Paige Nienaber’s Midweek Idea Dump: Q1 Promo Bonanza


(By Paige Nienaber) In one of my first Radio Ink pieces, I referred to Trans-Siberian Orchestra tickets and how these are great prizes, and I might have added, “So for God’s sake don’t waste them with some lame digital entry methodology.” Someone from their management team saw it, emailed me, and agreed that it’s a shame to take such a great prize and blow it with audio wallpaper.

I mentioned this on social media and got a couple, “What’s your issue with digital entries?!”

Where to start? You don’t get the audio impact of an actual winner. I was listening to NOW in SFO in the hours leading up to Taylor Swift’s August concert in San Jose and it was Audio Crack. They were doing Back To Back For Taylor: two of her songs in order and the right caller got the tickets.

Wisely they were playing a buttload(™) of her music… just not back to back. So every time one of her songs played, in anticipation that the next song would be THE song, the phones exploded. And they would air five or six quick clips of people losing their minds.

Can you imagine if The Price Is Right was done in front of an audience who, when Bob prompted, entered their emails? And then Bob would announce the winner of the in-ground pool. The show would have been canceled after the first commercial break. So why is doing great tickets via digital entries in December boring? Because it’s December and there are only about 8000 seasonal elements that you could build something out of to have some actual, shudder, relatable, and topical stuff to have fun with. Fun is Good.

And now on with the dumpage.


There was a station in BC a few years ago that promoted a new “tone” that had been embedded in their signal that mosquitos found to be annoying. “So just take us with you and don’t get bit once this Summer”.

Troy McCallum did that with Thermal Audio five years ago at Boom in Toronto. Same concept: the station warmed you while you listened.

More audio like this if you click through.

The Baby Bowl

Thank you to Patti Marshall with Hubbard in Cincy for sharing this Hallmark Channel event for the Super Bowl: The Kitten Bowl. Wow. They nailed it. Because if you are one of the 35 million households with a cat, you’re probably going to be into this.

If you are one of the stations like K-Hits in Tulsa or KGGI in Riverside that have done a diaper crawl, you know that these things get TV. Now, imagine a big green carpet with hash marks and 22 babies in logo’d diapers for the two teams that make the Bowl…

Valentines Don’ts

So, the bad client requests have begun to come in. Gleaned from some of the promo requests, here are some reminders of what we don’t do:

  • Gift cards. Gift cards suck. Even though you ARE giving away ‘cards, use some semantics. “Caller ten wins a huge assortment of fresh-cut roses that you might need a second vase to hold.” “Our prize closet is FILLED with flowers from all over the world. It smells like the rainforest in here and finally, we got the stink from when Dustin Diamond was in-studio, outta here. Thanks Floral USA.”
  • We can’t get more than 4% of people to pick up the phone and try to win $1000, so asking people to write letters about why they love their spouse to win a $25 gift basket from a client is going to result in maybe three entries.
  • “The station will ask listeners to call in or email for a chance to profess their love on air.  They could be popping the question or saying I love you for the first time.  If you are selected you will also win a gift card.”
  • Pretty much anything that involves dating a DJ. Only the most tactful among us have ever been able to pull this off without coming off as pompous egotistical d-bags.

For March 17th

You need to see if there are some local businesses that you sell a remote to for the day after St. Patrick’s Day. 

For The Asking

It’s the 1st Quarter, which means that you are probably spinning around in circles, trying to gen some rev. I have sales proposals for all of these ideas. Ask and I shall send.

  • Two different slot tourneys from station events at casinos
  • Two different pizza box top promotions
  • An “ugliest teeth” contest with dental reconstruction (maybe not the right term) as the prize
  • Campus Craze from a station that was on campus for the first week of school
  • Canned Film Festival from WDVD in Detroit
  • The Extreme Tree House Makeover from Fly in Albany
  • The couponed door hanger that B-96/Chicago was giving away on campus 
  • The Hot Mama contest from Q-104 in Halifax
  • A sticker stop sales piece from Wild in Tampa
  • Back To School Botox from Hot in Ottawa
  • Bra Wars (breast enhancement) from Juice FM in the UK
  • Two Strangers & A Wedding, a sales promotion from Phil Dowse
  • Snow Squad sponsorship from a station in Vancouver
  • Last Student Standing from Fly in Albany
  • Biggest Loser (weight loss competition) from Q-107.5 in Memphis
  • Greed Diet (weight loss competition) from KZIA in Cedar Rapids
  • Baby Idol from Hot in DC
  • Booty Cruise 
  • Swap Your Wife For A New Life from AMP in Calgary
  • Black Bra Party overview
  • Win A Divorce from Q-104 in Halifax
  • Colgates “Best Smile” competition from Radiowave 96.7
  • Cupcakes For The Cause from Cumulus in Albuquerque
  • Gowntown recap from CBS/Cleveland
  • Disaster Relief Kits from Cox

Email me at [email protected] and I will attempt to find and share the ones that you request.

Paige Nienaber insults/consults more than 100 radio stations on Fun ‘N Games (Marketing & Promotions). Find him at CPR Promotions. Read Paige’s Radio Ink archives here.



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