Case Studies

Opportunistic PR Helps the 'Little Guy' Dominate a Big-Brand World

Edge Communications' relationship with Bid4Spots began at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, Calif. in June 2005, as two family friends reconnected at the high school graduation ceremony for their kids. Radio advertising pioneer Dave Newmark was about to launch a new online marketplace for buying and selling last-minute, or "remnant," radio airtime. The twist - it was the industry's first reverse auction.

The new company, Bid4Spots, faced some formidable communications challenges:

  • Several companies tried - and failed - with a forward auction model in the past.
  • Remnant inventory itself has its own perception problems - stations don't like to admit it exists, and advertisers are accustomed to remnant sales models that leave them in the dark (literally, banishing their ads to the wee hours).

But Bid4Spots proved to be a win-win. Edge helped launch the company in September 2005, and maintained visibility for both Newmark and Bid4Spots with a consistent stream of milestone announcements and an active thought- leadership campaign.

In January 2006, Google entered the market by acquiring one of Bid4Spots' competitors. But rather than being intimidated by such a daunting new rival, Edge rode the coattails of Google's high profile to further establish Newmark as an expert with an insider's point of view, and Bid4Spots as a superior solution.

Bid4Spots' visibility played a significant role in its steady growth. Newmark adapted his model for Internet radio and for the UK - embracing three distinct marketplaces.

Soon eBay took notice, and chose Bid4Spots to power its Media Marketplace for Radio. This marked a significant validation of Bid4Spots' reputation within the industry, and a direct result of some guerilla PR tactics employed by Edge - 11th hour negotiations with an important editor, and a last-minute invitation to participate in a key industry panel where the eBay/Bid4Spots relationship began.

The Bid4Spots marketplace for terrestrial radio is now the largest radio advertising network in the country, and this small company continues to outperform Google. This is a classic example of how a PR campaign can combine the proactive (a steady stream of company news and trend commentary) with opportunistic reactive strategies (being quick on the trigger to make a client part of an existing, ongoing story) - to help fuel business growth.