kink fm

At a time when FM radio was turning to cookie cutter formats, KINK-FM is Portland, Oregon, was breaking the mold. (Scroll down to read more.)

KINK reserved the right to play whatever they thought reflected a high level of taste. A lot of it ended up being on the softer side, but they played one of the most eclectic collections of artists in the business. They didn’t use gimmicks — no contests, no cash prizes. They concentrated on their own definition of quality music.

The campaign seems simple now. But at the time, it was a breakthrough the FM radio category. We didn’t talk about the playlist. We didn’t talk about the station. All we did was reinforce the brand image. Whether you liked the music or not, you had to agree that KINK really was True To The Music.

Interestingly, the concept came before the tag line. We were originally against using a tag, but KINK GM Stan Mak insisted. Smart man. The result, “True To The Music,” was copied by stations around the country.

The campaign idea was to interview and film the many local artist that made the playlist, as well as performers passing through Portland. The first few experiments with Calvin Walker and Calvin Scott went great. Kenny G was an absolute star to work with, and he gave us great material. Tom Grant gave us two very nice spots. George Benson was easy to work with but we ended up with just one usable spot.

We had George Benson to film for about 20 minutes. We had Kenny G for about half an hour. The local musicians we had for a little longer.

We found that the format gave us far more output, at far less cost, than other concepts. The ads felt sincere. They were compelling, non-scripted insights into the heart, soul and experience of the artist.

Within a week of the launch, response was so overwhelmingly positive we knew we had a hit. The results were so strong that the True To The Music campaign lasted nearly 20 years.

Here are some other examples from just the first year, with George Benson, Kenny G, Calvin Walker and Tom Grant.

Art director: Susan Hoffman
Director/producer: Bill Davenport
Copywriter for all samples: Barrett Rossie
For more samples, visit the portfolio page 


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  1. Pingback: Musical Advice For Bloggers | The All Inbound Blog

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