Charter-Mag Rack Contest Clicks

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Looking to build awareness and boost Mag Rack viewership while driving use of the Charter Communications Inc.'s free on-demand service, the parties combined last October on “Click to Win,” a sweepstakes element exclusive to the video on demand platform.

The effort earned Rainbow Media Holdings Inc.'s Mag Rack and Charter a second-place distinction in the free category of CTAM's On-Demand Case Study Competition.

The sweepstakes, developed shortly after Charter had launched Mag Rack in four markets, were aimed at breaking through the clutter and stimulating tune-ins for the customized on-demand service. The primary target: digital subscribers who had not yet sampled VOD or Mag Rack.

Secondarily, the campaign aimed at analog customers, to entice upgrades to digital.

What emerged: A tailored local promotion open only to ZIP codes within Charter's digital coverage areas, featuring a grand prize of a home-theater system, including a 42-inch plasma TV. Every view of a Mag Rack program counted as a single entry for the grand prize.

The campaign, led by Mag Rack senior vice president of marketing Beth Sanford and Charter corporate marketing director Robert Ladd, deployed a number of tactics. Mag Rack branding spots ran in September 2004; a complete training program was implemented that month for Charter customer service reps, installers and technicians in the four markets; direct mailers hit the homes of targeted digital subs; cross-channel spots touted the sweepstakes throughout last October; a CSR “Mystery Caller” incentive program in October motivated and ensured that customer reps were mentioning Mag Rack.

Owing to these and other efforts, Charter and Mag Rack exceeded expectations. Mag Rack scored a 140% jump in viewership that October, topping its 40% benchmark goal. The following month, Mag Rack retained a 23% increase in viewership over its September baseline average.

As for Charter, supervisors reported that this endeavor was the MSO's most successful mystery-caller program to that point and its most successful VOD marketing tactic in 2004 overall.

Click to Win, now known as “Mag Rack Watch to Win,” is now an integral part of the service's launch plans going forward.

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