While the level of consumer awareness of HD digital radio is up for debate, the new-ish technology is now a selling point for automotive marketers: Ford is highlighting the benefits of HD radio as part of its new radio ad campaign for the 2011 Edge.
The campaign, which debuted this week and is set to run for 11 weeks, consists of five 30-second radio spots, as well as a dedicated Web site for the mid-size crossover mode, where HD radio also receives prominent placement in a short video.
The spots are scheduled to run from July 13-Sept. 26 on more than 600 stations across the top 100 U.S. broadcast markets.
Among other features, the campaign highlights the iTunes tagging capability in the factory-installed HD radio receivers. That allows drivers to create lists of songs they hear during radio airplay they want to buy on iTunes. After marking a song, they just have to sync their iPod to update their wish list.
Other ads focus on the audio quality of HD radio, which is comparable to CDs, and the extra content available via HD radio multicasts, which allow broadcasters to create additional "HD2" and "HD3" channels on the same bandwidth.
Overall, there are more than 2,000 radio stations in the U.S. broadcasting in HD, with more than 1,150 airing HD multicasts.
Automotive manufacturer partnerships are arguably the most important areas for future growth for a number of competing audio technologies, including HD radio, satellite radio and Internet-based platforms.
In January, for example, Pandora -- the online music service -- announced a deal with electronics manufacturer Pioneer Corp. that will allow consumers to bring Pandora's personalized audio content to their automobiles. Pioneer is manufacturing a multipurpose navigation and media device, priced at $1,200, that will allow customers with iPhones to stream the service to their car stereos via mobile devices -- after they download a new app that lets the devices link up.