BET Sweepstakes Hits the Right Note

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Virgin Records saw 65,000 sweepstakes entries during the first week of a multichannel campaign to promote one of its recording artists.


Virgin, Beverly Hills, CA, began a campaign on BET.com two weeks ago to promote a new album by recording artist Aaliyah. A pop-up window on BET's home page featuring an image of the artist drove visitors to a registration page where they were required to input demographic information to enter. Sweepstakes entrants also had to watch one of BET's music video shows, "106 and Park," to get a password needed to enter the contest.


"We wanted to drive the most users possible," said Leyla Turkkan, vice president of music development at BET Interactive, which is owned by BET Holdings II, a subsidiary of Viacom. "This type of convergent marketing gives us an advantage because we're able to use the network to generate more entries for the sweepstakes."


The contest, which ends Aug. 17, awards one winner $20,000 and a 2002 Cadillac Escalade. Virgin and BET also are giving away $1,000 to one person daily. Entrants can enter the contest once daily.


Virgin aimed to reach BET's core demographic, urban people ages 12 to 25, through multiple channels.


"We wanted to get the best promotional bang for our buck," said Belviana Todmann, new media marketing manager for Virgin's urban division. "BET's got Web crawls, for example, while the video is playing, which drives traffic to the Web site. That's the type of synergy I wanted for my artist's promotion."


Turkkan said that BET, Washington, sent e-mails to its opt-in database one week before the campaign began to build publicity. The e-mails, which included links to the registration page, were distributed to BET's list of 350,000 opt-in e-mail names. BET also delivered 90,000 e-mails about Aaliyah to its opt-in list at 360hiphop.com, Turkkan said. Promotional information also was included in both sites' weekly e-mail newsletter.


No data were available yet on how many of the entries resulted from the e-mails, BET said.


Meanwhile, the contests let Virgin and BET gather marketing information for future campaigns.


"Collecting data is extremely helpful in our efforts to retain users," Turkkan said. "We know that certain people who have entered these contests are into certain types of artists, so we try to attract them to the site based on their participation in these promotions."


Similarly, Todmann said the opt-in data let Virgin build relationships with consumers, rather than starting anew with every promotion.


"It gives us a chance to reach out to this core group in an honest way, because they requested the information and welcome it when they receive it," Todmann said. "It also lets us build with them because we won't have to start from scratch on follow-up promotions."


Virgin and BET in April also teamed to promote recording artists Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey, among others, as part of a promotional series called Fan-tasy. The series of eight contests helped the companies gather 40,000 to 60,000 names, Turkkan said.


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