Under the Influence (radio documentary series)

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Under the Influence is a Canadian radio documentary series, presented by Terry O'Reilly, about the changing world of marketing for CBC Radio One. It premiered on January 7, 2012.

Whereas O'Reilly's previous series, O'Reilly on Advertising and The Age of Persuasion, which focus primarily on the present state and history of marketing and advertising, this series focuses on the changing state of those businesses such as its growing multinational nature and interactivity.

Season One Episode Guide

Episode Title Broadcast Date
1 A New BRIC in the Wall - This debut episode of the new series, Under The Influence, focuses on the emergence of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations as the new marketing force in the word. January 7, 2012
2 Men Are From Sears: Women Are From Bloomingdale's - This episode examines the different ways women and men shop. Deep in our DNA, our shopping habits have been formed - and the differences between the genders couldn't be more opposite. Most men like to buy and leave, but women like to take their time. As a matter of fact, a recent study shows that women spend eight years of their lives shopping. January 14, 2012
3 Voices of Influence - This episode explores how voices influence us in all corners of our lives, from computer voices, to phone operator voices, to the voices we hear at airports. On the other hand, some expensive celebrity voices in commercials are hardly recognizable, while other anonymous voices are sometimes twice as influential. January 21, 2012
4 Great Brands That Never Advertise - This episode looks at famous brands that built their companies without advertising. It's so rare in this world to build a multi-million, or multi-billion dollar company without relying on advertising. But several companies have done just that. And with enormous success. Instead of ads, they took a stand on social issues, they relied on superlative customer service that would generate word-of-mouth, they give back to their communities and they stay passionately connected to their customers. January 28, 2012
5 Getting Personal in the Classified Ads - This episode is about the history of the classified ads. We trace the very first classified ad in North America through to the explosion of classifieds online. February 4, 2012
6 Big Chill Marketing: The Influence of Music - This week we look at the use of hit songs in advertising. It started in a big way back in 1983, with the movie The Big Chill. A huge part of the movie's success was based on its soundtrack, which featured over 20 of the biggest hits from the 60s and 70s. When Madison Avenue saw just how much hit songs resonated with baby boomers, it opened the floodgates. February 11, 2012
7 The Marketing Genius of Steve Jobs - Part 1 - This special two-part episode is about Steve Jobs. When you look at his vast technical accomplishments, it's easy to forget he was a great marketer. We look at his boldness as a marketer, how and where it first showed itself in his early 20s, his offer to pay for the Super Bowl ad time when the Apple board hated the famous "1984" Mac launch TV ad, his vindication when "1984" was cited as maybe the best TV ad of all time, his eventual ouster from Apple only one year later, and his return in 1997 - when he commissioned the bold "Think Different" ad campaign while, unbeknownst to most, Apple was just weeks away from bankruptcy. But the gamble paid off. February 18, 2012
8 The Marketing Genius of Steve Jobs - Part 2 - The episode traces his triumphant return to Apple after being banished for 12 years, and his bold choice to release advertising that suggested Apple was on the cusp of greatness, even though the world knew it was on the brink of disaster. But that bravado pays off as Jobs inspires his company and releases the iMac, the iPod, iTunes, the Apple retail stores all in the same year. Then Jobs hits his stride and releases not only the iTunes store but the iconic iPhone, and with it, some of the most effective advertising the industry has even seen. His marketing instincts and his courage further propels Apple to even greater heights with the iPad. And even as he is diagnosed with cancer, he manages to build Apple into the second most valuable company in the world. February 25, 2012
9 Movie Marketing - This week, as the world debates the Oscar results, we explore the critical importance of movie trailers to a film's success. Hollywood now spends an average of $32 million per movie to advertise. But trailers have changed dramatically over the years - and now many give away the entire storyline. We’ll look at several films that chose to give it all away in the trailers, and in particular, the movie "Castaway" - which had trouble generating an audience, until it gave away the ending in its advertising. March 3, 2012
10 Marketing In A Crisis - Join us this week as we explore the perilous task of Marketing in a Crisis. When companies are hit with a crisis, it can be a defining moment. In the world of marketing, it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation - because communication is one of the most important keys to handling a disaster. Someone once said, “Never waste a crisis” – let’s see if that philosophy holds true. March 10, 2012
11 Accidental Brands - It may surprise you to know that many famous brands were invented completely by accident. They weren't the result of years of research, or painstaking experiments, or scientific brilliance - they were simply stumbled upon by mistake. Like IMDB, or the Internet Movie Data Base, that began as a simple list of pretty actresses compiled by a movie buff. Or Play-Doh, which started life as a wallpaper cleanser. Popsicles were invented when a flash freeze surprised the residents of San Francisco one night. Each is famous, and all are accidental brands. March 17, 2012
12 Handcuffed By Brand Image - This week, we explore a very interesting marketing predicament: When brands get trapped by their own image. Every once in a while, expensive brand images circle around to damage the brand. Like Apple, which recently acted completely out of character when an iPhone prototype was found in a bar. Sometimes, a brand image can actually kill a brand. Then there’s the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam - worst hotel in the world, with the worst brand image - and they like it that way. March 24, 2012
13 When Big Brands Houdini - This episode is about how some major brands in our lives simply vanish. One of magician Harry Houdini's most famous tricks was to make a 5-ton elephant disappear in front of large audiences. Marketing has its own version of that trick - when big brands vanish into thin air. Like auto brands Oldsmobile and Pontiac, now both gone. March 31, 2012
14 Mascots - This episode looks at the wacky world of advertising mascots. The ad industry has a long history with mascots, as they are some of the most enduring advertising symbols of all time. As a matter of fact, mascots have outlived most other advertising campaigns. The Jolly Green Giant just turned 84, for example. But this episode is about the modern mascots of advertising. April 7, 2012
15 Charlie Bit My Ad: When Advertising Works Too Well - Back in 2007, a cute video of two kids was uploaded by their father. In it, one kid bites the finger of the other one. That video, called "Charlie Bit My Finger" went on to attract 420 million views. To say it over-performed would be an understatement. The same phenomenon occasionally occurs in the world of advertising - because sometimes ads work too well. In some instances, the ads work so well, it creates problems for the advertisers. Like Axe Deodorant, who marketing to insecure men worked too well, and it became known as the brand for geeks and dorks. April 14, 2012
16 Sex in Advertising - The advertising industry has a long history of using sex to sell products. Woodbury's used sex to sell soap as far back the 1920s - and the campaign was written by a woman. But the use of sex has always been a polarizing technique. We'll explore how Calvin Klein built an empire on sex, how Abercrombie & Fitch revived a dying brand with sex, and we'll look at the story of a beer company that used sex to sell its product, then were sued by its own female employees. April 21, 2012
17 Hyper-Targeting - "Hyper-Targeting" is the next frontier in 21st century marketing. Marketers are gleaning and buying more and more personal information about consumers online. Using that deep information, advertisers are "hyper-targeting" consumers with ads that are tailor-made for individuals, featuring the products they want, when they want them, at a price based on their spending ability, at the precise moment they are about to make a choice. April 28, 2012
18 Colour Schemes: How Colours Make You Buy - In the world of marketing, the use of colour is a studied science. As a result, colours play a bigger role in your purchasing decisions than you may think. A colour can make you feel a certain way about a company, or it can trigger a specific desire. Colours can even encourage us to spend money – or even gamble. There is no doubt about it, colour has a secret language. May 5, 2012
19 Brand Envy - This is Terry's annual celebration of the brands he envies. They aren't necessarily the most hip or most current, or even the number one brand in their category. As a matter of fact, a "brand" by Terry's definition doesn't even have to be a product or service, it could be a location, a person or an animal. But they must be unique, they must be revolutionary or counter-intuitive, and they must have survived. May 12, 2012
20 When Brands Apologize: Sorry Seems to Be the Smartest Word - Over the lifetime of a company, mistakes happen. When those mistakes cause damage, it is not inappropriate for a brand to apologise. Yet, it rarely happens. This week, we look at the companies that chose to apologise: From O.B. Tampons, who apologised to their customers with a song, to Dominos Pizza, who was forced to apologise when employees made an embarrassing YouTube video. If an apology is genuine and timely, sorry is definitely the smartest word. May 19, 2012
21 'Books, Books, Books - This is Terry's annual look at some of his favourite books. We'll look at a new book, titled, "Mad Women," written by an original Mad Woman from the 60s era Madison Avenue. Next, we flip through the pages of another new book by one of the most outspoken and notorious Mad Men of all time - George Lois. Simon Sinek's book, titled, "Start With Why" argues that most companies don't know WHY their in business, and will not succeed as a result. Lastly, we discuss a book by Steven Johnson that looks at where good ideas come from. May 26, 2012
22 LGBT Advertising - The gay community will spend over $800 billion this year. A large percentage are affluent, hip and trendsetting, yet the advertising industry took decades to market to them. This week, we look at L.G.B.T. - or Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender - advertising. From the first gay characters on mainstream television in the 70s, to the flashpoint of Ellen DeGeneres coming out on her TV show, the gay market is a study in diversity, courage, profit and respect. June 2, 2012
23 It's the Little Things - This week, we look at companies that go above and beyond the call. Companies that add smart, little touches that make all the difference. Like hotels that help you fall asleep at night with sleep aids and grocery stores that help you read the small type on vitamin bottles. Grab a coffee and join us for companies that go the extra inch. June 9, 2012
24 Striking Images: Matchbook Advertising - There was a time when the humble matchbook was the top advertising medium in North America. They were handy, colourful, cheap and even a moderate smoker would be exposed to the advertising over 20 times a day. Matchbook advertising pre-dated radio, and was embraced by almost every industry. Matchbook advertising was effective and affordable for everyone. And believe it or not, even the State Department used matchbook advertising recently to hunt down Osama bin Laden. June 16, 2012
25 Dear Terry - In this final episode of the season, Terry answers listener questions about the advertising industry. Some of the very insightful questions include: When was the very first ad every done? Do celebrities have to actually use a product before they endorse them? June 23, 2012

Season Two Episode Guide[1]

Episode Title Broadcast Date
1 SHAME: The Secret Tool of Marketing - This episode examines the creation and exploitation of shame and insecurity by marketing, primarily to sell personal care products. January 5, 2013
2 A Prize In Every Box: Premiums, Toys and Box-Tops - This episode examines the world of special offers, from prizes in cereal boxes to mail-in rebates. January 12, 2013
3 Timing Is everything - This episode explores how world events shape the influence and effectiveness of marketing campaigns. January 19, 2013
4 Radio Is Dead. Long Live Radio. - Many advertisers think radio is yesterday's medium, but judging by the work being done today, the opposite is true. We'll tell the story of a German music school that used radio to recruit top music students by making their email address invisible to all but those with perfect pitch, how an entire country's radio stations switched formats one morning to sell a chocolate bar and how the country of Columbia used radio to send a coded message of hope out to kidnapped soldiers. January 26, 2013
5 Buy Less: How Some Companies Profit By Asking You To Spend Less - This week on Under The Influence, we look at the companies that actually profit by asking you to BUY LESS. February 2, 2013
6 Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma - This week on Under The Influence - just in time for the Grammys - we look at the rocky history of popular music in advertising. For decades now, the advertising industry has had a curious habit of choosing music for commercials, but ignoring the message of the song. February 9, 2013
7 Colour Schemes: How Colours Make Us Buy - In the world of marketing, the use of colour is a studied science. Colours play a bigger role in your purchasing decisions than you may think, because colours have a secret language. A colour can make you feel a certain way about a company, or it can trigger a specific desire. A simple change in colours can affect the sales of a product immediately, or a certain colour can make us seem more desirable to the opposite sex. Colours can even encourage us to spend money - or even gamble. February 16, 2013
8 Coming Soon - The Art Of The Movie Trailer - This week on Under The Influence - just in time for the Oscars - we take our annual look at creative movie trailers. February 23, 2013
9 Marketing Stunts - Many brands try to set world records to get attention. But not all of them go exactly as planned. March 2, 2013
10 Billion Dollar Brands - There are millions of successful brands in the world, but very few of them are in the exclusive billion dollar club. March 9, 2013
11 Tales of Customer Service - We're on the hunt for great companies that went out of their way to treat their customers well. March 16, 2013
12 Selling Danger - In the history of the advertising industry, the full force of persuasion has been put behind many products that turned out to be incredibly unsafe. March 23, 2013
13 Hyper-Targeting: How Brands Track You Online. - Hyper-Targeting is the next frontier in 21st century marketing.
Marketers are gleaning and buying more and more personal information about consumers. That information is then being used to track people online, as marketers watch their buying habits. As a result, advertisers are "hyper-targeting" consumers with ads that are tailor-made for individuals, featuring the products they want, when they want them, at a price based on their spending ability, at the precise moment they are about to make a choice. How do you like your ad - over easy or sunny-side up
March 30, 2013
14 Famous Marketing Blunders - Along with the most famous marketing blunder of all time, we'll look at what caused Coke to make the mistake of changing their fabled formula... April 6, 2013
15 Game Shows As Marketing - They've been around for almost 80 years, and entertain millions. But game shows are also powerful marketing vehicles. We'll trace their history... April 13, 2013
16 Loss Leaders: How Companies Profit By Losing Money - Loss-leader are products offered at a loss, in order to lead people to purchase more profitable products. It's an important aspect of marketing. We'll talk about the very first loss-leaders ever used in marketing, and how that learning led to... April 20, 2013
17 Brand Envy - This is our annual look at the brands I admire.
They may not be the hippest, or the latest, or even the coolest brands. They could be a product, a service or even a person - but I envy them for a reason.
April 27, 2013
18 It's The Little Things - This week, it's an encore airing of the episode that looks for companies who go above and beyond the call. May 4, 2013
19 Nothing In Common: How Hollywood Portrays Ad People. - This week, we look at how Hollywood has portrayed advertising over the years. May 11, 2013
20 Real Time Advertising - For over 100 years, most ad campaigns took months to produce. Suddenly, with the emergence of the Internet and social media, advertisers can react in minutes. From answering questions live on YouTube to the immediate messages brands put out during the blackout at this year's Super Bowl to instant marketing during snowstorms and hurricanes, it demonstrates how far advertising has come. May 18, 2013
21 Nobody's Dead Anymore: Marketing Deceased Celebrities - It's become a $2 billion industry. The marketing of dead celebrities not only attracts lots of big brands, but lots of controversy. We'll trace the use of dead celebrities in advertising, we'll analyze "Dead Q Scores," we'll list the top-grossing dead celebrities, we'll tell some stories about ads that featured Audrey Hepburn, Michael Jackson, Fred Astaire, Kurt Cobain and Marilyn Monroe - and how their families felt about those commercials. May 25, 2013
22 SHAME: The Secret Tool of Marketing - This week on Under The Influence, it's an encore broadcast as we explore one of the most effective marketing strategies ever devised: The use of "Shame." June 1, 2013
23 Trust In Advertising - Trust may be the most critical element of marketing, and a company's most valuable asset. We'll not only explore how trust is created, but how it's lost. June 2, 2013
24 This I Know. - This penultimate show of the season features the important lessons I've learned over the course of my 30-year advertising career. June 15, 2013
25 Dear Terry - We'll discuss the finer details of fine print in TV commercials, the impact of DVRs on advertising, why politicians don't use jingles, why the same actors keep showing up on the same commercials, why it seems like lawyers write the copy in so many ads, and why some ads are so dumb. June 22, 2013

Season Three Episode Guide[2]

Episode Title Broadcast Date
1 Looking Out For #1. - As this is our #1 show of the season, we celebrate by exploring #1 Brands.
We'll look at popular categories and identify the runaway best-selling brands, and analyze why they are #1.
January 4, 2014
2 The Psychology of Price. - First, we'll look at how you're influenced by pricing. Like how the price of a bottle of wine has an enormous affect on how much you enjoy that wine, and how stores price one item really high to influence you to buy the slightly cheaper option... January 11, 2014
3 Cause Marketing - "Cause Marketing" is a relative newcomer to the world of marketing.
Unlike public service announcements or corporate philanthropy, Cause Marketing is when a Not-For-Profit organization teams up with a For-Profit company to further a good cause - but the For-Profit partner makes a profit while helping.
January 18, 2014


Terry O'Reilly - Creator, Writer, Producer, Host

Keith Ohman - Engineer

Ian LeFeuvre and Ari Posner - Theme Music

Debbie O'Reilly - Episode Scheduling and Coordination

Tina Maerzke - Studio Booking and Show Distribution

Tim Whittley and CBC's Ananda Korchynski - Digital and Podcast Responsibilities

Sidney O'Reilly - Visual Elements

Callie O'Reilly - Logo Design

Myra El-Bayoumi, Courteney Pitcher and Warren Brown - Researchers

Reference List[edit]

  1. ^ "Under the Influence archives at CBC". CBC. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  2. ^ "Under the Influence archives at CBC". CBC. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 

External links[edit]