This is the stupidest move by a publicly listed company you will see for a long, long time.
It's brought to you by the same team that delivered advertisers the lowest 2UE breakfast show ratings in 90 years.
I've seen bad ads, bad corporate strategies and bad presentations. I've seen companies insult their customers. I've seen deadshit managers ratshit their staff. I've seen competitors who've run out of ideas give up and slavishly follow the market leader - in the hope purchasers won't realise they're getting a second-rate copy.
"2UE, like a Rolex for $5 on the beach at Bali."
It's rare to see real life examples of corporate strategy this bad. Profit-driven enterprises seldom decide to become the public service - only more irritating.
The Fairfax Radio Network ad is aimed at advertisers, not listeners, but it is hard to find a stakeholder group in the Fairfax Radio universe not insulted.
The message for Fairfax Radio listeners is "Our radio stations sound like the ABC with ads. If you'd like to hear the ABC with ads, listen to us. If you'd like to hear the ABC, well, listen to the ABC like we do. We think they're pretty good and we'd like to be like them. That's why we put them in this ad. How good are we? As good as the ABC with ads".
It's possible that someone found a market research company to tell Fairfax Radio there's a gap in the market for listeners screaming out for 11 minutes of ABC radio then 4 minutes of ads, repeated four times every hour. It's possible, like it's possible it was someone else with the HSU credit card.
For Fairfax Radio Network staff the message from management is, "You don't know what to do. We don't know what to do either. We think you should do what the ABC does because they seem to know what to do. But it doesn't matter who's right now, because we've put this ad out. So sound like the freakin' ABC because that's now policy."
Advertisers are being told, "We do the same stuff as the ABC, except in each 15 minutes we play 4 minutes of ads. So if you'd really like to advertise on the ad-free ABC, well you can't because that's what makes the ABC unique. And no one has ever taken the ABC on directly like we have. Well almost directly, we'll still have your ads."
The same corporate strategy at the National Australia Bank would see NAB ads shot in a hot and stuffy RTA office "Drop into a branch near you - it's like walking into the Roads and Traffic Authority, with extra things to irritate you".
Buy a copy of the Australian Financial Review with the collector's item "Fairfax Radio Network ad that's actually for the ABC". It'll be like a Franklin Mint 2UE good ole' days Alan Jones and John Laws together dinner plate - it's sure to be a valuable collectable. It's in a tiny little collectable category "busted-backside media companies taken out by their own stupidity - not the internet".
Mark Scott, get that agency in pronto.