Tony Thomas on new smoothfm and Sam Smith collaboration
smoothfm has signalled a brand overhaul in a new marketing campaign which sees Michael Bublé replaced by English singer-songwriter Sam Smith as the new face of the station.
While retaining their MO as “your easy place to relax”, Nova Entertainment’s chief marketing and digital officer Tony Thomas told Radio Today that choosing a contemporary artist such as Smith represents the next phase for the station.
“For us, the brand is the sum of the past. Now, the elements within that brand can skew slightly younger or slightly older, but overall we’re looking for a really fresh image that you can buy into if you’re 25+ looking for a break in the day, or you can buy into it if you’re 65,” he explained.
“We’ve obviously needed to find exactly the right artist to fill the shoes of Michael Bublé since we used him to launch the station. For us, breadth of music is important. Being a contemporary artist as well is really good for the brand image. So, it’s not seen as an oldies’ station, it’s actually a contemporary station.”
The marketing campaign is lead by a new TVC created by Ted Horton’s Big Red, the agency behind the award-winning advertisement which featured Bublé in 2012.
Echoing their past campaigns, the new video sees a woman in a hotel unable to relax due to the noise coming from the next room. When she goes over to complain, Sam Smith answers the door to reveal a party, the revellers singing along to his hit Baby, You Drive Me Crazy. After asking him to turn it down, she returns to her room and listens to smoothfm. The punch line? She’s unwinding to another of Smith’s tracks, One Last Song.
Thomas added that the campaign needed an artist with “widely appealing music across broad demos’” and someone with “the right image for us”.
“Someone that isn’t afraid to take the piss out of themselves, which is what Michael Bublé did so successfully in the first one.”
As with previous campaigns featuring Bublé and Spandau Ballet, Thomas says the network is staying the course by using musicians over presenters to promote their brand.
“We do believe that a radio brand is the sum of many different parts. That’s music, presenters, their tone of voice or their humour or personality, whatever it may be.
“So for me, if it’s just presenters, I don’t think you’re necessarily investing in the overall brand, you’re more investing in the presenters. As we’ve seen from last year to this, presenters come and go. So, you’ve gotta do a job of then re-familiarising the public with new presenters if that’s where all your awareness sits.
“For us, ensuring that we deliver the right proposition – being a place that you can come to relax – is the fundamental thing that we’re trying to achieve, and do that through the lens of a fresh, contemporary image… Sam was perfect for us, he really does deliver that in spades.”