1-800-Flowers drops ball for New Year's contest

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1-800-Flowers.com and Waterford Crystal have teamed for a holiday campaign that gives online game players a chance to win a trip to New York to ring in the new year at the 100th anniversary of the Times Square Ball drop.

The effort comes in time to promote holiday sales, 1-800-Flowers.com third-biggest season after Mother's Day and St. Valentine's Day.

"The Christmas holiday is a big sales time and represents our longest season," said Karen Fiore, director of customer engagement and promotional partnerships at 1-800-Flowers.com, Carle Place, NY. "We can fill last-minute orders. When all of the stores are closed, we are the last man standing as far as gift giving is concerned."

The Holiday in New York Sweepstakes lets consumers opt in to receive communications from both Waterford Crystal and 1-800-Flowers.com in exchange for a free entry in the contest and the ability to play interactive games.

The campaign, which began Nov. 20, offers the trip for two to New York for the New Year's party in Times Square. The trip also includes New York specialties like dinner at Junior's Cheesecake, a $500 shopping spree at Macy's and seven Waterford Crystal panels from the Millennium Star of Hope Times Square Ball that will be retired this year.

Players who register on the www.1800flowers.com/holidayinnypromotion home page will see a digital version of the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball countdown. The game asks the player to click a button and stop the spinning prize wheel. The wheel then decides whether the player is a winner and directs the player to the tell-a-friend page. The last page on the promotion gives losing players a $5-off coupon on the flower retailer's site.

The promotion is marketed with radio spots for 1-800-Flowers.com as well as on the 1-800-Flowers.com home page and on Waterford Crystal's home page at www.waterfordcrystal.com. Both retailers are sending marketing e-mails to existing customers.

"These interactive games are a great way to engage the customer," Ms. Fiore said. "If they play, they can win a great prize, and it is great for lead generation for us."

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