The interview session, which was sponsored by Clear Channel Communications, did address ad-supported media -- a little bit -- including a discussion on the role and vitality of radio as a medium. Interestingly, Leto is more upbeat on it than the crowd in the Grand Audi was.
“Does anyone listen to radio here anymore?” Leto asked, spurring tepid applause from the ad industry delegates. Looking high up into the balcony, Leto alluded to the effort being made mainly by “the stoners upstairs,” but then gave a sincere personal endorsement of the power of the medium.
“I think radio is a really wonderful thing. It’s a beautiful thing,” he shared, adding: “Radio changed my life. It introduced me to the music that became the soundtrack to my life -- and beyond.”
Leto said the medium “got inside me” in a way, he said, “only radio can do.” He then went Hollywood again, “name-dropping Bono, Bono, Bono,” relating how the rocker once explained the true power of radio as a medium to him.
“Radio is amazing, because when you reach for the dial in your car you are talking to a friend.”
Not surprisingly, Leto also discussed his views on advertising, and gave the industry insiders some advice on how to do a better job with it.
“When you reach out and communicate, the most important thing -- and you guys throw this around all the time -- is authenticity,” he said, adding that when it fails to do that with a genuine appeal or offer that relates to a consumer, brands are better off to “just leave me the fuck alone. And if you can’t do that, then the advertising should at least be really beautiful or titillating in some way.”
Leto demonstrated the power of titillation throughout the interview, asking the “squealers” in the audience to meet him back at his hotel room. He added that he was “just being entertaining,” and then explained how he learned to do that after “thousands” of interviews: “Stroke and tickle,” he said, adding, “It feels good, doesn’t it?”