NPR Unveils First B2B Interactive Campaign

National Public Radio yesterday announced its first-ever business-to-business interactive marketing campaign. The goal is to bring the ad agency world up to speed about the sponsorship opportunities the brand now offers online, according to executives at the Washington D.C.-based organization.

“It’s something we’ve never done,” said Micah Greenberg, marketing manager. “So it’s certainly an effort to get our name out there. Overall, I think a lot of people know NPR as a news provider, mostly on the radio. This [campaign] is to let the agencies and the corporate community know that we are a very viable sponsorship platform, and that there are a number of platforms now.”

Blake Truitt, SVP, added that the campaign looks to reshape the perception that ad executives, media planners, media buyers, and client-side marketing executives may have about the 38-year-old brand. He explained that his organization is sometimes seen by decision-makers as a small, radio-only advertising medium.

“We want these people to know that we’re bigger, we’re cooler, we’re more technology-forward than they might think,” Truitt said. “There’s plenty of people, too, who, through our direct sales force efforts, are well-versed on NPR and what we offer. But it’s hard to get to everybody all of the time.”

To reach more decision-makers, the brand will run display ads on the Web and e-newsletter properties of a handful of trade publications during the next four weeks. The ads will appear in six different sizes, as the creative uses the slogan, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” and highlights statistics about the organization’s digital audience in a red-and-black design.

For instance, NPR launched its first iPhone application on Aug. 15 for podcasts, and the display ad copy points out that the app has already drawn more than a million downloads. Greenberg said that the campaign is also designed to attract advertisers that are interested in cross-platform packages involving both online and radio sponsorships.

The organization’s overall efforts to make its radio content available via the downloadable podcasts, he said, has not cannibalized its live daily audience. Greenberg contended the growing popularity of handheld devices that can play podcasts has helped NPR build a younger following.

“[Cannibalization] is the assumption that some people make,” he said. “But in fact, I am happy to say that it is far from true. All of our audiences have either been maintained or grown across platforms.”

Meanwhile, NPR appears set to do more in the interactive marketing realm. Danielle Deabler, senior manager of media relations, said that a consumer-focused online campaign is being planned for 2010.

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