Jerry Lee puts his money where his mouth is


If you heard Jerry Lee speak Friday in Charlotte, you heard him talking about giving guarantees to advertisers to prove the value of radio. Well, he’s not just talking, he’s doing.

Lee is pictured here (center) when he received the NAB National Radio Award from NAB President & CEO David Rehr and NAB Joint Board Chair Jack Sandler of Belo. But while he already has quite a lifetime of achievement in radio, Lee has big ideas for the future. He challenged the gathering with four proposals to move radio forward. Lee is already trying to implement them in Philadelphia, where he owns WBEB-FM, to prove that they work. He told RBR that he has met with the advertising decision maker for the Ford dealers in the Philadelphia area with a proposal to prove that radio can move cars – with a money-back guarantee. The plan is to have Ford commit to an additional five million in radio ad spending in Philly in 2008 (up from only 800K this year), with delayed billing and payment only due if the campaign works. Arbitron will be surveying its Philadelphia PPM panelists next month to establish the baseline of P1s who have bought new cars this year. Philadelphia Ford sales would also be judged against a couple of control markets with similar characteristics, so the effectiveness of the radio advertising can be separated from other factors.

First, though, the Ford ads will have to pass muster with the ad testing being done by WBEB and virtually no one else in radio. Put good ads on the air, Jerry Lee says, and he has no worries about offering Ford the money-back guarantee. Beasley is already onboard and Lee says he has not been told no yet by any other Philly broadcasters. This is just the start. He wants to do the same thing with about 15 other advertisers in 15 other ad categories to prove the effectiveness of properly done radio advertising.
If you weren’t in Charlotte or couldn’t take notes fast enough on the back of your menu, here is a key excerpt from what Jerry Lee had to say: "We need to take charge of our own destiny.

We need to do 4 things and if we do them right, our future will be very bright.

1. Test our Radio Commercials…TV does, we don’t.
2. Guarantee Audience delivery in PPM market…TV does, we don’t.
3. Sell the results of the Radio Ad Lab studies that show that Radio has a 49% better ROI than TV and that when you ad Radio to Newspaper, you triple the effectiveness of the campaign.
4. Take a risk and offer a money back guarantee to a few National Advertisers to demonstrate just how cost effective Radio is.

I know that point 4 is bold. But we must do bold things if we want to jump start the Radio Industry."
Jerry Lee, owner, WBEB-FM Philadelphia