A Numbers Game

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

“Twelve” could be 7Up’s lucky number.

Through March 2004, the flagship brand for Dr Pepper/Seven Up Cos. will carry 12-digit Liquid Loot codes that translate to bidding currency at DPSU’s site, liquidloot.com. Consumers bank points there to bid on a slate of prizes that is refreshed every three months or so.

It’s DPSU’s first major commitment to an auction platform for on-pack/online promos, and the Plano, TX-based marketer has secured a few heavyweight partners to make Liquid Loot succeed.

Through summer, bidders vie for Warner Bros. Music goodies, from CDs to autographed memorabilia. From August through and October, prizes shift to Lord of the Rings, timed to the Aug. 26 theatrical release of New Line Cinema’s Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. DPSU’s fourth-quarter partner could be the Grammy Awards as DPSU wraps up a three-year sponsorship of the Grammys this year. Last year, a Party on TV under-the-cap game awarded a Grammy-watching party for 100 friends and 7Up spokesperson Godfrey, with clips from the party airing as TV spots during the Grammys (May 2002 PROMO).

“Music is the great connector between our target audiences,” says DPSU Promotions Manager Joe Dirzius. “We wanted to build [a marketing platform] with variety and choice; auctions let us freshen prizes on a regular basis.”

A sweeps overlay for summer will award a rock star experience, with four days in Nashville or Los Angeles, passes to a Warner Bros. recording session, and concert perks. Zipatoni, St. Louis, handles Liquid Loot creative and sweeps; auctions processor FairMarket, Woburn, MA, handles online creative and auction execution.

Partner eBay helps DPSU reach its 65 million auction participants via banner ads. EBay is a minority owner of FairMarket. (See related story.) The beverage maker hooked up with eBay last fall to launch 7Up flanker dnL by putting the first 31 cases of the new soft drink on the block at eBay (January 2003 PROMO). There was “tremendous consumer response” to that auction, but it didn’t lead to Liquid Loot: The broader program was already set when dnL launched, Dirzius says.

Now dnL and sister brands Sunkist Orange Soda, A&W Root Beer and Canada Dry Ginger Ale (as well as Diet 7Up) participate in Liquid Loot with codes on several hundred million two-liter and 20-oz. bottles and 12 packs. That breadth of brands — and variety in bid items — gives DPSU broad reach among disparate consumer groups.

Liquid Loot will have an ongoing pool of consumer electronics, wearables and the like, with partnerships adding special items. DPSU contacted Warner Bros. after the studio had pitched several properties. “When Liquid Loot came up, we met with them and reached an agreement to promote their music in exchange for content and prizes,” Durzius says.

DPSU hopes to gather 3-5 million names and e-mail addresses for its database, and will e-mail with bidders who have a high Loot balance to encourage them to keep playing.

“There’s an urgency factor to build your point balance to be the highest bidder,” says Matt Ackley, FairMarket vp-corporate development. That could be a boon for sales, since DPSU can require purchase to get points.

DPSU needs a sales boost. Total volume sales fell 2.8% to 2.27 billion gallons in 2002, following a 2001 decline of 1.3%. Flagship 7Up fell 7.8% to 283.8 million gallons in 2002; the full 7Up brand franchise (including dnL at 2.4 million gallons) dropped 7% to 365.1 million gallons in 2002, per Beverage Marketing Corp., New York City.

Liquid Loot bidders can carry over points from one auction to the next (points expire in March 2004). DPSU and FairMarket can watch how players accrue points and what they bid on to cull demographic and lifestyle information.

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