Volvo Runs First I-TV Play During NCAA Tourney

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Volvo Cars of North America is taking its first step into interactive television advertising with a spot promoting its new S60 sedan on WebTV and AOLTV during the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.


Volvo is running its "Road to the Volvo S60" on a variety of other media, including banners, wireless ads and traditional television ads, to weigh the effectiveness of each medium.


"We are using all platforms so we can have an apples-to-apples comparison of mediums all running the same campaign," said Phil Bienert, manager of customer relationship management and e-business at Volvo Cars of North America, Rockleigh, NJ. "When these technologies become more widespread, we will know which are most effective."


Another goal of the campaign is for Volvo to build an opt-in database of consumers for additional S60 promotional campaigns. The company plans to use opt-in consumer names for future e-mail and direct mail marketing campaigns, Bienert said, adding that it is too early to discuss potential campaigns.


During the interactive television ad, viewers can click on an icon that links them to a Web site describing the sports sedan's features and allowing them to enter a sweepstakes to win the car and tickets to the Men's NCAA Final Four 2001. The winner of the car will be announced via a Webcast on the S60 promotional site during the championship game April 2.


"Our approach at Volvo is to go where our customers are. They are higher-educated and high-income and usually the first to adopt new technologies," Bienert said.


Volvo is running banner ads on CBS SportsLine.com that link viewers to www.revolvolution.com, which details the S60 and features an application for the car sweepstakes. The Web site also requests that consumers tell how they heard about the sweepstakes so it can measure responses to the various media.


Volvo is sponsoring NCAA content on CBS SportsLine's wireless Web page. The company also is sponsoring NCAA tournament scores on go2.com's wireless Web sites, www.go2.com and www.go2hoops.com, at which users can enter the car sweepstakes from a personal digital assistant or wireless phone. A full-color promotional video on the S60 sweepstakes is available on Pocket PC PDAs at www.pvairguide.com.


Volvo is targeting the sports sedan to upper-middle-class, college-educated buyers age 35 and older, Bienert said.


"NCAA fans are usually college-educated, higher-income individuals that are watching their college alma mater fight it out on the basketball court," he said.


Volvo compiled a database of 300,000 opt-in consumers through a co-promotional sweepstakes for an S60 on America Online in October, through which consumers were upgraded to AOL's 6.0 service. The campaign delivered more than 27,000 sales leads to showrooms nationwide, Volvo said. Bienert would not disclose sales or marketing goals associated with the new campaign.


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