February 08, 2019

In November of last year, I was at a lunch hosted by Alan Jones to thank the sponsors of his week-long Melbourne Cup broadcast. One of the sponsors was Winning Appliances. With a name like Winning, why not promote yourself around the biggest race carnival in the country with Australia’s greatest broadcaster? At the lunch, CEO of Winning Group, John Winning, mentioned that he was busy preparing a yacht to race in the up-coming Sydney to Hobart. John and his father, John Snr, had both raced the Sydney to Hobart before, but never together. The 2018 Sydney to Hobart was the 20th Anniversary of the fatal 1998 race where 6 sailors lost their lives, while 55 sailors were rescued from the treacherous ocean. It was the biggest sea rescue in Australian history. 20 years later father and son were on a mission to find a yacht, race it, and honour the sailors who died 20 years before, some of whom were family and friends. More on where they finished in the race shortly.


While listening to John talk about his achievements in sailing I quickly realised that this was his passion. When he’s not on the water, John Winning spends his working hours growing an incredibly successful appliance retail business. Winning Appliances is a fourth-generation Australian family business, with 16 Showrooms across NSW, QLD, VIC, WA & ACT. Winning Appliances houses some of the world’s best appliance brands and products, and prides itself on its premium service, expert advice, and employs hundreds of people, many of whom work on two successful online platforms, and


It was obvious to me that a radio sponsorship of LIVE updates covering the Sydney to Hobart was a perfect fit for Winning Appliances. And for many reasons. The yacht they were racing, (built in Dubai, Matt Allen’s Ichi Ban Carkeek 60) they re-named ‘Winning Appliances’. They would receive high exposure during the End of Year Boxing Day Sales and they had a new catalogue being released at the same time.


In the days leading up to the start of the race, Macquarie Media’s 2GB Sydney and 4BC Brisbane were promoting their up-coming coverage ‘all thanks to Winning Appliances’. They even invited John Winning to introduce himself in the pre-promotional commercials, as he highlighted his participation in the race.


When the race started, every time the on-air teams crossed to the race reporter, the Winning Appliances Brand Credit was there in the intro to the report, highlighting the release of their new catalogue.


The race reporter was Steve Barker, the best in the business. This guy lives on the River Derwent in Hobart, travels up to Sydney in the weeks prior to the race, meets the race crews, gets the inside info, covers the start of the race, then hops on a plane and scoots back to Hobart before the big Maxi’s hit the finish line. He’s covered 17 races in a row. Steve knew Winning Appliances was the Major Sponsor of the radio reports and made sure their yacht received plenty of coverage. Steve also made sure they received coverage in the News.


2GB and 4BC over-delivered on what they promised in the original proposal and the value achieved for Winning Appliances far exceeded the budget for their promotion.


So how did they finish in the race? They crossed the line 9th out of 85 boats and 2nd in Division 1 handicap, in one of the top 3 ocean races in the world. They raced for 2 days and 6 hours. A few years ago, that was the winning time for the super-maxis. Steve Barker tells me, “the crew, led by John Winning, sailed a strategic and tactical race, often going cheek to keel with the 2nd placed (on handicap) Wild Oats 10. An incredible achievement. You can listen to some examples and airchecks of the coverage Winning Appliances received at the end of this blog.


I’m about to breakdown Radio Sponsorships in more detail but your Take Away for Radio Sponsorships is:


  1. They add an extra layer to your commercial schedule giving your brand/product higher exposure and greater frequency

  2. The most popular and sought-after sponsorships are News, Traffic, Weather, and Program sponsorships, especially Breakfast where the audience is the largest

  3. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a sponsorship into your campaign as added value but remember that will be determined by your level of investment

  4. A tailored sponsorship or a special event sponsorship, like the Sydney to Hobart, might be the perfect fit for your business. Think about which events perfectly align with your brand

  5. Online sponsorships offer new opportunities as audiences choose to listen to their favourite radio segments at a time that suits them


Radio stations offer a variety of different sponsorships that can add a valuable layer to any radio campaign. In fact, most regular advertisers and smart Ad agencies insist on receiving some type of sponsorship with their radio schedule.


It works like this. You have a schedule of radio commercials, normally 30 seconds in length, and over above that you also receive a schedule of Brand Credits to reinforce your key message. These Brand Credits are usually around 5-7 seconds long and feature your business name and approximately 7-8 words.


For example. “This News brought to you by Suttons Holden Rosebery - Big 4 Day Sale ends Sunday ” – then the News starts.


The most sought-after sponsorships are with News, Traffic, Weather, and Breakfast Programs. These are considered key assets for radio when listeners are more likely to tune-in, or less likely to tune-out. Placing your brand or product adjacent to, or in these segments, lifts your brand exposure giving you added awareness with the listener.


Radio works on frequency. In other words, the listener needs to hear your message over and over before they actively consider taking action. Having sponsorship Brand Credits running as an added layer to your 30 sec commercial schedule helps you achieve the repetition required for the campaign to work.


These short Brand Credits come at a cost. If the credit appears in the Breakfast Show where the price of a 30 sec recorded commercial is $900, then the Brand Credit should be no more than a third of that at $300. However, long term advertisers and clever negotiators can often secure a sponsorship at no extra cost. In metro markets where there are up to 10 commercial radio stations, it’s a Buyer’s Market. Each station has a monthly sales budget they have to achieve, and they are desperate for your business. So, don’t be afraid to ask for as much as you can.


If they don’t come to the party the other mob further up the radio dial will be more than willing to steal your business away with more spots and more added value with a sponsorship. Obviously, your level of investment determines the outcome of all this, but don’t be shy when asking for more.


In metro markets where listeners can spend up to 2 hours stuck in their car battling through the morning or afternoon drive, Traffic Sponsorships are quite lucrative. In fact, The Australian Traffic Network is a business operated solely on selling Brand Credits around radio Traffic Reports. They promise an 8 second credit and you can buy these in all metro markets and many regional markets as well. However, you can’t pick and choose stations, only markets.


For example. If you wanted to sell a new power tool to Tradies, a Traffic Sponsorship on ATN wouldn’t give you the greatest bang for your buck. Many of your Traffic Report Brand Credits would be heard on Smooth FM where the target audience is mostly Female and on 2CH where the audience is mostly 65+. They don’t allow you to place your brand credits just on Triple M where there is a huge audience of Tradies who would love to hear about your new and gutsy power tool.


But if you sell Insurance, Furniture, Mobile Phones, Groceries, Travel, anything that most people would buy, the ‘shot-gun’ strategy from ATN in getting your message out to a large audience quickly, is quite effective.


Radio also offers a variety of other Sponsorship opportunities. They include NRL and AFL  broadcast sponsorships, Cricket, Tennis, in fact most sports, as well as Business and Finance Updates, Station Promotions and Giveaways, along with special event broadcasts.


Sponsorships on the radio can also translate to Online. Many listeners now choose to listen to the radio in their own time. Podcasts of radio programs and segments can be sponsored on station websites with commercial placement in the lead-in to each podcast.


The numbers are astounding. In 2018, Southern Cross Austereo had 26.9 Million Catch Up Radio Podcast downloads across their Triple M and Hit Networks. SCA has their own podcast company called PodcastOne. According to their annual report, Podcast listening will grow to 8.9 million listeners by 2022 and be worth an estimated $100 million a year. It’s no wonder Commercial Radio Australia dedicated a good section of their last radio conference to talk about podcasting. Right now, it’s the buzz of the industry.

I will have more to discuss on radio station websites and podcasts in future blogs.


If you need help with a radio sponsorship contact us today at Summ Media.


My next blog will be about footy sponsorships for NRL and AFL in 2019.

Footy starts in March. Time to get your boots on!


Until then, keep listening. Radio is a powerful advertising channel.


Matt Summerill

Managing Director

Summ Media


Matt Summerill is a radio advertising specialist with over 30 years-experience in the Australian radio industry. Matt is operates his own media agency - SUMM Media.

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