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Jockeying for Exposure

  |  January 8, 2004   |  Comments

Viral marketing. Associate advertising. Cross-media integration. How Jockey turned paper snowflakes into global brand exposure.

Happy New Year, media buyers! With the holidays behind us, it's time to review some of 2003's great online initiatives. We can learn a lot from others' successes. The knowledge gleaned can often be applied to your own campaigns. I offer you a case study to get you started.

Just before the holidays I heard about an interesting marketing program that experienced considerable success. It involved an online interactive application accessible via a microsite. The program borrowed on a familiar traditional holiday theme not normally associated with the Web: making decorative paper snowflakes.

In December, comfort-apparel manufacturer Jockey sponsored "Make-A-Flake," an interactive snowflake maker. The Macromedia Flash application was created by Lookandfeel new media, Jockey's interactive agency of record, and was reportedly employed "in the spirit of integration."

Make-A-Flake complemented Jockey.com's direct mail holiday campaign, with its focus on comfortable holiday traditions. Site visitors could create their own virtual paper snowflakes and save them to an online gallery, the same way arcade gamers can post their high scores for other players to see.

The snowflakes could also be shared via email, a function that introduced a viral component to the program. Viral marketing has long been coveted for its ability to increase visibility and boost interaction with online contests and promotions. The Make-a-Flake program was no exception.

By the end of December, the site had generated more than 1.8 million snowflakes, 1 million of which were created in that month alone. Buzz about the program spread, with participants spanning the globe. As the holiday season neared an end, the microsite boasted just over 1 million total visits and 17.4 million page views.

How does an interactive snowflake-making tool help promote a brand like Jockey? Associative advertising. Jockey.com's sponsorship of the application gave Jockey advertising access to the microsite's home page throughout the holiday shopping season. It was able to post its logo there, along with a special offer for free ground shipping on purchases at Jockey.com when customers referenced the Make-A-Flake promotional code.

Though results have yet to be released, we can reasonably assume the high volume of visits to the entertaining site, combined with the global exposure Jockey received, had a significant, positive branding effect. That seems to be what Jockey was vying for. The company reportedly said it hoped visitors who enjoyed the Make-A-Flake site would think of Jockey when it came time to shop for pajamas, underwear, and activewear.

Amazingly, neither Jockey.com nor Lookandfeel did any outside media buying to promote the program. Two email messages were sent to a house list of about 1,500 names to announce the application's availability. Word of mouth took care of the rest.

By sponsoring Lookandfeel's application, rather than developing its own, Jockey evaded a costly investment. The viral component allowed Jockey's marketers to stretch their ad budget (given the time of year, it may have been small). As an effort in cross-media integration, the application was a welcome success.

Many opportunities truly exists online -- even beyond the range of media buying.

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Tessa Wegert

Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.

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