Marketing to a captive audience

Marketing to a captive audience

Our Insight Director Mark James knows his stuff when it comes to radio advertising. Over the course of his career he reckons he’s tested the effectiveness of more than 600 radio ads. When presented with the opportunity to use this experience to help enhance the lives of others, he didn’t let it get away.

While attending The Radio Festival in Manchester Mark ran into Phil Maguire, Chief Executive of the Prison Radio Association (PRA) and they got to talking. Mark recalled seeing a presentation by a young prisoner who explained that, through prison radio, he had taken huge steps towards self-improvement and hope for the future. Inspired by the work of the PRA, and faced with its Chief Executive, Mark enthusiastically offered his services and insight.

The radio station run by the PRA, National Prison Radio, provides prisoners with the information they need to make the most of the opportunities available to them, both in prison to address the causes of their offending behaviour, and after release to ensure they live a law-abiding life. As part of the essential service that they provide, National Prison Radio is running a campaign to advise prisoners how to get the most out of work programs and other benefits once they leave prison.

A joint DWP and MoJ initiative the campaign aims not only to raise prisoners’ awareness but also to advise them of how to apply early to make sure they aren’t left without when they are released. It will also show that there are paths to employment after prison life.

We have undertaken the task of monitoring the effectiveness of the campaign through research. By surveying prisoners before and after the campaign, our methodology will track the effectiveness of the campaign over time and reveal how effectively it raises the awareness of these vital services among the prisoners.

At the moment, most prisoners get referred to these essential services after they leave prison. This can mean that they don’t see the full benefit of various resources. d.fferent outc•me will provide vital ‘call to action’ measures, monitoring the number of prisoners who chose to act on the advice of the campaign before they are released.

Most marketing teams want to get a measure of the success of their advertising, and those airing campaigns on prison radio are no different.

Mark is thrilled to be able to do his bit and contribute to the work of such a worthy cause.  It marks the first time he has been able to use his work for a charitable purpose. “I’ve done the occasional fun run, but this is the first in a professional capacity. Being a part of d.fferent you’re really actively encouraged to do this sort of thing. Whilst the main reason I’m keen to help is for a charitable cause, it’s also going to be fascinating to see how the results of a prison radio campaign compare to similar national and regional advertising campaigns I’ve tested outside of prison walls, and whether a literally ‘captive’ audience are more receptive to radio advertising messages.”

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