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The Real Radio car boot sale

Real Radio North West took the station out on the road this weekend by hosting the Real Radio Car Boot Sale in Salford. Yes, you heard that right – a “car boot sale”. I’m in two minds whether this is piece of marketing genius or something that’s really off brand and tacky for the radio station.


In the station’s defence…

The event attracted 700 car boot sellers and many more punters looking for a bargain, which are strong numbers and good for audience engagement. All the pitch fees went to local charity generating positive PR and was supported with a live music programme featuring a selection of artists from X Factor/Britain’s Got Talent including Misha B, The Loveable Rouges, 2 Shoes and Mr Zip (“where’s my keys, wheres my phone”). For a station which still sees “local” as a key part of its brand values, it definitely hit that part of the brief. Incidentally – the event caused a bit of a stir locally, with roads near to the Salford City stadium becoming gridlock in the early hours of Sunday morning causing Coronation Street starlet, Michelle Keegan to tweet about the event to her half million Twitter followers.

Then again …

All of the above aside – there’s still something in me – as a radio marketer – that sees this type of event as not very complimentary of a radio station brand. There’s something that says “cheap and tacky” with a car boot sale and not aspirational and exciting that commercial radio usually strives to deliver.  I really want it to work but there’s something that just says ‘community radio’ to me and it doesn’t feel like the right event strategy to link with a radio station that attracts nearly half a million listeners across the region.

It seems the feeling was mutual with others across the radio industry – however Chris Stevens, GMG Deputy Group Programme Controller took to Twitter to amplify the positives of the event


Good for charity, good for listeners, good PR, good weather, good down to earth feel-good event, what’s not to like?


In 2005, during my time with the marketing team at BRMB – I remember a popular Car Boot Sale in Birmingham was used as the location to hand out promotional tease flyers for the re-launch of major station promotion, 2 Strangers and a Wedding. It was chosen due its popularity and the opportunity to reach large amounts of listeners in one go – so maybe there is something with car boot sales for a marketing objective – high and engaged footfall numbers for sure.


Not sure …

My blogs usually have a solid opinion – but this time I am truly stuck on the fence. Car boot sales can be really fun, exciting and family experiences – coupled with appearances from your favourite presenters and TV music stars – making it a really good fun day out. On the other hand – there’s just something with this that sticks out like a sore thumb – non inspirational, low grade and full of bargain hunters?

Maybe it’s down to Real Radio being able to take a risk and then run with it and thus deliver it well.

Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Views expressed in this blog post are the personal opinion of Jonathan Jacob and do not represent those of any employers or companies he is associated with.