The Dual-use Concept
By Denny Hatch
I am a late-night talk-radio junkie. I have this little pillow speaker, and when I wake up during the night, I turn on the radio and hope the talk will lull me back to sleep.
From midnight until 2 a.m. Rollye James, a woman with a brilliant intellect and an encyclopedic knowledge of rock-n-roll music, is on the radio. Then from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. is Coast-to-Coast AM with George Norry who replaced Art Bell, one of the great Renaissance minds of the 20th/21st centuries.
What these talk wizards have in common is a sponsor called C. Crane Co., publisher of the Radio, Light & Science catalog. The company's signature item is the CCRadioplus that it bills as being "built to be the best AM radio available."
What's more, these talk-show hosts sound as if they're not selling the radio with a script, but rather are talking intimately, powerfully and persuasively about its many benefits. Specifically, the radio they're touting has been especially created for superb reproduction of the human voice via AM reception. It also enables one to listen to distant stations without static and fading.
Of course, the C. Crane Co. catalog contains a ton of other merchandise: portable and short-wave radios, lights and flashlights, mini solar panels, night-vision binoculars, survival gear, listening devices, electronic accessories and toys, travel supplies, and a nutty little collapsible back scratcher that doubles as a radio antenna in a pinch.
But it's the CCRadioplus that leads the book in a two-page spread with photographs of the two models, Black Mica and Platinum, and copy that reflects and repeats what was said on the air. The copy bristles with information, enthusiasm and benefits, benefits, benefits — all for just $164.95 (free shipping on orders of more than $25).
Incidentally, the tone of the on-air commercials by the talk-show hosts is captured in the catalog, and the catalog copy is repeated on the Web site (www.ccrane.com). That is, the messages are integrated from the catalog and Web site.
Moreover, C. Crane Co. makes you feel good about being a customer. The owner's letter on page 2 of the catalog talks about having been in business for more than 25 years, making for what they call "a hometown company with a hometown way of doing business." The copy states:
Our mission is to listen to you, help answer your questions and to help you find the items you need. As we have done for 25 years.