Yahoo took top honors at the PRO Awards in Chicago last night for its Billboard Dating campaign for Yahoo Personals.
The campaign also won first place in the Building Brand Awareness and Trial and Innovative Communication Strategy categories.
The January 2004 effort put a real face on blind dating—in person and online. Julie, a Yahoo Personals subscriber, lived atop a Hollywood billboard for three days, trolling Yahoo for dates (eight, held on the billboard). Daily life—and the dates—were broadcast worldwide 12 hours per day via Yahoo. Julie asked her favorite guy back on the last day. Meanwhile, celebs, stylists, reporters, DJs and friends visited; fans e-mailed or called—from as far away as Iraq and Italy. Online ads drove awareness; p.r. worked overtime. This launch of Yahoo’s “Project: Real People” (using only real subscribers in ads and promotions) wooed 6.4 million unique visitors for first-quarter 04, up 44%. Subscriptions jumped 199%; profile creation zoomed 250%.
The PRO Awards fielded a record 467 entries in 19 categories. Here are the first-place winners in each category:
Best Idea: Save Our History, The History Channel
Agency: Civic Entertainment Group
The History Channel extended its Emmy-winning Save Our History program with a national campaign to preserve historic sites, with First Lady Laura Bush as spokesperson. The History Channel hosted 48 preservation projects in 22 states, registering 55,000 students to participate in local restoration; curriculum materials reached students in 100 markets. Cable affiliates helped host kick-off events in 10 markets and ran a total of 25,000 promotional spots, unusual for a non-programming effort. Bank of America’s title sponsorship yielded $5 million in incremental ad revenue; partners USA Today and Fairmount Hotels helped fund the campaign.
Best Multi-Discipline (National): St. Patrick’s Holiday, Guinness Brewing
Agency: Colangelo Synergy Marketing
Guinness met competitors’ increased St. Patrick’s Day activity with a parody of the Christmas season including a month’s worth of on-premise sampling and a $4 million tongue-in-cheek TV campaign. Volume grew 8%.
Best Multi-Discipline(Regional): AOL Concert for Schools, America Online
Agency: Momentum Worldwide
AOL pinpointed New York City for its crucial 9.0 launch, then drafted Dave Matthews Band for a free Central Park concert to benefit NYC schools. Trial software CDs from street teams carried a chance for VIP-area tickets. Eighty-five thousand attended the concert; 60,000 CDs were distributed.
Best Use of Promotional Advertising: New Beetle/Apple iPod “Pods Unite,” Volkswagen of America
Agency: Arnold Brand Promotions
Five-year-old New Beetle, now five years old, tied with Apple’s sleek iPod and touted similarities in design, function and technology. TV titled “Pods Unite” and print ads headlined “Volkswagen + Apple. Duh” dangled the value-added offer: Beetle buyers got a free iPod and a kit to plug it into the dash-board. The July-August push beat aggressive sales goals
Event Marketing (5 venues or less): Pink Miami Launch, Limited Brands
Agency: Mr. Youth
Victoria’s Secret unwrapped its young-adult brand, Pink, during Spring Break to reach as many 18- to 24-year-old women as possible. A three-story pink box sat mysteriously on Miami’s beach for five days, then opened for a concert and fashion show. Five thousand Spring Breakers showed up; Pink sales jumped triple-digits in Miami Victoria’s Secret stores.
Event Marketing (More than 5 venues): Mazda Rev It Up, Mazda Motor Corp.
Mazda created a racing-school tour to spur test drives; “students” in 15 markets paid $39 each for a full day of classes and race-track driving. Concerts, arcades and a go-kart track kept non-drivers busy. More than 22,000 matriculated during the March-August tour; Mazda hosted 37,000 test drives in all.
Mobile Marketing: Sharpie H2 Mobile Tour/Autographs for Education, Sharpie
Agency: Pro Sports Management & Marketing
Sharpie tapped sports celebrities for a tour that swapped autographs for school donations. Four Sharpie-branded Hummers sampled 400,000 new Sharpie Metallic Markers; a Sharpie H24U retail sweeps at Office Depot dangled a Hummer as grand prize. Sharpie sales jumped 60%; incremental sales in Office Depot alone were $1.5 million for third-quarter 2003.
Sponsorship or Tie-in: Most Reliable Player in the Game, FedEx
Agency: Velocity Sports & Entertainment
FedEx drove home its “reliability” message with a PGA Tour sponsorship that compared FedEx’s service to top players’ consistent play on the course. Sponsorship promos increased Tour spectators’ intent use FedEx; a B2B FedEx Invitational incentive program drove incremental revenue.
Direct Marketing: Catch Me if You Can, American Institute of CPAs
The CPA association encourages students to consider an accounting career with an online gaming contest to solved 12 forensic accounting mysteries and vie for cash prizes. Off- and online direct marketing targeted professors and 900,000 students. More than 10,000 students registered, three times 2003 participation levels.
Interactive Media: Boeing Name Your Plane Sweepstakes, Boeing Co.
Boeing Co. sought consumer buzz for its pending 7E7 plane (due in 2008). A global online sweeps let consumers vote for their favorite name for the plane; they were automatically entered to vie for a flight in a 737 simulator. Time for Kids brought the sweeps to classrooms. Nearly 400,000 U.S. consumers voted.
Long-Term Campaign: Kellogg’s American AAdvantage Miles, Kellogg Co.
Kellogg tweaks its five-year-old on-pack miles offer each year while keeping the base offer of 100 AAdvantage miles per box. Year Two overlaid a Win a Million Miles instant-win sweeps; Year Three fielded a Mystery Miles sweeps with bonus miles. Year Four (2003) tied to tourism bureaus for America’s Greatest Cities sweeps awarding trips to seven cities. Annual run is 50 million to 70 million packages; redemption rate is 7.1%, a total two billion miles.
Building Volume: Would You Name Your Baby Horton?, Frito-Lay
Agency: Marketing Resources and Ketchum Entertainment Marketing
Ruffles’ three-year sales decline prompted Frito-Lay to bring back its classic Baby Horton character (after 10 years in retirement) with an unusual offer: The first parents to name their baby Horton won a $50,0000 college-savings account. (Forty-nine families complied.) A $10 million ad campaign and p.r. revived the old “R-R-Ruffles have r-r-ridges” tagline. Sales rose 5.9% to $338 million; market share rose eight percentage points.
Building Loyalty: EET and ERN, Kellogg Co.
Kellogg overhauled its EET and ERN kids’ loyalty site in 2002, revamping the rewards structure and added downloadable prizes, spiffed up its games and strengthened ties to on-pack promos. Quarterly updates and partnerships (Cartoon Network, Disney, Skechers, Sony, K2, Hamtaro) freshen content. Over 850,000 kids registered by the end of 2003; goal was 800,000.
Business to Business, Sales Force, Dealer: For Leaders Only, Welch Allyn
Agency: Eric Mower & Associates
Independent sales reps were reluctant to pitch unfamiliar high-tech medical equipment to doctors. So Welch Allyn paid cash incentives to those sales reps for sharing leads with Welch Allyn’s own sales force, who demo high-tech gear and close the sale. The program grew to 14,000 leads in 2003 from 4,133 in 1999; 46% of 2003 leads led to demos and 23% led to sales.
Account-Specific: Stars on Broadway, Fisher-Price
Agency: Eric Mower & Associates
Toys ‘R’ Us asked for a one-day activity for its Camp Geoffrey in-store program. Fisher-Price gave it an eight-month, multi-market event Moms brought their kids (ages 3-8) to have a picture taken during Fisher-Price day at Camp Geoffrey. Eight finalists won a trip to Fisher-Price’s East Aurora, NY headquarters for a photo shoot, then appeared on the storefront billboards on Toys ‘R’ Us’ Times Square store. The promo garnered 7,500 entries and extended Fisher-Price’s exposure in Toys ‘R’ Us stores.
Small-Budget: Californians for the Captain, Diageo (Captain Morgan)
Agency: BFG Communications
With 2,000 candidates in California’s 2003 gubernatorial race, Captain Morgan’s faux-candidacy “put the party back into politics” with guerilla tactics statewide and high-profile political advisor James Carville as the Captain’s campaign manager. Volume sales (on- and off-premise) jumped 68% for three months, then stayed up 17.8% in the first half of 2004.
Best Creative: The Lord of the Rings Adventure Card, New Line Cinema
Agency: EastWest Creative
New Line Cinema simultaneously hyped its DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and kept LOTR fans pumped for the theatrical premiere of its sequel Return of the King with a six-month, in-pack/online effort that put LOTR Adventure Cards in 10 million DVDs and VHS tapes. Cards’ PIN codes let fans access special content and a total of 70 promo offers that were periodically refreshed. Best Buy, Circuit City and Target distributed their own co-branded cards. More than 25 partners and licensees pitched in; 800,000-plus fans participated—four times the goal.