Free Radio Hamster
Free Radio Hamster

Just something quick for the start of a 4 day week!

Over the weekend (during Britain’s Got Talent), Orion Media launched their new TV advert(s). Initially I was only aware of the Free Radio advert, which made sense given that it’s a new brand for the areas. Plus, as expected there is a tie-in game/competition to drive listeners. However I wasn’t aware that at the same time Orion was giving the tv treatment to its East Midlands former Heart franchise, Gem 106.

Putting the fact that it’s exactly the same advert for each aside for the moment, I am confused about one little thing: Why a hamster? Free Radio‘s ‘animal’ is clearly a frog. As we know from the on-air repositioning they’re “just changing the name”, but what does ‘Free’ mean? In my head, having the frog, on a lily pad jumping from one lily to the other, he’s free! – he could be listening to headphones too? I get that the counter argument here is that the hamster is Free when the female owner leaves the room, but I think that is perhaps a bit too subtle.

The next point is why Gem’s advert exactly the same? Same video, same  soundtrack, same hamster! I’m not 100% familiar with the market up north, however my assumption was that Gem 106, and Free Radio have a different music mix – otherwise why not rebrand Gem into Free?

If anyone knows the answers to these please let me know, I’m sure there are perfectly good reasons.

The two adverts are below – I also wonder whether a contra deal was made with Pure Evoke DAB radios too – enjoy!