Today FM does the maths on Google-themed ‘You Do the Maps’ promotion
The €200,000 cash giveaway was a collaboration between digital and broadcast media
Today FM presenters Dermot Whelan, Dave Moore, Matt Cooper, Louise Duffy, Neil Delamere and Anton Savage who took part in its Google Street View-themed promotion “You Do the Maps”.
For Today FM, it was designed to promote listening across its daytime schedule. For Google, it was a way to collaborate with a company that is both a competitor and a client. Now the radio station says it is so pleased with its Google Maps-themed competition You Do the Maps that it plans to repeat it.
The cash giveaway, which ran over 20 weekdays in June, received 200,000 entries, averaging at 10,000 people trying their luck per day.
“It is the biggest competition we have ever done,” says Today FM marketing manager Róisín Reilly, who is now hoping that the boost in audience engagement will have a knock-on effect on the station’s ratings.
With a cash prize of €10,000 each day, “it was never going to be a straightforward text and win” competition, Reilly says.
Instead, Today FM worked closely with Google to devise a game in which Today FM presenters gave out a series of clues over the course of the day, all of which led to a location on Google Maps’ Street View function where they would find a number – for example, one of the clues was a number on a pole on the promenade at Lahinch, Co Clare.
Five numbers from five clues over the course of the day added up to the correct answer, with the answer and the winner revealed on Matt Cooper’s show The Last Word.
“We did it all across Ireland and there were three of us working on clues the whole time. We road-tested quite a few of them ourselves,” says Reilly.
Then there was the “additional logistical difficulty” of promising to deliver the cheque on the same day, with the result that it had a “helicopter on standby” if the winners were located somewhere that couldn’t otherwise be reached.
Because the only way to get the clues was to listen to Today FM for a full day, entrants were often teams of people who shared the workload and split the cash.
Push-notification warnings that a clue was about to be given on air were added to the Today FM app, with the result that the station had an above- average 7,000 new app downloads during the competition period.
You Do the Maps was advertised on television as well as through a “normal commercial agreement” between Google and Today FM on search ads and YouTube video ads.
“The key to it was that Today FM wasn’t trying to manipulate Maps in any way,” says Google country manager Cera Ward. The tech giant often receives requests from companies for it to place “logos” or “arrows” on the Maps interface.
“Because it’s a free tool, we don’t allow it to be used like that,” says Ward. “It would look very commercial – it would look awful.”
But as Today FM planned to use Street View “as it stands right now”, Google was more than happy to give them guidance. “They weren’t just trying to throw money at us, it was about ‘How do we make this work?’,” says Ward, who describes the competition as an example of “the digital and broadcast media coming together to see how an integrated campaign can work”.
It can take a while for the benefit of promotions such as this to show up in the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) ratings - if it does at all - but Reilly says there is anecdotal evidence on social media that the competition prompted players to listen to parts of its daytime schedule for the first time. The question now is, will they hang around?