Perhaps remembering how popular that monkey character was when it appeared in telly ads for ITV Digital back in the day (but possibly forgetting how the ITV Digital venture went under), Digital Radio UK, the only slightly useless body set up to promote digital radio, has launched a new campaign with a quirky little character all of its own, a 1970′s style puppet soul singer called D Love. I kid thee not.
The new character will appear in ads on both BBC and commercial TV from later this month in the latest attempt to persuade the British public to switch their radio listening from the FM network over to digital services, and in particular the digital audio broadcasting platform.
According to The Guardian, the boss of Digital Radio UK, Ford Ennals, admitted at a conference in London yesterday that past digital radio marketing efforts had been a little “below the radar”, but said he thought the new campaign involving D Love would “break through”.
As previously reported, the radio industry is somewhat divided on the merits of DAB, with some smaller operators regularly dissing the platform and the drive to ultimately move most mainstream radio services off FM. Although the government in theory supports a relatively speedy move from FM to DAB, slower-than-hoped uptake of digital services makes previous targets for that switchover look unachievable. Ministers are now holding off until this time next year to make a decision on timescales.
Of course uncertainty about switchover arguably slows down any shift of listening from FM to DAB, not least because in-car listening is so key, and car makers are hesitant of fitting more expensive DAB radios into vehicles while the future of the digital platform is not fully assured. Though Ennals insisted yesterday that digital radio now had a “momentum” that just wasn’t there two years ago.
Whether D Love will help maintain that momentum remains to be seen.