The Wichita Eagle Teams up with Local Radio Group for their Pro Football Contest
The Wichita Eagle and their website, Kansas.com, took part in Second Street’s 10th pro football contest. The Eagle is owned by the McClatchy Company. Its former VP of advertising, Marty Carry, is a 12-year veteran of sports contests, beginning with ballot boxes at auto dealerships and evolving to a digital event.
Wichita is not a professional football franchise market. The concern was if Kansas.com users would take part in strong enough numbers to generate excitement, traffic and response for advertisers and sponsors.
The promotion for their Pro Football Contest included a print double truck each Friday before the game, with 2×4 (SAU) display ads bordering a weekly highlight of each advertiser’s and sponsor’s picks. More than half of the advertisers were auto dealers.
“That advertiser pick was really the hook,” Carry told us. “The auto guys loved that exposure. It was an ego thing.” Included on the double truck was a four-inch-deep banner of NFL newsroom coverage.
The online component, beyond tile ads, included a WePicks.com side tile box for all the double-truck advertisers. A larger display at the top of the landing page rotated the advertisers. Each was also encouraged to provide coupons. Having several reader and advertiser contests happening simultaneously kept everyone excited throughout the 22 weeks.
A weekly bonus question and random drawing for a Papa John’s Pizza, with a fill-in-the-blank grid on the landing page helped drive consumer response to advertisements.
Printable merchant coupons displayed their Pro Football Contest logo so merchants could track their response.
The Pro Football Contest brought The Wichita Eagle $84,745 in revenue from 12 sponsors and advertisers, and 1,100 player participants.
Why the Wichita Eagle Pro Football contest was successful:
- It was promoted heavily outside the Eagle’s own products, in collaboration with a radio group whose stations included country and rock, as well as restaurants, a travel company and a local movie theater. “We gave the radio group a spot on the page that they rotated between each station,” said Carry. “Five of their DJ’s made picks every week. They promoted with spots and bantered about it.”
- Sales incentives motivated the Eagle staff. “If you tell the rep they’ll make $100 or $150 from every sale, it really helps,” said Carry. From local travel agency Air Capital he solicited four $900 trip-for-two vouchers, one of which became the award for the Eagle’s top sales performer.
- News stand rack cards and table tents for all sponsor locations helped promote the contest.
- All print ads were sold for the full 22-week period.
“One of the beauties of UPICKEM is that the system works for you,” said Carry. “Some of you might have done this in the past and Chevy dealer X never turned his picks in on time. We told them that if they missed the deadline to pick we were going to make their choice the most popular pick. UPICKEM made that easy to see. UPICKEM has been a savior for us, to make this a manageable contest.”