How does radio contribute to the mental availability of an FMCG brand


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Audify, a Dutch marketing organisation representing all leading broadcasters and sales houses, conducted research into the attribution of radio on the mental availability of the Douwe Egberts brand. The research was carried out in collaboration with Havas Media and DVJ Insights.


Jacobs Douwe Egberts was interested in determining whether adding radio into the media mix increases the brand’s mental availability. The brand’s target group is wide and consists of 11 million coffee drinkers in the Netherlands. That’s why the brand advertises consistently on TV, radio, OOH and online video. Their new 2022 campaign “The power of coffee, Douwe Egberts coffee” was the perfect opportunity to test radio’s added value in creating strong and memorable brand associations. This particular study was conducted on a representative sample of 2700 respondents.

Impact on ad recall

The campaign results showed that a strong cross-media campaign can significantly boost ad recall. Following the Douwe Egberts campaign, the figures for top-of-mind, spontaneous and assisted recall all increased.

Brand associations

The study also showed that combining radio with other media channels improves the results for brand attitude and brand preference. When compared to a TV-only campaign (index 100), radio with online video brought about a significant increase across both aspects, resulting in an index of 111 for brand attitude. However, combining radio and TV brought about even better results: index 138 for brand preference for Douwe Egberts.

According to the works of Byron Sharp, improving the quality and quantity of brand associations helps to develop mental availability. The Douwe Egberts campaign results support this: the post-campaign measurement showed that the campaign helped increase the number of associations with the brand as well as positive and distinctive associations. This is even more significant considering that the figures were already relatively high for this well-established brand. The most common associations that came out of the campaign were: pleasant, familiar, cosy and Dutch.

When looking at the positive and distinctive brand associations generated by each medium, we can see that radio is the biggest contributor. The number of positive and distinctive brand association was highest for radio only and radio in combination with online video.

The importance of sonic branding

Sonic branding is the deliberate use of music, sounds, voices and silences to create both intellectual and emotional connections between consumers and brads. It is an essential tool for marketers to offer continuity and stand out in a fragmented media landscape.

A crucial part of Douwe Egberts’ brand identity, and a critical factor in creating positive brand associations, is their distinctive trademark sounds.According to the survey, up to 70% of Dutch people automatically link the Douwe Egberts sonic branding with the brand. It, therefore, has a unique power as a brand asset. Thanks to radio, Douwe Egberts can instantly foster a relationship between consumers and the brand thanks to the distinct sonic branding. Their sonic branding is more familiar to the older target group but a prolonged and consistent use in all brand communication will help establish the connection with younger generations too.

As an FMCG brand, Douwe Egberts proved that radio can create memorable and positive brand connections. Combining radio with other media positively improves brand attitudes and preferences further down the funnel.

“When it comes to FMCG, we strive to stimulate various senses in order to attract the customer. They should be able to see, taste and feel. The sound seems to play a more insignificant role for most marketers, which is a pity.” Said Hanka de Bruin, Senior Media Manager of Jacob Douwe Egberts Netherland

Full study here.