Stop Saying Wango Tango

29 Jun

I’m so tired of cutsy names for things. It may satisfy advertisers who want the name to stick in your head, but it doesn’t help me want to use your product. But does Madison Avenue know better than me?

The name for my advertising pain is “Wango Tango.” This was a music festival out in Carson, California–southeast of Los Angeles–and put on by my frequent post creator, iHeartRadio. I listen to multiple podcasts, two of which are broadcast on their radio stations. Unfortunately, because they sell ad space on their streaming service separately from the broadcast stations, most advertisers don’t want to spend the extra money for a small audience. Which leaves less ads to broadcast for many slots.

So this means I get to listen to iHeartRadio trying to fill space by advertising true crime podcasts on their network and “This Week in Music” history slots. But they also advertise their events, including Wango Tango – except this is advertising the event after it occurred. They’re encouraging you to listen to the music played at Wango Tango on their stations. But who really cared about the music festival in the first place?!

Although they’re playing ads to me, they’re really not for me–I don’t go to music festivals–because I have a type of ADHD that makes large group events and loud music very painful to me. I avoid most concerts from the same reason. I have to think that maybe their audience–those in the precious 16-28 year old demographic who go to music festivals–get their ear ticked up a bit for a goofy sounding festival. After all, it’s not alone: Lollipalooza, Lilith Fair, Fire Island, Coachella (they didn’t make up that name – that’s an actual place).

In a way, they’re simply preaching to the converted – because as Toby on the West Wing once said, “That’s how you make them sing.” iHeart owns 855 radio stations and have a hundred online-only music streams. Somebody has to listen to them, and if this ad comes on, and you’re thinking, “Gee, I’d love to see Helen Shapiro live,” then yeah… mission accomplished. But if they’re already listening to the iHeartRadio app, then why bother advertising that you can hear Shapiro on Hot Mix 96?

I’m betting they’re competing with Spotify and Pandora–so the pitch would be this: If you’re already listening to the Morning Show ™ on the app, why not keep listening for your music on Hot Mix 96? So again, good approach for Mad Ave, but poor execution. I’m not your audience – get better algorithms for your advertisements. Of course, there’s probably not a lot of ads they need to sell for the white 40’s male audience who listens to news and sports talk radio… but trust me, I’ve heard them all.

Have you got a better example of poorly targeted advertising? Let me know in the comments below!

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