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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

The power of purpose at work in Oxford


A serene photo of Oxford since Glee photographs appear to be under strict copyright.

Mr Glazier, a teacher at my old school liked to embarrass us in front of our classmates. I guess it was character-forming.

One morning I crept in with a note from my Mum, having been off sick for a few days. Taking my seat in the classroom, Mr Glazier turned to the room and called, “Stephen!”. The class fell silent. “It’s clear from this note that your mother is a teacher. She can correctly spell diarrhoea!”.

Mr Glazier would also instruct “you have to know where you’re heading before you set out” which is as true in life as in the chemistry experiments he taught.

And so it is with the best promo campaigns. The real winners start succeeding even before they’re made. They’re not just creatively brilliant but built on a good strategy.

From the outside, Glide FM’s celebrated launch campaign in Oxford seems a good example of a promotion that knew very well where it was going. Its one purpose: make some noise.

Above all, its strategy was about awareness. Not repositioning or hours building or driving trial, just the singleminded pursuit of awareness.

Glide chose August for their launch when fun media stories are at their easiest to place (although what Glide achieved was remarkable) and a tactic that was calculated to be talkable, generating word-of-mouth among the likely target audience. After that everything else followed.

All the successful campaigns I’ve worked on have been driven by a singleminded strategy and the troubled ones often characterised by muddled thinking, too many stakeholders or uncertain objectives.

Here’s something I learned years after Mr Glazier’s lessons: if you ever find yourself producing creative work to a confused brief challenge that brief again and again until it’s truly focused and singleminded. It can mean some difficult conversations but invariably will be good for your creative, your listeners and your client’s results.

Forward promotion

I’m pleased to say that some of the brains behind the Glide FM launch, Ian, Sue and Sophie, will be telling their story in the September edition of the Earshot Creative Review. They might even explain to this somewhat off-target consumer what the Glee phenomenon is all about.

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