1-800-Flowers Celebrates Birthday With Sandals

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1-800-Flowers.com Inc. celebrates the summer with an interactive "Birthday on the Beach" online game where players can win a beach vacation for six.

The promotion encourages participants to tell the five friends they would invite on the four-day getaway to play the game. It was done in partnership with Sandals Resorts and created and managed by interactive promotions agency ePrize .

"We created a very simple game with a powerful viral incentive," said Ivan Frank, executive vice president of sales and development at ePrize, Pleasant Ridge, MI. "A lot of viral campaigns are designed as kind of on the edge, and they only reach a few people. This campaign is designed around celebration, and it has a wider appeal."

The promotion marks 1-800-Flowers' 30th anniversary and runs through Sept. 5. The winner will be announced Oct. 5.

"I'm hoping to get 100,000 players," said Karen Fiore, brand communications senior manager for 1-800-Flowers, Carle Place, NY. "It's a bit of a lift. Our previous campaigns average around 75,000 players but we're getting behind this more and running it longer."

Along with the online campaign, offline tactics combine the resources of Sandals and 1-800-Flowers including handouts and signage at resorts, direct mail, e-mail and radio promotions.

"It's a cooperative effort [between Sandals and 1-800-Flowers]," Ms. Fiore said. "It's going to drive traffic to them, and it's going to drive traffic to us. We've learned the importance of working with a good brand."

The game is played at www.1800flowers.com/beachbirthday. Visitors register and click on the candles of a virtual birthday cake to try to win instantly. Winners choose a Sandals Caribbean resort location for their trip. Players who do not win receive a $5-off coupon for a future 1-800-Flowers purchase. Other prizes include free flowers or savings at 1-800-Flowers.

Security features are built into the promotion page including image security to ensure the presence of an individual user. Also, postal address verification limits registration to one player per household and gives 1-800-Flowers leads for future campaigns.

Though the promotion is a straightforward online sweepstakes, the execution involved some finesse. Both the game page and the thank-you page incorporate animation like sparkling candles, rising smoke, a crashing ocean wave and a windsurfer.

"It's really important to balance simplicity and excitement," Mr. Frank said. "We wanted to create value for the consumer and make it easy for people to participate."

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