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Study: For Bar Soap Advertisers, AM/FM Radio Cleans Up.

Whether looking at listener profile, ad recall scores or purchase intent, AM/FM radio is a proven effective medium for reaching bar soap purchasers, according to findings from MARU/Matchbox research commissioned by Cumulus Media.

The results of the study, conducted from December 2019 to January 2020 among 1,000 women age 40 or over who use bar soap and are the primary shopper for the household, show that heavy bar soap purchasers (purchasing eight or more times in the last year) are 23% more likely to be heavy AM/FM listeners, according to an analysis of the survey data in Westwood One's weekly blog.

Those heavy purchasers, making up one-third (34%) of the sample, skew in the 40-59 age bracket (64%, vs. 54% of the total sample) and are more likely to be in a household with three or more people (47%, vs. 34% of the total). More than one-fourth of those purchasers are heavy AM/FM radio listeners, compared to 22% medium or 23% light listeners.

Another notable finding is the stronger ad recall of bar soap brands among heavy AM/FM listeners, one-third of whom (32%) recall seeing or hearing ads for the brand in the past month, 10% higher than the total sample. Listeners in DMAs with heavy AM/FM radio gross rating point levels, or high opportunity-to-hear markets, are 33% more likely to recall ads, vs. those in low opportunity-to-hear DMAs. Likewise, both heavy AM/FM radio users and those residing in high opportunity-to-hear DMAs also have higher purchase intent, with the former 5% more likely to purchase the bar soap brand and the latter 6% more likely to purchase.

The results show that classic rock, news/talk, rock, top 40 and country are among the radio formats listened to “frequently” by heavy bar soap buyers, while formats where frequent listening indexes significantly higher vs. the total sample include R&B/hip hop and soft rock. Those stations where 20% or more of heavy purchasers say they listen frequently “offer large reach and high purchase propensity,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Insights Manager Liz Mayer says.

When it comes to the effectiveness of personal care product ads on AM/FM radio vs. TV, the blog cites advertising researcher ABX's recent examination of two years' worth of testing, including nearly 2,800 AM/FM radio ads and more than 10,000 TV ads. For advertised skincare and haircare products, ads on AM/FM radio perform at a respective 95% and 89% of the effectiveness of those on TV. “Bar soap and personal care brands can utilize AM/FM radio as effectively as they’ve historically used TV ads for a more economical cost,” Mayer says.

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