so long?" category. More FM is to add a further 15 stations to its stable by the simple process of rebranding the local RadioWorks stations, which broadcast under various names in markets from Whangarei to Invercargill.

The initial plan is simply to change the names of the stations but retain their local announcers and local content, except for the night-time slot which will be nationalised under the baton of NZ Idol host Dominic Bowden.

We have no doubt that many of the local brands will be sadly missed, but marketing realities dictate a single brand, to compete effectively with the network-branded offerings of the Radio Network.

As time passes, there will be huge temptation to network the stations completely. We doubt that RadioWorks would give in to such temptation - their regional focus gives them a significant advantage when it comes to local promotions and advertising - but if we spot any weakening in that position, we'll be the first on their doorsteps with a signature-laden petition.

EMAIL

Don't Push Too Hard

Aggressiveness is generally bad news for most e-mail recipients, who consider email to be junk or spam when it comes too frequently. Internet marketing specialists DoubleClick found that spam is in the eye of the beholder when emails:

* try to trick consumers into opening them (96% call such emails spam)

* are from unknown senders (93% say spam)

* contain offensive subject matter (93%)

So far so good, and surely none of our readers would fall into those traps.

But spam is also what consumers call email that:

* is from a company they do business with but comes too frequently (58%)

* is from someone to whom they once gave permission, but no longer wish to hear from (57%)

* tries to sell them a product or service, even if they know the sender (38%).

All of which makes it pretty difficult to really tap into email as a marketing channel.

Difficult, but not impossible.

We're not trying to sell you anything, but if you need some help with your email marketing, give us a call.

Or would you prefer that we send out this newsletter daily?

TRENDS

Global Product Trends (Continued)

Last week we shared with you the top five Global Trends Predictions for 2005 from Productscan, the world's largest online database of consumer products. Want five more?

Trend #6: Dissolving Strips Expand To New Territories

The revolution in wafer-thin dissolving strips started with breath strips, but is not likely to end there. Riding the crest of a five-fold increase in dissolving strip product launches since 2002, strips expanded this year into dietary supplements, cough medicine, oral pain relief and blotters for shaving nicks. The strips even found their way into the soap category with Pocket Suds Soap on the Go! Dissolving Soap Strips, a new entry in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Expect further expansion in new strip products in 2005.

Trend #7: Biker Chic Catches On

It hasn't been a good couple of months for the "metrosexual" trend. First, the Boston Red Sox win the baseball World Series led by Johnny Damon, a slugger who goes by the nickname "caveman" for his long locks of hair and unkempt look. Next, John Kerry loses the Presidency, a blow to men who see nothing wrong with spending hundreds of dollars on a haircut. Finally, some of the hottest licensed properties available today centre around the custom chopper craze popularized by outfits like Orange County Choppers. Not everyone can afford one of these custom made motorcycles, but consumers can live the "bad boy" dream with a raft of chopper-inspired merchandise like Orange County Choppers Energy Drink and Orange County Choppers Mints. Saddle up!

Trend #8: Energy Drinks Expand Into Alcohol Beverages

In Europe, it's not uncommon to have an "energizing" alcohol-based beverage like Engine Energy Gin Energy Drink, a new entry in Russia that combines gin with guarana. The popularity of Red Bull as a mixed drink ingredient has helped energize this trend. Now we are starting to see American beverage makers flirt with the trend led by Anheuser-Busch with its Budweiser B-to-the-E, a new beer infused with caffeine, guarana and ginseng from a major brewer. Will other alcohol beverage makers jump on the trend in 2005? Time will tell.

Trend #9: Allergy-Free Foods Catch Fire

According to a 2004 study by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, one in every 25 people in the United States suffer from a food allergy. Foods aimed at allergy-sensitive individuals have become one of the fastest-growing areas in the entire food industry. According to Productscan Online, introductions of new gluten-free products have more than doubled since 2001. Similar increases may be in the offing. Earlier this year, it was revealed that three million Americans - many more than originally thought - may have celiac disease, a digestive disorder triggered by gluten protein found in certain grains and one that calls for consumption of gluten-free foods. In Europe, the trend is strong enough that supermarket private labels are chasing allergy-suffering consumers with products like Tesco's Free From Sliced White Bread, which contains no wheat, gluten or milk.

Trend #10: Indulgence - For Pets!

We just can't spend enough money on pets. Spending on pets has doubled from $17 billion in 1994 to a projected $34 billion plus in 2004, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturer's Association. Nothing is too good for our pets, including new Woofy-Pop Fortified Popcorn Snack for Dogs in a Bacon flavour, the Talking Bone Dog Toy which enables a pet owner to a record a message in their own voice to "talk" to their dog, Lickety Sticks Catnip Oil Stickers for cats which turn anything into a cat toy and Merrick Turducken Canned Dog Food with a delicious combination of turkey, duck and chicken.

What else is new for pampered pooches? How about Sweet Dreams K-9 Pajamas created "for pets who'd rather count sheep than chase them."

Think it's just Americans who are going pet crazy? Think again. Check out new Dogurt Yogurt for Dogs, a new biotin-enriched yogurt that is specially designed for dogs, new in Germany. Japanese consumers can now purchase the new ISee Pet Food Dispenser which has its own built-in camera, giving web-enabled households the ability to see their pets eat or even feed them remotely by hitting a feed "button" on the internet.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

This is our last issue for 2004. Thanks for letting us into your InBoxes this year. We wish you all the best for the Christmas season and hope you have a truly fantastic New Year. See you in mid-January.

*************

ABOUT MEDIACOM

MEDIACOM, with offices in 80 countries (and now part of the WPP Group of companies), is one of the world's largest and most respected independent media planning and buying organisations.

We create media solutions that build business for a wide range of local, regional and worldwide clients.

With $13 billion in global billings, a commitment to strategic insight, total communications planning, tactical media brilliance and tough but creative media negotiating, MEDIACOM provides unsurpassed value in today's chaotic media marketplace.

Published by MEDIACOM (NZ) LIMITED, P O Box 3369 Auckland New
Zealand,
Phone 09 914 4940 Fax 09 914 4903
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