Forums » Friday Polls

Friday Poll: Ever Run a "Fake" Ad Campaign?

    • 1008 posts
    January 11, 2018 10:53 AM PST

    Saw a post by Mike Smith in one of the radio groups I follow on Facebook. He was wondering if anyone had ever broadcast

    ...a "fake campaign" just as a kind of test case? Thinking again, about stations with certain quantities of time to fill.
    I know back in the 80s there were Hiney Wine commercials. Over the years, Freberg skits and the like. And at one point I think the state broadcaster's association did some fake political ads to gauge the effectiveness of radio ads. It was about a character you were supposed to vote for: "Jene with a J, Genkins with a G." But I can't even get that one to show up on multiple phrases of google searches.

    I recalled reading about such a campaign that ran in Cincinnati to demonstrate the effectiveness of radio. It was for a fake shopping center that was being built underground, Plummet Mall; by all accounts, the fake ad campaign created a major stir.

    Back in the mid-70's, when I was a salesperson at KAGE AM/FM in Winona, Minnesota, we purchased a syndicated comedy series called "From Studio B," created by comedy duo Alan Barzman and Pat McCormick. One of the promotional ideas that the syndicator had suggested was to create a teaser campaign for a month or two leading up to the first installment of the feature, in which the fictitious Studio B was being built at the radio station by a local contractor. I loved the idea and sold an exclusive sponsorship to a local lumberyard/building center, Kendall-O'Brien Lumber. At various times of the day our DJ's would ad-lib on the air about the progress being made on the new studio's construction, describing the activity while playing appropriate sound effects to create the illusion of demolition and construction. It was so effective a campaign that the City of Winona Building Inspector paid a visit to the radio station to find out why we were doing construction without having taken out a building permit. (Note to self: next time, sell a sponsorship to the city, too.) He was more than a little peeved to learn that the whole thing was an elaborate fabrication, but it sure demonstrated the power of radio and theater-of-the-mind.

    Has your radio station ever run a similar "fake advertising" campaign?  What was it, and how did it work?

    Please share your stories below.

    This post was edited by Rod Schwartz at January 11, 2018 10:55 AM PST
    • 4 posts
    January 12, 2018 11:56 AM PST with " fake news" running all over media outlets, do i really want to push a fake ad campaign.

    I would think the timing is not right.....


    • 1008 posts
    January 12, 2018 12:07 PM PST

    James - the difference is, the fake ad campaign doesn't hurt anybody. And (one would hope) it becomes obvious pretty quickly that the ads are for fun.


    • 84 posts
    January 14, 2018 7:53 PM PST

    I did one a few year ago for Everest Business Insurance. (I later got a certified letter from an attorney that let me know there was a REAL company with a similar name.... so we yanked that quick)

    HERE WAS MY CRAZY PLAN..... we ran an ad that was designed to appeal to a business that want to grow sales! (ad below) The business owner goes to a website to "get more business sent their way" to discover that the REAL product is GOOD ADVERTISING. We then had an "Everest Plan" that was 10 ads per day. We had the price right on the site... we reminded them.... GOOD ADVERTISING brought you to this page.... every time you hear the EVEREST ad.... that could be YOUR ad sending people to YOUR website... or right to your store! It was fun for the short while it lasted! (darn attorney)

    Mount Everest… the highest peak in the world… Everest attracts many well-experienced mountaineers and novice climbers every year. Over 216 of the roughly 3000 climbers that have taken on Everest… never made it down. In business there are many challenges too… many of the businesses that start each year... never make it to the top... that’s why you need Everest Business Insurance… we’re like an experienced guide to help you to the top of YOUR business category. We may be able to help no matter what type of business you’re in! Don’t climb that dangerous mountain alone… go to to watch the free video that explains our services! If your business has seen peaks and valleys… we want to help you make the peaks as big as Everest… and the valleys not as deep. Get free information today that could help YOUR business grow at Everest Business Insurance… Here to help YOU reach the top! Learn more at


    I've been talking about setting up another site like this (with  careful search of trademarks this time) so if you have a fun idea and want to use it too... let's chat! John Small

    • 1179 posts
    January 15, 2018 10:07 AM PST

    From Simon Paul Rushton: Many years ago the station I worked for did a version of "Plummet Mall" The underground shopping mall in the heart of the Cheshire Countryside. The Mantle Shopping Centre was based on this...

    Our version we got loads of phone calls from companies wanting space... or to pitch for contacts. And from the local council wanting to know who had granted planning permission. It got people talking and won us business.

    • 1008 posts
    January 15, 2018 10:58 AM PST

    John, what a fabulous concept. Agree, it should be done with a name that wouldn't invite a cease-and-desist letter. Gonna ruminate on this...


    This post was edited by Rod Schwartz at January 15, 2018 4:15 PM PST