View Full Version : Radio ads - Do they work?

03-11-2013, 04:33 AM
For the past two years Sue from Graystone Haunted Manor and I have been doing local radio ads. Dick does the voicing, I do the editing, and we air then with radio station packages in her area Longview/Tyler/East Texas.

Is it worth it anymore? With the Internet radios like iheartradio, pandora, etc, I find it almost counter productive to spend huge wads of cash on radio ads that won't even really be heard by our target audience anymore, since the twenty-thirty somethings are now more plugged into the Internet than ever, I have a hard time believing that it's worth our money anymore.

I'd almost rather spend that same amount of money on billboards along a major highway...

Sue I'm sure will be watching this post, and I hope someone can give us some insight.



03-11-2013, 05:23 AM
I know that I was in a class and one of the very well known haunts was talking about they had a issue getting there radio adds in this last year, so they ended up doing none at all. He commented that it did not hurt them at all. Now they are a haunt that is well known in their area but they still saw no drop in attendance.


03-11-2013, 06:21 AM

I'm curious to know what haunt that was? You can pm if you prefer.


03-11-2013, 08:46 AM
I am half a sleep still but I think it was Randy Bates from Bates Hotel. Dont quote me on that there were 4 speekers there, but I think I am right. I am a coach for high school football and none of the kids listen to radio anymore and my son is in college and they dont either. Social media is where it is at right now, and most big haunts are moving away from doing a lot of radio and TV. Last year was a good time to test this, because ad space was very expensive due to the election buying up all the air time and raising the price.


03-12-2013, 05:12 PM
We are in rural USA. I put up a banner with our URL, and got no traffic. Why I wondered? Seems no one in this part of the country can afford Internet connections! But they can afford the $10 for a ticket at the haunt, and another $15 for a t-shirt!

We are going to place a radio ad with the local station that everyone seems to listen to. And we are going to have more banners on teh highway. As well as our online presence (we are on several sponsors pages, the local paper runs an article on us, and we appear in the online version of the local rag). We also have newspaper ads.

If I was in metro USA, I would be all over online media and nothing on radio, but it is so dang cheap here I cant afford no tto ($10 for 60s - yeah you read that right, $10 for 60 seconds).

03-12-2013, 08:22 PM
Well in lieu of radio we are considering billboards.... I just don't see it panning out regarding old fashioned radio anymore...

03-13-2013, 04:11 PM
If you are looking at billboards I have a guy that can print a 14' x 48' for about $500 if you get like 6 to 10 of them.


03-17-2013, 08:35 AM
it was brett hays from fear fair that dropped his radio

freak 'n' stein
03-17-2013, 10:27 PM
Just weighing in. We did clear channel this past season and I wouldn't say it helped. I'm not a fan of billboards either, as we did that the year before this. Billboards are twofold in my opinion. We did split...standard billboards and the new digital. I'm NOT a fan of digital cause you have to share with some 5 other guys, so you have a smaller percentage of views rather than 100%. Standard billboards don't HURT...but my PERSONAL preference is mehhhhh. In terms of RADIO. I only listen to regular radio when a) don't have my aux in the car or am tired of my mix..b) I'm just gonna be in my car for a minute so radio is quicker...c) listening to morning shows. Other than that I'm streaming radio. GRANTED you can advertise on services like Pandora...but still. I HONESTLY heard our radio ad 2 times last haunt season and I INTENTLY listened. We just got our bill the other week and it had the list of every spot they played. Missed 98% of them. Any marketing is good marketing though, so if you can afford it, do ettttt.

03-18-2013, 02:06 PM
Thanks It was Bret, Those late nights turn your brain to mush. Glad someone else could think of it. Billboards work if you don't have to pay to much for add space, but here in Detroit they are costly. I do like the small local paper because if you drop some advertising on them the will give you a write up in most cases.


Damien Warwick
03-27-2013, 02:34 PM
and now I'm going to provide a totally contrary opinion to everyone else lol The past two years, the haunt I am affiliated with has been doing radio ads the past two years, and its actually been our most successful form of advertising. Couple the ads with an on-location broadcast and a few sets of free tickets, and it's actually been rather cost effective in our circumstance!

03-27-2013, 06:45 PM
we did a billboard last year we had around 3,000 people go through are haunt which is good for a first year haunt out of the 3,000 people 3 told us they scene the billboard which is on a state route rd and also 10 min from us everyone had to pass it to get to us im spending my money on post cards we had 3,000 people come from that and facebook. Most places dont like a flyer because its to big but the post card vista print has are perfect size for counter at bars and gas stations so on and so on

Damien Warwick
03-27-2013, 07:00 PM
we did a billboard last year we had around 3,000 people go through are haunt which is good for a first year haunt out of the 3,000 people 3 told us they scene the billboard which is on a state route rd and also 10 min from us everyone had to pass it to get to us im spending my money on post cards we had 3,000 people come from that and facebook. Most places dont like a flyer because its to big but the post card vista print has are perfect size for counter at bars and gas stations so on and so on

Thats actually a pretty good idea, whats Vista Print charge you?

Jim Warfield
03-27-2013, 09:21 PM
and I quickly became bored getting the bill for it! was $275 a month on a contract for a whole year too much to pay? Ravens Grin is open every night of the year so I thought it would really pay it's way, but any extra business possibly generated via the "board" all seemed to about equal that $275 each month, and it seemed to give us nothing extra in October, which I assumed it would have being out there all year long to place us into their conscious and unconscious minds.
Two years ago we were on the front page and inside of The Chicago Tribune!... we couldn't tell if anybody ever saw it or read the article, but then I had to drive 30 miles (one-way) to find a single copy of a Trib. so newspapers are dead too.
Advertising has changed drastically over the last 26 years since I got this house, and has changed once again with all of the now common electronic "Toys" that almost everyone seems to now have.
Need good business? It's simple, really , just put on a really good, interesting Show!
Put your once beating rancid heart into it! Impress people and they will become patrons of your "art".
The gabfest sparked by inovation stimulates many minds to the point of bursting and gabbing without compunction to any and all who may listen. Testimonials are unbeatable advertising and usually can't be bought. I think most people can "read" this fact and do become trully impressed by a customers enthusiasm.

03-29-2013, 04:47 AM
[QUOTE=Damien Warwick;148453]Thats actually a pretty good idea, whats Vista Print charge you?[/QUOT E]

1,500 was a hundred dollars if you buy more its cheaper

03-29-2013, 05:23 AM
Besides the radio ads Damien mentioned for our haunt, we also have done the postcards, standard flyers, posters, newspaper ads, "In Costume" walk arounds at fairs, facebook, etc.

I would say in our 20 years of doing haunts of one kind or another radio has always been our biggest means of getting the word out, we generally advertise on most of the radio stations in the surrounding 80-100 mile radius - HOWEVER we did notice that last year after moving the event to a new location when we expected our numbers to drop for a year because of the move....they stayed the same. I honestly believe this was in part to Facebook - we created an event on facebook for our attraction, then begged and pleaded everyone to invite their friends...and their friends invite theirs, etc. Within two weeks of posting the event we had over 9000 invites for the event, and our page like shot way up.

I do think we are still going to use radio this year, but our budget will be less for it - we will be dumping money into ads for facebook, and more money into the surrounding local newspapers - especially the papers given away for free at restaurants and gas stations. We will also be creating all new postcards for the event - a set of 4 each with a different character from the haunt to hand out at all our local fairs and events.

One of the other ways we get word of mouth out is the news on television - for us finding a way to get in on the morning news broadcasts seem to work great, almost every year we get on the local news stations and we always get great feedback from it.

john haines
04-14-2013, 07:49 PM
I ran teen dances at community centers and ymca's for years. We'd spend about $1000 dollars for a bunch of 30 second and or 1 minute spots. It always worked for us. With teens, news travels fast. We had packed houses after 2 weeks of radio commercials. Then, the kids spread the word around school, and there you have it.
Just make sure you go with the right teen format radio stations. There are deals out there. Best of luck to you. I know what worked for me. This was a good move for our gig. After the initial buy, we didn't even need maintence spots to keep it going. Great initial investment with great returns. Go for it !!!!!

Jobu Danish
04-27-2013, 12:51 AM
It all kinda depends where your location is and the importance of radio to the community in which you advertising.

I think radio ads can be effective in a town where radio is more predominant and where there are fewer activities that compete with your haunted attraction, but in large city like LA there are so many stations, and so much competition for themed entertainment that it really doesn't go very far.

For us, we were in the Inland Empire ... an area just outside of Greater Los Angeles. We tried radio advertising and it didn't work out well for us at all. We ran a poll at the ticket booth to determine what advertisements worked best and not only did we get next to no patrons from the advertising, but we had also given different radio stations ticket packets to be distributed as prizes to their listeners and one of the stations was caught scalping those tickets in our parking lot!

We had a HUGE return on coupons distributed both through local coupon magazines and at a variety of stores that catered to our target audience (Hot Topic, Spencers, Halloween stores, etc.). We also had a great response from discount ticketing groups (groupon, goldstar, etc.) where you sell the tickets at half price, but can set a limit on the amount of the discount tickets that were sold. These were particularly great because we would pull visitors from audiences outside of our local market (i.e. people would travel from San Diego, or Northern parts of LA, who would normally not travel that far to visit our attraction, but because the tickets were such a great deal they would make the journey).

We also had great success with Television advertizements. The awesome thing about hooking up with a cable company is that they would pair you with your target demographic. We were able to pick the regions that we wanted the ads to run, the age of viewers we wanted to reach, and even the types of shows we wanted to be tied in with (i.e. sci fi channel, adult swim, etc.). Additionally, unlike radio which most people hear in their cars while traveling to and fro giving them time to forget about your ad by the time they reach their destination ... TV ads hit you at home where you can write the info down. We were pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive TV ads were and what a huge return we got in ticket sales from them.