NAB Strikes Back at Satellite Radio

NEW YORK The National Association of Broadcasters today broke a series of radio spots that takes direct aim at satellite radio providers. The campaign will air over the coming weeks, also known as the holiday shopping season.

“We really want to get at them at Christmas time,” said Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi, the New York agency that created the ads. The objective is to discourage shoppers who might buy XM or Sirius systems as holiday gifts by stressing that, as the spots say, “Some things were just meant to be free.”

In each of seven spots, a radio announcer begins with a bit of traffic, sports or entertainment news, only to be cut off during a crucial moment by an operator requesting, “Please deposit 25 cents for the next three minutes.” A voiceover then explains that some things should be free and follows with the tagline, “Radio, you can’t put a price on it. Brought to you by America’s 13,000 local radio stations.”

Previous ads that broke in January spotlighted radio’s place as an outlet for up-and-coming recording artists that went on to be come pop music stars. Some two-dozen performers sang the medium’s praises during that campaign, tagged “You hear it here first.”

“We saw the incredible impact that the first wave of commercials created among young listeners, and now it’s time that radio directed its attention at its competitors,” Verdi said in a statement. “The industry’s been hammered the past two years by satellite radio, and now it’s time to hit them for charging for something that’s always been free.”

The marketing effort is the largest in the broadcast radio industry’s history. To date, more than $40 million in airtime has been allocated to the NAB campaign.