WGN hit a more than 50% response rate this spring with a small, highly personalized mailing targeting advertisers on Chicago Cubs’ games.
The radio station sent 300 letters to vice presidents and directors of marketing at major corporate advertisers like Miller Beer, General Motors and others inviting them to an opening day party and ballgame. Each letter included a personalized URL like john.smith.wgn720openingday2009.com where the recipients could reply, says Frank Defino, Jr., managing partner at Tukaiz, WGN’s agency.
“When they RSVP’d, they viewed a Flash animated movie showing them with their name on the back of a baseball player’s jersey standing in the batter’s box,” says Defino.
The online movie went on to show the recipient hitting a home run and rounding the bases as he watched the ball wind up in the bleachers. The scoreboard then lit up with fireworks and spelled the recipient’s name.
Past efforts to promote this event were more prosaic. “They went out in a number-10 envelope that said, ‘We’re having this party, here’s the date. Come two hours before, there’s food and drink and then you get to go to the game on opening day,’ ” says Defino.
Just the same, WGN was able to use this technique to help boost its image.
“They weren’t trying to sell anything,” says Defino. “They were trying to get their advertisers to come to a branding event.”