The Holiday Week Debate

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August 30, 2011
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September 7, 2011

The Holiday Week Debate

Ever since Marconi cried, “Come here Watson, they’re playing ‘Jingle Bells!’” the

debate has raged over whether or not it makes sense to advertise on the radio during holiday weeks.

Like this one.  Monday, September 5th is Labor Day.  Many people will be taking a long weekend and disrupting their typical patterns of media consumption.

Some argue that more time in the car, traveling to and from leisure destinations, creates opportunities for longer listening spans.  And that direct marketers touting URLs and toll-free numbers have a better chance of reaching listeners during these long weekends when people have time to act on curiosity and make a buying decision.

Others say to avoid holiday weeks as it takes the consumer out of his or her normal routine and makes it harder to make an advertising impression and close a sale.

And they’re both right.

The fact is we humans don’t stop eating, drinking and consuming products simply because it’s a holiday or holiday weekend.  Some of us actually plan shopping trips around seasonal holiday sales.  While others, through long distance travel, disrupt their typical media consumption (airplane flights) and deposit themselves far from local advertisers who’d like to tempt them with their offers.

Our agency client base is nearly evenly split on whether or not to advertise during holiday weeks.  And judging by their sales figures, we can’t state there’s “one right” and “one wrong” approach to advertising on holiday weeks.  That’s actually good news for everybody.

Direct marketers who depend on well-staffed call centers can ramp down during holiday windows and give their teams some well-earned time off.  Branding marketers can often take advantage of lower rates or “bonus time” that might be made available to loyal advertisers who stay on the air while other advertisers hit the beach.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid heavily weighting schedules to run on the actual holidays, unless you’re a retailer supporting a one-day sale or a TV network driving tune-in.  There’s great value in reaching consumers through the intimate medium of radio 52 weeks a year.  Sometimes, custom creative, written for the holiday weekend, can make all the difference.  But that’s a topic for another time…

Mark Lipsky is the President and CEO of The Radio Agency. Please follow The Radio Agency’s Blog “Sounding Board” by subscribing to the email or RSS links above. Visit our website