Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Print ads I was asked to create for KWLS US 107.9 Real.American.Country.

Last week my old classmate, Amy, asked me if I could work on a project with her to create some moving billboard and print ads for the new radio station where she works. She knows I've been unemployed and we had worked together on our class reunion this summer. Recently when she was consulting at another business, I saw some print ads for it that totally horrified me. Everything I learned about what makes up good print ads in my marketing and advertising classes, was missing. I went over the ad (she didn't create or place it, it was before she started consulting there) with her. Told her all the many things that were wrong with it. Gave suggestions for a replacement ad.

So when her new station needed some ad copy for a campaign they are beginning, she asked me to help. While I'm not a graphic designer, I am a geek, have a good eye, and marketing training and background. Plus this station plays primarily traditional country music (i.e. Country and Western to those of us who grew up with it). But they have a syndicated show that plays newer country too. The cool thing is they are the only FM station in the Wichita Metropolitan area playing the classic country. They also play a variety of bluegrass, honky-tonk, and other sub-genres that I'm not really sure I've ever heard of referred to as a genre before.

Having been forced fed "Hee Haw", "The Grand Ole Opry", and "The Porter Wagoner" show from a very small child, I know quite a bit about "Classic Country". I've even grown to appreciate and reminisce when I hear old Country & Western. Quite a few songs they play remind me of my late Aunt Cheryl, who had Down's Syndrome and only ever had the intellectual capabilities of a three to five year old. She couldn't speak, read or write either. But she certainly had no problem curating a huge collection of old 45's and 33's recordings. She later moved to cassette tapes. I remember setting on the floor of her bedroom in Liberal for hours as a child listening to her play song after song for hours. She would always amaze me that I could ask her for any song and she went right to it in it's huge stack (amongst several other huge stacks) of 45's approximately 3 feet high. At first I thought she had them alphabetized or categorized in some fashion. Then I noticed most of the labels were worn off with use. It was only as an adult, I finally snapped to the fact that she couldn't read even had they not been worn off. To this day I have no idea how she knew where each and every record was that she played. So Country music has become a big part of who I am. Although, I can't think of a music genre that I don't appreciate. I truly love music.

As I grew up I remember the change over from classic country and western to the country music and artists that are popular today. Things started changing around the time "Rhinestone Cowboy" came out in 1975, sang by Glenn Campbell. In 1980, John Travolta starred in the pivotal movie "Urban Cowboy". Then 1981 saw the song "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" sung by Barbara Mandrell. That six year period seemed to me to be the end of Country and Western as many knew it. What came after were many wannabe Cowboy's and music that went along with the new Country craze and popularity. Many C&W aficionados had/have nothing but disdain for the "new Country". So I tried to separate marketing techniques for the new Country artist and make this totally separate, solely focused on Country & Western fans, not "new Country." With all of this in mind, last Friday, I downloaded a new graphic editing software Gimp. Found a blog that explained how to make photo collages with it. Thank you very much Erin of Life On Spin Cycle blog. With the recent death of Little Jimmy Dickens a couple weeks before, I came up with the concept and the initial ad. Frank at the station loved it. Gentle Ben and Amy helped with the wording and which performers we should put on the new ads. My thought was to have all the same feel and look, but have different artists that would appeal to different age demographics and musical tastes.

My main concern was that the artists used were readily visually identifiable by their photographs. I also wanted to keep the same theme, not necessarily the same wording or images, but that the styles and visuals would be consistent. Since three ads were going to be on a moving billboard, I insisted we keep the word count down so that folks could actually get the message in the short time they will be exposed to it.

Here's what we came up with. Let me know what you think.

Please note, I am still looking for a new career. Would love to find something that I love.  My preferred positions have people, planning (i.e. event planning, travel planning, etc.), and technology included.  I also enjoy most things to do with marketing.  If you would like to know more, please visit my LinkedIn profile the sooner the better!

Donna Robb
Inspired Acts with people, planning and technology.

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