Clear Channel Radio Launches Ad Facilitator

Clear Channel Radio is rolling out a new proprietary ad insertion system that allows advertisers to more precisely place ads against programming content or other ads. Three advertisers, Visa, Geico and Wal-Mart, have tested the system, which works much like Internet ad insertion systems.

While the practice of placing advertising against content isn’t new, the system that Clear Channel created shortens the lead-time for the advertiser and provides for more precise customization.

“We could do this manually, but this allows us to price a campaign in moments, get the campaign on the air in days, rather than weeks and minimize the risk of errors,” said Jeff Howard, president of Clear Channel Radio Sales. “We want to make radio easier to buy. Purchasing radio has been very clunky in the past.”

For Geico, Horizon Media placed ads next to ads for automakers and auto dealers. Also factored into the placement were precise daypart requirements to run 15 minutes past the hour during morning drive to emphasize the ad’s message: “Since it’s now 15 after the hour, there’s no better time than now to spend the next 15 minutes saving 15 percent with Geico.”

“The ability place ads in context within a live broadcast significantly increased the value of this Geico campaign,” said Lauren Russo, senior vp and managing director for local audio and promotions for Horizon.

To support Wal-Mart’s retail sales contract for AC/DC’s Black Ice album released in the fall, MediaVest and Clear Channel devised a schedule where the album ad ran immediately following airplay of an AC/DC song. The campaign ran in 91 markets. As a result of the campaign, Wal-Mart moved 784,000 copies of the album during the first week of sale, the second-largest debut week for a new album to date in 2009, per Billboard, owned by Mediaweek parent e5 Global Media.

OMD placed Visa ads next to ads for other retail venues where people might not think to use their Visa card. The Visa ads were paired with more than 25,000 merchant messages in more than 120 markets. Visa’s network experienced a 10 percent rise in volume compared to the same period the previous year.