- Do it. For Chicago.
- We want listeners tomorrow. Go make babies today.
- Hey Interesting People, get a room already. And then put a crib in it.
- To anyone NOT currently running a virtual farm: GoMakeBabies.com
- You’re an interesting person. Pass it on. Like, literally. Through your DNA.
WBEZ ‘membership drive’: Go make babies
Chicago Public Media’s first new marketing campaign in 10 years urges listeners to go have sex, create listeners of the future
by Rob Manker
Chicago Tribune reporter
To help ensure a booming audience of tomorrow, Chicago Public Media is prodding listeners to engage in the most private of activities today.
WBEZ 91.5-FM’s “2032 Membership Drive” playfully encourages listeners to go forth and multiply, with the ancillary benefit of creating offspring who might just be predisposed to support the National Public Radio affiliate’s programming in the future.
“This American Life,” indeed.
Part of its “Radio for the Curious Class” campaign, which the station is calling its first new marketing effort in 10 years, the “2032 Membership Drive” features taglines such as:
•Do it. For Chicago.
•We want listeners tomorrow. Go make babies today.
•Hey Interesting People, get a room already. And then put a crib in it.
•To anyone NOT currently running a virtual farm: GoMakeBabies.com
•You’re an interesting person. Pass it on. Like, literally. Through your DNA.
Those lines, which are to begin rolling out Friday, are aimed largely at 18- to 34-year-olds, some of whom may not yet be aware of WBEZ. The campaign was created in partnership with digital agency Xi Chicago, part of the Proximity Worldwide/BBDO network.
The ads are expected to appear on digital media, such as Facebook and Pandora, but also on traditional advertising spots such as train platforms, bus shelters and taxis, in addition to T-shirts and bumper stickers. Some ads might even feature local celebrities.
Daniel Ash is vice president for corporate sponsorship, marketing, membership and partnerships at WBEZ parent Chicago Public Media. He says this campaign marks the first time in his eight years there that he’s had a “meaningful” marketing budget, something he urged for.
“We have a wonderful product, but that’s not enough. People have to know it’s there and have to be aware that it’s there constantly,” Ash said. “Marketing has to become part of our operation. It’s not a luxury anymore.
“We need our current listenership to listen more, to listen more regularly. We can’t just hope that people discover us. We have to work hard to be present in the marketplace and in people’s media diet as well.”
Though, there is risk in telling your audience to, in effect, go have sex.
“It was a concern, and we discussed it quite deeply,” Ash said. “At our board level and in our internal conversations, there were many folks who said ‘this is edgy’ and there was concern. But we made it very clear, we have a reputation at Chicago Public Media for being a bit irreverent, and we’re building on that.
“Ultimately, it’s a joke.”
Though the “make babies” taglines may be around for only about six to eight weeks, Ash says the larger “Radio for the Curious Class” effort is designed to last for years.
“What we want our audience to do is help to build the next generation of lovers, who love what public media is all about.”