Travel Helped the Radio Star: Visit California & MMM Radio Integration

By forging a strong relationship with a radio broadcaster, Gate 7’s Visit California team was able to weave state-wide California messaging into the fabric of a planned Triple M broadcast, secure critical media placements, and expand their consumer database by more than 3,000 new names. A low buy-in cost, thanks to leveraging existing trade relationships, helped this broadcast integration deliver a whopping 34:1 ROI.

Background and Challenge

Planning had begun for Triple M Melbourne’s Hot Breakfast Show to make a trip to the USA to broadcast SuperBowl LIII and the show’s production team was on the hunt for potential destination support. Gate 7’s Visit California team immediately identified a plum opportunity to create a simple, yet effective broadcast integration campaign in exchange for requested support from the DMO.

Triple M Melbourne is one of several regional stations that make up a national network which primarily targets men and draws approximately 310,000 listeners a week. Triple M’s Hot Breakfast show, featuring well-known media personality Eddie McGuire, comedian Wil Anderson, and former AFL player Luke Darcy, is one of the most popular breakfast radio shows in the Melbourne commercial market, claiming the number one ratings spot for men in the city during its timeslot.

With just two months of planning before the big event, the integration was a fantastic opportunity to bring the Golden State to life for a key target demographic. Gate 7’s Visit California team negotiated for the show to broadcast from Los Angeles for three days. During the broadcast, Californian destination messaging would be integrated into segments and a consumer competition would be promoted in through a unique mechanic that also amplified the station’s catch-up podcasts.

Strategy and Solution

Triple M focuses a sizeable portion of their nationwide programming to sport, comedy and news. With the show building to its coverage of the SuperBowl, Gate 7’s Visit California team built complementary messaging pillars around California’s sports teams, major events and accessibility of family holidays. Individual segments focused on the state’s ease for self-drive holidays, the geographic proximity of a breadth of diverse attractions and landscapes, referred to as “compact diversity”, and upcoming openings such as Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge exhibit and the Chase Centre in San Francisco.

Always looking for ways to highlight their DMO stakeholders and drive broad destination awareness for consumers, Visit California further enlisted Visit West Hollywood to organise hosting and broadcasting of the show from the Montrose West Hollywood.

The broadcast integration was negotiated to include at least 10 on-air segments across the three live broadcast days mentioning the key messaging covering the hosts’ experiences on-ground in West Hollywood and Los Angeles, including those organised specifically for the show. However, to highlight the full range of Californian destinations and experiences beyond Los Angeles (a critical requirement for partnering with the state-wide DMO), our Visit California PR team produced a range of talking points to help the hosts pivot to state-wide messaging during their banter.

As well as integrating Visit California messaging into the live broadcast, the partnership also included a consumer competition to drive travel desire and convert Triple M listeners, who were offered the chance to enter to win a family holiday for four to California, including flights and on-ground costs. In order to extend budgets and increase ROI, Visit California, Gate 7, and Triple M leveraged their long-standing relationships with Qantas who joined as a third trade partner and provided flights for the competition prize.

In order to highlight the radio station’s catch-up podcasts and increase listenership, the consumer competition was built around codewords which were embedded into each podcast following the live broadcast. Users then had to submit that codeword into a dedicated microsite to enter the competition. Entrants were also encouraged to opt into the Visit California consumer database, linked to the DMO’s e-newsletter. Following the end of live L.A. broadcasts in late-January, the consumer competition continued through the catch-up podcasts until February 4, with the competition winner drawn on February 11.

Visit California enjoyed additional amplification of their content through both the show and its presenters’ social media channels. Triple M Club also distributed a dedicated California EDM to its 30,000-strong consumer database, linking readers to Visit California’s trip inspiration content and Qantas’ fares.

Results and Learnings

After just three months from the campaign’s conceptualisation to conclusion, the live broadcast resulted in 19 on-air mentions of Visit California’s key messaging–nearly double the negotiated number–worth over US$117,000 in PR value. Combined with nearly an additional US$12,000 in social media coverage, and with a campaign contribution of less than US$4,000, Visit California received a PR value return on investment of 34:1, making this integration one of their most cost effective in-market.

Anecdotally, the competition was said to be the most-popular for Triple M’s Hot Breakfast to-date, and every entrant opted into Visit California’s consumer database, garnering 3,049 entries for their on-going e-news program, which itself saw an increase in open- and click-through rates following the addition of this new audience.