Holmes Report 06 May 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
In the fall of 2009, Verizon was prepared to launch its FiOS television and Internet services in the Pittsburgh market; it sought to generate a high level of visibility and enthusiasm for its products in order to drive residents to sign up for FiOS immediately. Verizon sought to capitalize on Pittsburgh’s passion for their Super Bowl winning team, the Steelers, and show residents that their favorite athletes endorsed Verizon FiOS as the best way to experience sports. The term “Man Cave” had increasingly entered the vernacular as an expression for a special room in an individual’s house which provides sanctuary from the rest of the world, a place to enjoy the best in technology and entertainment: two words synonymous with Verizon FiOS.
Statement of Challenge or Opportunity
As a provider of high quality entertainment content and the best service through which to enjoy that content (Internet and TV), Verizon tasked Winning Strategies to develop a campaign that positions these services and the Verizon brand together to consumers in the Mid-Atlantic market. The campaign sought to provide an online platform where potential consumers would engage directly with Verizon and each other, allowing Verizon to gather additional data on these consumers that could later be converted into sales leads.
Winning Strategies engaged in intensive pre-campaign research on social networking sites and NFL fan sites to thoroughly saturate the market populated by Steelers fans with messaging that promoted participation in the contest. We assembled lists of fan sites devoted to Ryan Clark , “friended” Steelers fans on Facebook, and “followed “ Steelers fans on Twitter, encouraging them to friend and follow our own pages on those sites. This planning supplemented traditional research into geographic targets such as event listings and local blogs. Finally, we conducted media training with all three spokesperson athletes – two of Clark’s teammates also served as spokespeople for the contest -- ensuring that client messages were interwoven with football talk during media interviews.
Verizon tasked Winning Strategies with developing a communications campaign to promote the launch of its FiOS television and high speed Internet service in the Pittsburgh, PA, area. Specifically, the campaign needed to:
• Make a memorable impact upon its initial debut in Pittsburgh, standing out from a crowded television/Internet market in order to generate a high level of visibility and enthusiasm for Verizon’s products
• Communicate the FiOS brand as the leader for technology and entertainment, particularly as having the highest quality for watching sporting events at home
• Generate tangible sales leads
• Build a strong base of supporters across a wide swath of demographics
• Imprint FiOS as the brand of choice of the City’s beloved football team
Winning Strategies wanted Pittsburgh residents to fully experience the potential of all that Verizon FiOS had to offer. By launching FiOS with a high impact media tour headlined by a celebrated athlete, Verizon could immediately associate itself with another brand inextricably linked with Pittsburgh pride: the Steelers.
The Steelers connection would get the public’s attention, but we still needed to communicate the brand. We launched an interactive contest with prizes that gave potential consumers a taste of all the benefits of Verizon. All messaging emphasized that that Verizon wanted to give Pittsburgh families the opportunity to have fun, bond with their loved ones, and enjoy top notch entertainment and sports with the best technology available.
Promotion leveraged the Steelers connection and the attractive contest prizes. Local media and sports bloggers enjoyed having the opportunity to interview a Steeler – especially non-sports outlets such as morning radio music stations. Player appearances at public locations such as malls supplemented the outreach, and the combination of celebrity and prizes made the contest naturally appealing for fans to spread among their friends online.
Execution: Winning Strategies created an online video, filmed in Ryan Clark’s own “Man Cave,” which delivered the message that everyone, not just world famous Ryan Clark, deserves FiOS.
The video promoted the contest website “There’s No Place Like FiOS” http://demo.noplacelikefios.wsits.com/mancave/. Participants entered by uploading photos or videos explaining why they should win a “Man Cave Makeover.” Visitors voted for their favorite participants, and the person accumulating the most votes won.
Fan Favorite prizes such as autographed footballs, electronics and game tickets were awarded regularly to top vote-getters. Hundreds of participants received a value-add, from the opportunity to meet a celebrity, get his autograph or take a picture with him, to receiving a special prize for uploading a video or photo online.
The campaign leveraged social networking through paid advertising and seeded messaging on Google Adwords, Facebook and MySpace, plus football fan sites, blogs and Twitter. Constant updating of Facebook and Twitter accounts kept fans apprised of event details. Pay per click advertising on these sites enabled us to geo-target audiences, focusing on individuals who were searching for Steelers and other Pittsburgh-centric terms.
The initial launch included a media junket with Ryan Clark, an exclusive Meet the Fans event, and autograph signing at a local mall. Media coverage from Day One alone garnered over half a million impressions in print, buoyed by a lifestyle front page feature in the market’s top daily newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and its website, post-gazette.com. Furthermore, Day One coverage was seen by 90,000 television viewers and heard by 802,000 radio listeners, with over 10,000 Web page views in the first two days.
The contest registered over 1,300 participants. There have been 14,500 visits to the website and over 140,000 page views, with over 300 entries to the contest. Impressions from Facebook alone totaled over 14 million. Earned media impressions included 1,156,700 in print; 21,856,520 online, 123,000+ television and over 2.5 million radio.
Verizon’s Director of Marketing MidAtlantic Mark Adams said that the campaign achieved their typical 6 month FiOS TV penetration rate in less than 45 days with a lower budget then traditional marketing. The campaign even drew the interest of PR Week, which included a case study in its Campaigns section in the May 1 edition.