The Power of Longevity: What Your Station Can Learn from a Spud

Tater Tots, one of America’s favorite ways to eat a potato, just turned 60. And to celebrate, Ore Ida is rolling out a marketing campaign driven by insights that radio could also tap into.

Most notably, according to a recent New York Times article, the marketing campaign is tapping into “shoppers who seek authenticity in the products they buy in a belief that longevity means quality and value.”

When you define a category, there is strength in that dominance, but there also is risk as competitors and knockoffs try to undercut the original.

Last year, Ore Ida, whose parent company is H.J. Heinz, rolled out a successful campaign that called any frozen potato not a Tater Tot an “Imi-Tater”. The only thing missing from this effort was Larry the Cable Guy’s voice.

Promoting the strength of an iconic original is how dominant brands for decades have defended their turf. 50 years ago, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes launched a campaign, “Don’t be corn-fused! When you get cornflakes, get the real Corn Flakes. Get Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.”

Other common phrases include “Insist on the original”, “Often imitated, never duplicated” and “Accept no substitute.”

Demonstrating the power of the original brand is important, especially in the case of Tater Tots when generic brands can cost as much as 50% less than the original. In the case of radio, it could be emerging digital platforms that start out carrying almost no commercial inventory.

Because of increased competition and not wanting to miss an opportunity to tell its story, Ore-Ida is expected to spend $6 million dollars to promote the 60th anniversary of Tater Tots, up 30% from the year before.

People love a winner. After all, according to the Ore-Ida team, “people crave story value … and they ‘feel good’ that a decades-old product can ‘stand the test of time.'” Brands need to be confident, demonstrate a clear value proposition and authentically tell their story. Radio is no exception.

The Doctor Will See You Now 

In sharp contrast to the confidence exhibited by Tater Tots, a recent Wall Street Journal article highlights a myriad of difficult issues facing doctors today and the resulting crisis of confidence.

Between 1940 and 1970 the average doctor’s salary grew from $50,000 per year to almost $250,000. Currently, a general practitioner makes “$161,000 despite a near doubling of the number of patients that doctors see a day.”

More work for less money. Hardly a reality limited to medicine.

However, as the article astutely points out, “In the end, the problem is one of resilience. American doctors need an internal compass to navigate the changing landscape of our profession. For most doctors, this compass begins and ends with their patients.”

From reading this article, an interesting analogy can be drawn between doctors and radio.

Over the next few weeks, there will be no shortage of opinions about why the Radio Show needs to be in New York instead of Indy. Others will comment on the agenda or how the attendance compares to previous years.

Radio’s vibrancy and strength is based on the value proposition that we offer the audience. If we continue to innovate and  provide strong content that is compelling and easily accessible, people will keep turning to us first and advertisers will pay us a premium to reach this audience.

Although digital ad inventory is expanding exponentially, the mental bandwidth and attention span of consumers is not. That means the strength of the relationship radio has with the audience and our ability to capture their attention is increasingly valuable.

For more information on how you can fully engage and  leverage your station’s value proposition, please contact Andrew Curran, President and COO at DMR/Interactive.


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