Wrestlemania Lures Fans Into the Ring

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The World Wrestling Federation, Stamford, CT, will know by the end of this week if the more than $40 million it spent on the marketing campaign for Wrestlemania 2000 put it in the winner's corner or on the wrong end of a body slam.

"This is our most ambitious marketing campaign for any pay-per-view event to date," said Rob Ross, director of pay-per-view marketing at the WWF. "Wrestlemania is our Super Bowl, and last year, there were about 800,000 buys for the event. And we are obviously looking to exceed that number." WWF will be waiting for word from cable systems, which will get returns and numbers from yesterday's event later this week.

The campaign, which included direct mail, print, TV, radio, e-mail, billboards and a blimp, directed people to call their local cable providers and order the event. Some portions of the campaign started in January, while most of the direct mail pieces went out in March.

The 1.5 million direct mail pieces were shipped by local cable providers throughout the country. The WWF designed and printed the four-fold piece. Pay-per-view advertising and promotions agency Team Services, Woodbury, NY, distributed the pieces to the cable providers.

The piece opens up to a 17-by-22-inch poster of more than a dozen WWF superstars and a listing of all the WWF pay-per-view events in 2000.

"The piece is a keeper that kids or whoever can put on their walls and from there, it will act as a reminder and advertisement for the rest of the pay-per-view events throughout the year," Ross said. "The piece is also a turnkey program for the cable providers and doesn't require them to do much other than mail it."

It also contains a gift-with-purchase offer for a "Best of Wrestlemania I-XV" videotape. In order to get the piece, consumers have to mail in their cable bill as a proof-of-purchase.

Aside from requesting that people order the event on pay-per-view, the piece directs them to the WWF Web site, www.wwf.com, where they can get more information on the "Wrestlemania: All Day Long" event, which included backstage interviews and reports leading up to the event itself.

The WWF gave cable providers a blank panel on the outside of the mailing where they can place any type of self-promotional message that they want.

The campaign included a full-page ad which runs in today's USA Today. TV and radio spots also ran throughout the month of March. The WWF airs nine hours of programming a week and promoted the event during that time, as well as on networks and channels such as NBC, CBS, USA and the Comedy Channel. Radio commercials were aired on the Sports Fan Radio Network, as well as during the Howard Stern morning show.

Starting in early March, e-mail promotions for the event took place in the WWF's weekly newsletter, the Full Body Press, which has more than 800,000 subscribers.

This year, Wrestlemania is being held in Anaheim, CA, and a billboard of WWF Superstars has been up on the Sunset Strip for the past few weeks. On the day of the event, a blimp dubbed the Wrestlemania Air Ship will be floating over Southern California promoting the event. Both directed people to call their local cable providers and order the event.

Special supplements also run in both of the WWF's magazines, Raw and the WWF Magazine, in March.

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