Connect’s dancing hamster set to launch Free Radio

Midlands-based integrated agency Connect has unveiled its new TV campaign to support the launch of Orion Media’s recently re-branded Free Radio.

Free, the UK’s newest radio brand was officially launched last month following the rebranding of Orion’s four heritage radio brands – brmb, Beacon, Mercia and Wyvern – under one new unified brand, as part of a strategy to grow both audience and revenues.

The move, that sees Free Radio become the West Midlands’ largest radio station, allows Orion to market the brand more effectively than ever before, and the launch is being backed by a £1million investment in marketing, including TV, outdoor, social media and events that will look to draw new audiences from across the whole West Midlands region.

Positioning Free Radio as a music radio station with more character, the campaign will carry the station’s music positioned line “today’s best music mix”.

Connect partnered closely with Hanrahan Film Productions and world-leading CGI company Framestore to bring the original script to life.

Speaking about the end result, Connect’s Creative Director Dennis  Willison commented: “What sets Free Radio apart from the rest is that it has retained the brand DNA of those heritage stations it replaces.

“The world of commercial radio is becoming increasingly bland and homogenised and what we set out to do was celebrate the sense of fun and character that Free stands for.  The end result is a campaign that’s unashamedly up-beat and that’s hopefully going to make people feel good every time they see it.”

Orion chief executive Phil Riley said: “I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in the creation of a TV ad which has taken quite so much time, effort and creativity – but the results are certainly worth it. Bang on strategy, appealing to our target audience, with a great mix of music and humour, and a real ‘water cooler’ feel to the hamster himself. I can’t wait to see the reaction from our listeners.”

Whilst the ‘Free’ brand name may have changed, Orion is keen to stress that there are few changes to the product and its commitment to localness continues to be a key part of the
ongoing strategy.

The news comes as Connect celebrates another record year, having seen revenues increase some 30 per cent year on year for the past three years and staff numbers more than double.

Connect is part of a communications group that includes Connect Direct and Connect PR and works with a variety of national and international brands including Bentley Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Goodyear Dunlop, Chiltern Railways, Birmingham Airport, Persimmon Homes and Tarmac.