Monday, September 11, 2006

Radio Mustang

“I think the primary function of radio is that people want company.” Elise Nordling said this. She is a well-known indie radio music director and DJ who spoke at this year’s SXSW in Austin.

She could’ve been talking about the Mustang Engineering radio commercials that have just finished running in the Houston area.

This radio campaign has just galloped across the finish line with great success. You know a radio campaign is a success when the client tells you how many people heard the spots and how it helped generate a huge turnout at the company’s career open house: almost 1,000 people showed up.

You read the start of this story last April when I blogged about “The Mustang Experience.” This post is about how Mustang and I took that experience to the air.

Putting Mustang on the radio took some twists and turns. Can you “visualize” radio? We initially visualized the radio campaign as pure recruitment commercials – every firm in the oil patch trying to hire exactly the right kind of people to keep up with the growing demand for services. Radio commercials offered Mustang a much broader reach for prospective hires.

Our creative discussions turned more and more to brand advertising: what makes Mustang Engineering a unique company. Listeners would hear the same people who appeared in the OTC video: we would splice one individual Mustanger’s key comments from the audio track with a booth announcer in every spot.

As the spots turned from recruiting to brand, the announcer (another Mustanger, Chad Supan) would ask questions that related more to Mustang Engineering as a company rather than just a place to come to work.

When we finished more than a dozen 30s and 60s for two different radio stations, our intentions had merged. The reasons Mustang is a remarkable “brand” are the same ones that make Mustang a remarkable employer.

To paraphrase Nordling, radio worked for Mustang because people wanted to hear about this company. Mustangers themselves gave listeners company.

Real Mustang people asked and answered questions about the company. We created time-critical Career Open House spots at the same time, announcing the date and location of the function. We ran the Open House versions on both KODA-FM and KILT-AM up through the day of the career fair.

The Career Open House was also supported by print ads in the Houston Chronicle prior to the event.

An outstanding turnout at the company’s first-ever Mustang Engineering Career Open House was our first measure of success. There were between 800-1000 people who stopped by to see what Mustang is all about. According to the managers, there were some unexpectedly high-quality individuals in attendance (“...with at least 830 of them being potential candidates”) and Mustang anticipates adding 40-50 people from the event alone.

Our second success metric was the positive feedback Mustangers got from people who said they heard the spots on the radio – over and over again.

Again, a lot of people helped make the 30-second and 60-second commercial campaign a succes: Chad Supan, Allison Miller, Brian Hadley, Tina Kutach, David Williams and Heather Broeder: The “voices” of Mustang in our campaign.

Mustang’s Dena Lee, Sharon Paul and Mark Payton have always been 110% supportive of the work needed to get the spots on the air.

Hats off to Jim Spurlock of Spur Texas, our rock-solid producer, switching easily between the booth announcer and audio clips and combining them into seamless commercials.

And extra thanks to our media reps – professionals who hardly ever get credit but deserve it for their patience and their guidance: Denise Partridge (KODA-FM) and Julie Stastny (KILT-AM Sports 610).

Radio Mustang has been a broadcast campaign with the heart of a winner. I’m glad I had a role to play in it.


Sharon Paul said...

I am thrilled with the radio ads. Congratulations to all that were involved. Well done team!!! I hope we can get these to continue to run throughout the year on a schedule. I have heard from people in the community that they have heard our ads. It’s hard to measure a return on investment, but in this market, continuing to leverage our differentiators as an employer is the core strategy to continue to brand publicly.

Jim Spurlock said...

Once again, great presentation.
Thank you.

Julie Stastny said...

Thank you to all of you involved with the Mustang Eng. radio campaign. The ads were very colorful, remarkable creativity! Richard you are always so positive and can always make me laugh. It is great to be able to work with people as enthusiatic as you and Dena Lee. It was a perfect run and all of you made that possible!