DMNews spends a few minutes with Michael Cahan, account director, sports and media, Vibes Media
Q: What is the history of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, in regard to mobile marketing?
A: Vibes does many different programs with the Penguins, in-venue, on broadcasts — a lot of it is basic text-to-win. They had a mobile provider before us that they weren't happy with. We work with more than 40 professional sports teams, so we have experience in this area.
Q: What is the background for this specific campaign?
A: One of the Penguins' marketing objectives was to reach out to a younger fan base in the Pittsburgh area. So they developed a Student Rush Club, which was designed to reach students on college campuses in the area. They wanted to reach out to this fan base and target them with compelling offers.
Q: What did they decide to do?
A: On [star center and number 87] Sidney Crosby's birthday, anyone who was a member of the cell phone database got a text message that said [paraphrased], “Be the 87th texter to win autographed memorabilia from Sidney Crosby.” This wasn't a way to garner more fans for the database, this was a way to communicate with that database.
Q: How did the team build the database of cell phone numbers?
A: They had calls to action placed in college newspapers in the Pittsburgh area, as well as some other sign-up promotions.
Q: What were some of the results of the campaign?
A: The response was through the roof. They had several thousand people in the database who received texts, and had a 90% response rate within the first hour.
Q: Do you think that Crosby's star power was key to the promotion? What other takeaways are there?
A: I think they could do it periodically [with other players], but when you're talking about the brightest stars, of course, you're going to get a better response. They were talking to a loyal and avid fan base and they asked them to respond in a timely manner. That's the true recipe for success in any mobile program. Kids are chomping at the bit to have this kind of interaction with the team. When you're talking to that database and giving them anything of value from any member of the team, you're going to see a response rate that's fairly representative to what we've seen here. I think it was stellar.