Clear Channel Creates Contextual Ad Campaigns for Advertisers

One of the most attractive features of online advertising is its targetability. Literally millions of dollars get placed in search or contextual advertising. Now Clear Channel has announced a new scheduling enhancement that enables its stations to offer reliable, automatic ad placements based on the content demands of an advertiser.

Clear Channel says that the proprietary system has been in preliminary operation for the past year and is now available to all national advertisers. Test campaigns for major national advertisers VISA, GEICO and Wal-Mart, produced outstanding results for the advertisers. One of the campaigns sought to boost sales at Walmart for the new AC/DC album Black Ice. MediaVest and Clear Channel Radio devised a program where a Wal-Mart ad for the album would run immediately after an AC/DC song was played on a selection of 106 Rock AC and Album-Oriented Rock stations in 91 markets. If no AC/DC song was currently on the station’s playlist, the 30-second spot appeared after a song by a similar artist.

Wal-Mart moved 784,000 copies of the album during its first week in stores: the second-largest debut week for a new album to date in 2009, according to Billboard magazine.

OMD and Visa diverted television dollars to radio to fund its test of the system, and saw a 10% rise in short-term volume through VISA’s network compared to the same period the previous year. VISA ultimately singled out the campaign as a company-wide best practice.

Geico’s campaign ran spots at 15 after the hour telling listeners to spend 15 minutes to save 15%. No specifics on the lift that Geico enjoyed were given.

It’s hard, reading the press release, to understand whether there’s an actual technology in place here, or a simpler scheduling protocol that enables this approach. Either way, it’s a great idea to boost the effectiveness of an ad campaign by placing it near relevant content. This is the kind of innovation that the industry needs. Hats off to Clear Channel for leading the way.

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