Bolt.com's Promotions Go Wireless

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Bolt.com, a destination Web site for teen-agers and young adults ages 15 to 20, is seeking to work wireless communications into its marketing mix through a number of summer promotions.


The site plans to leverage its sponsorship of both the Vans Warped Tour and the Gravity Games to educate its audience about how they can use wireless devices to access "Bolt Everywhere." Through this initiative, consumers can access BoltNotes, Bolt Tagbooks, BoltPolls and other personalized content such as horoscopes.


Bolt's booth space at each event will have staff available to register new members via WAP-enabled cellular phones and to illustrate the capabilities of Bolt Everywhere. Each booth will be equipped with 15 phones.


"We'll be giving potential members the experience of the site from the tent. We will be teaching them about Bolt Everywhere," said Michael Guth, vice president of marketing at Bolt Inc., New York.


A second component of the site's wireless push is its "Stay Connected This Summer with Bolt" sweepstakes. An anchor tenant at America Online's Teens Channel, AOL's teen-age members are encouraged to introduce their friends to aol.bolt.com. Teens that introduce five friends to the site will be registered to win the grand prize: an Ericsson R28OLX phone and a year of service for themselves and the friends they introduced. One group of six will win the grand prize.


Three groups of first-prize winners will also be randomly selected. These winners will receive Motorola pagers and service plans for a year. Ten groups of second-prize winners will get $10 Bolt gift certificates. The sweepstakes kicks off today and runs through June 30. "Bolt is about communicating with teens and helping them communicate," said Guth. This was the site's first promotion on AOL, and more will likely follow.


Other community-minded promotions have been created around the site's event participation. For example, the site held a contest for members to design Bolt T-shirts, which would be sold at its event booths and Web site. Bolt received more than 400 design submissions. The final 10 designs were voted on at the site. The two winning shirts were selected Wednesday. The winners will receive $100 for their designs and $1 for each sold T-shirt, which costs $12.


Additionally, staff members at these events will snap digital photos of attendees and post the pictures at the Clean & Clear-branded photo flip book at the site.


The goal of the site's participation in the Vans Warped Tour and the Gravity Games is to reach consumers where they play.


"Rather than focus on one particular place and [tell] teens what's relevant to them, we're trying to get involved at all of the places that they see as relevant," said Guth. "We're casting a wide net to tap into and be a part of their experiences."


The Vans Warped Tour is a punk-rock music festival that kicks off in Fresno, CA, today and runs through Aug. 6. It hits 39 markets in the United States and Canada. The site also is running a ticket giveaway sweepstakes at www.bolt.com for all 40 Warped Tour shows -- 10 tickets are being given away for each concert.


The Gravity Games take place in Providence, RI, from July 15-23 and are slated to air on NBC in the fall. Bolt will support its presence at the alternative sports event with a variety of radio and print ads.


Bolt has more than 2.5 million members from more than 200 countries.
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