They came from all over the Northwest in search of the "Real Radio Renegade"
I knew that I had a limited amount of time to get back home, drop my laptop off, grab the camera and whizz off to a shoot, when a woman dressed in smart business attire stood directly in my path and quite randomly barked ” Are you the Real Radio Renegade?” I stood there for a moment in stunned silence before I replied “Er, No. Sorry” and the disappointed female vanished as quickly as she had appeared. Startled yet intrigued I made off towards home.
With less that ten paces taken, another random woman approached me with a phone glued to her ear and, as she rotated the mouthpiece away from her, she too asked if I was indeed the Real Radio Renegade. After dispatching the second, not so smartly dressed woman on her disappointed way, I felt an insatiable urge to uncover what was behind these odd goings on.
Before I even had a chance to lift my Blackberry from my pocket, a short, stocky, shaven headed gentleman, with a finger pressed to his bluetooth headset CIA style, stopped and asked in a strong Salford accent “Eh mate, you ver Real Radio Renegade?” As his tattooed hand gripped my left arm I began feeling a little threatened and nervous at the prospect of offering the bad news “Er sorry sir, I’m not the man you are looking for”
Now I was on my guard, I was aware of just how many people were on King Street, mobile phones welded to ears, sprinting across the street questioning everyone that wasn’t on the phone. Another avid radio fan put his hand infront of me, I thought I was about to be arrested, but as soon as he started with ” hi are you the Real…..” No, I’m not, sorry” flew right out of my mouth and I realised I had become quite adept at turning people away in disappointment. I must try my new found response skill on my credit card company!
My phone was quickly to my ear and, with urgent steps, miraculously the strangers stopped coming, giving me a blissfully interuption free window to escape home. As I pushed the key into the door I could hear renegade identity requests echoing from the roadside, as locals at the Cross Keys pub, enjoying a trouble free pint, were quizzed on their status.
As the door shut behind me, I tore my laptop from its case, flipped open the machine and before the thing had fully flickered into life i was tapping away at the well worn keyboard. I finally discovered that it was former radio station Century Radio’s new cash incentivised competition “The Real Radio Renegade” A very simple yet effective concept involving a few initial cryptic clues, followed by an oddly muffled voice, giving some vague ideas about his or her location. This is backed up by photo messages of locations for the presenters to describe on air. Simple and effective.
Although somewhat irritating, being asked the same annoying question over and over again without as much as a thank you from those asking, it’s worth bearing in mind that it is a very clever and well researched plan. Let’s look at the bigger picture here, it represents a unique and hightly penetrative marketing excersise. It is impossible for any company to get hundreds of people to broadcast its brand clearly to complete strangers over and over, all day, for free.
Gorilla marketing has always proven to drive deep brand awareness at the lowest possible cost. The “Renegade” concept delivers exactly what the radio station wants, converting non listeners to listeners or potential listeners. Later in the evening I frequently overheard discussions on the competition, it was clear that real radio had arrived in force in Knutsford.
It was quite refreshing to see the results from the early evenings broadcast and by the time I was able to reach the car I had been asked if I was the Real Radio Renegade more than thirty times, just do the numbers.