Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on August 20th, 2008 at 12:05 pm
(Photo © J. Maus)
The Portland arm of media juggernaut Clear Channel is in the process of developing an educational series of messages that will help educate Oregonians about the benefits of biking to our communities and encourage more positive behavior on the roads.
The effort is being spearheaded by Janet Bain of Southwest Portland-based Clear Channel Radio. Clear Channel’s local radio stations (which also have active web presences) include K103fm, 1190KEX, KPOJ 620-AM, KQOL-105.9 and Z100.
I met with Bain last week to brainstorm about messaging ideas. During our meeting, I learned that she specializes in educational marketing programs and won an award for a recent campaign to increase the amount of free breakfasts served in Portland Public Schools by partnering with food vendors to help underwrite the program.
Bain’s heart is clearly in this effort and she is a believer that radio PSAs can have a positive impact. She said, “I love how radio can motivate people to take action,” and she’s had the results to prove it.
Currently, Bain is working to line up financial support from corporate partners and local businesses who are interested in reaching the nearly 750,000 people Clear Channel’s radio stations reach on a weekly basis.
Here’s a brief description (by Bain) of the current direction this campaign:
“With a target day of Spring 2009, supporters of the biking community, local business leaders and Clear Channel Radio will embark on an educational campaign that will educate the public about the positive benefits that biking has on our community, not only as a source of recreation for individuals and families, but as a way of moving safely throughout the city.”
I suggested that we avoid telling anyone how they should act and instead focus on educating people about the benefits of biking. My advice to Bain was to try and educate the community that bikes are a solution, not a problem. So far we’ve focused on the concept that “Bikes are Good for Our Community” and that they are an efficient (as in they can help relieve congestion), economical (they cause less wear and tear on our transportation system, etc…), and healthy way to get around.
Another idea we both liked was a message that says something like, “We all make mistakes, don’t let it turn into a tragedy”. I came up with that to try and capture the emotional instances that sometimes lead us to make bad decisions on the road.
Bain is excited about the potential of this campaign and she’s keeping an open mind both about refining the messages and about where funding partnerships might be found.
This effort could be an excellent opportunity for important messages about bikes and road behavior to reach a key demographic (people driving in their cars).
I’ll keep you posted as things move forward, and feel free to share your ideas. Bain says the campaign should be narrowed down to 3-4 key messages.
Also, if you’re a local business owner or if you have ideas on corporate partners who would like to help underwrite this campaign, contact Janet Bain at Clear Channel Radio in Portland, (503) 323-6586 or janetbain [at] clearchannel [dot] com.
[Editor’s Note: Please understand that we are asking for your input and all the ideas above are just ideas at this point. No final decisions about messaging have been made. Let’s see if we can come up with some great messages to suggest to Ms. Bain.]