Before long - too soon for some of us, not soon enough for others - kids of all ages will be heading back to school.
Drivers will need to be reminded to be extra careful when travelling through residential neighboorhoods, and to slow down in specially marked school zones.
Young children will need to be reminded to pay attention to their surroundings; to look both ways before crossing a street; to travel in groups for extra safety.
Moms and dads will warn their children not to talk with strangers, and never to accept a ride from a stranger.
Dads and moms will discuss with their children the importance of choosing their friends carefully, impressing upon them the nature of peer pressure and why they should avoid detrimental associations.
Doctors will urge parents to have their children's vision and hearing tested, because a problem in either area can affect the student's ability to learn in the classroom. They'll also talk about the importance of keeping vaccinations current, and maybe even stress the importance of certain behaviors, such as frequent and thorough hand-washing, to avoid spreading bacteria or viruses.
Kids who ride their bikes to school will be reminded to wear helmets, to take extra precautions when crossing railroad tracks or busy intersections, or when biking on wet pavement.
These are just a few examples of the many issues that parents, children, teachers, and administrators address at the beginning of the school year.
And because these issues are so relevant to so many families in your neighborhood and city, they provide the basis for an engaging advertising campaign for local businesses, perhaps especially real estate agents and agencies.
Your clients, past, present, and future, are parents of school-aged children. By associating yourself with a timely and highly engaging public service campaign such as Back-to-School Safety, you position yourself as a concerned and caring member of your community.
Moms and dads tend to remember things like that. They care about their children. And they're grateful that YOU care, too.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? First, talk to your local radio station. Ask for someone in the advertising sales department. Ask the charming sales rep to give you a price for running a daily schedule of :30-second safety messages to run during the first two or three weeks of the school year.
Buy as much repetition as you can afford.
INSIDER TIP #1: Early-week schedules (i.e., commercials running Monday through Thursday) are preferable because generally there are fewer commercials running on those days, versus Fridays and Saturdays, when the big box stores run blitzes for their weekend sales.
Note: Daily listening habits remain pretty much the same from one weekday to the next. So, you're reaching the same number of listeners earlier in the week as you would later in the week; but your commercials will face less competition from others for the listeners' attention.
INSIDER TIP #2: Some stations charge less for Monday-Thursday flights than they do for Monday-Saturday.
iNSIDER TIP #3: Ask if the station would be willing to "co-op" you, i.e., put their name on the message along with yours. Absolutely no harm in letting the station ride on your idea, especially if it results in more commercials for less money. (As a variant of this, some stations will also match paid commercials they deem to be in the public interest with a like amount of airtime at no additional charge.)
I know whereof I speak.
For years, radio stations have used my company's "Back to School Safety Campaign" (pre-produced radio spots with room at the end for a sponsor tag or adjacency) to help raise community awareness of these important issues and at the same time, give their sponsors a higher profile in the public consciousness.
It's called Top of Mind Awareness. Its building blocks are relevance, resonance, and repetition, based on the power of the spoken word.
And it happens to be something at which radio excels over any other advertising medium because of its ubiquitousness, intrusiveness, affordability, and the way it talks to people where they are. i've seen it over and over and over again, for nearly 40 years now.
Talk to your local station about the possibilities. Seriously, what have you got to lose?
More to the point, think of what you have to gain!