Updated: Dec 9, 2020
It pains me to admit that Radio advertising has its place in every Marketing Strategy in Trinidad and Tobago. With the lockdown restrictions being lifted, the return of traffic becomes part of the morning routine. The voices of Radio hosts echo through our homes as well as many businesses with foot traffic.
Tunein.com, which allows you to play live audio online, has over 120,000 radio stations. 29 are from Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately, I cannot access their listenership data. However, Google Trends has listed Slam 100.5fm as the most popular topic from Trinidad and Tobago visitors. Audio as a form of entertainment is here to stay.
One day while caught in traffic and passively listening to ads, I heard a voice in a Trini accent lamenting on the argument of who has the best crab and dumpling: Trinidad or Tobago? This question took me by surprise because I wasn’t aware that this was a point of discussion during a pandemic. It also struck me as a lazy attempt from an international brand to be viewed in a local context.
I am not sure who created the campaign or who approved it, but if I could have a few minutes of your time, here is why I believe their radio ad was problematic:
The Sticky relationship between Trinidad and Tobago
Have you ever asked a Tobagonian taxi driver how he feels about Trinis? It’s a great way to gauge the true sentiment between the two islands. It’s similar to the dynamic of a stepchild who wants to be loved but isn’t sure how to show it.
Their indignation, which is fueled by politics, is juxtaposed by their reliance on tourism revenue from Trinidad. Any brand that doesn’t take the time to understand the nuance of this relationship does not deserve the airtime.
Your customer is not the same, and never will be
The frivolous nature of liming every Friday is marred by COVID-19. Our conversations have shifted to job security, what Trump said on Twitter and discussions around Carnival 2022. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but the thought of a significant number of people discussing a Cook-Off for the best Crab and Dumpling seems unlikely.
An opportunity for Social Marketing
It’s time for companies to stop being lazy and use their marketing budget to benefit their consumers. I’m not talking about incentives to purchase a product, but to create a campaign that drives change with purpose. Your team needs to do the work and learn about the customer to understand their interests and align your findings with the brand’s voice.
Although Facebook has a negative image, its core product allows businesses to do what’s best for the customer. Companies, with a moral compass, can use their data to influence advertising campaigns that speak directly to the present customer.