SuperStakes Says Bigger Is Better

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Though the online promotions field has been somewhat tumultuous of late, 360i.com thinks its new SuperStakes division has a business model that will thrive in any environment.


The company's strategy - "bigger is better" - is to create far-reaching sweepstakes supported by multiple sponsors. By having more than one company involved, it thinks it will be able to afford extensive media buys and create eye-catching, effective rich media banner ads.


The company's first offering, running Nov. 15-Dec. 10, will be promoted via 75 million rich media banner ads and 1.4 million Superstitials. It will offer consumers the opportunity to win $10,000 in holiday cash.


"Multisponsor promotions are how we feel we can get the media weight up to where it needs to be," said Chip Cipcic, director at SuperStakes, Atlanta. "We saw sweepstakes with 20 million impressions. We didn't think that was enough, hence we brought in more than one sponsor to make the budget big enough to buy [75 million-plus] impressions. Promotions have to be supported by media."


SuperStakes is making its entrance at a time when a number of companies' marketing budgets are drying up. The pinch has been felt by a number of players, including Promotions.com, which is arguably one of the leaders in the field. Promotions.com laid off 13 percent of its 180-person staff earlier this month in an effort to conserve cash.


Cipcic is not concerned with other companies' troubles. "We're entering into a specific niche that no one is filling now," he said. "We see significant opportunity in this space."


To reach its holiday promotion's core target audience of women, ages 25 to 44, the Superstitials will run on sites such as Essence.com and ModernBride.com. The rich media ads will run on a large variety of entertainment, shopping and other affinity groups throughout the DoubleClick network. "Rich media creative works better for online promotions," said Cipcic.


The $10,000 prize offer will remain consistent, though the company plans to test as many as three types of banner creative and two Superstitials. Some of the banners will feature a bag of cash that bounces across the ad. It will incorporate sound as the bag explodes sending money flying throughout the ad. "It's like [the] 'punch the monkey' concept," said Cipcic. "The objective of the creative is to maximize click throughs."


When the ads are clicked, consumers are taken to a splash page where they can enter to win the prize. Once they complete the entry form, they are presented with a "thanks for entering" page. Here, they are given the opportunity to enter five of their friends' e-mail addresses to earn more entries.


The sweepstakes will help sponsors build their brand as well as acquire opt-in e-mail addresses. The company estimates that 150,000 to 200,000 consumers will opt in to receive more offers.


The company is in the midst of pulling in four program sponsors, although none had signed with 360i at press time.


SuperStakes is a division of 360i, Atlanta, a full-service, interactive advertising, marketing and public relations agency. It will be spun off into its own entity within the next three to six months.


In the first quarter of next year, SuperStakes will become a sweepstakes portal where consumers can enter a variety of sweepstakes. Flash animation and short films will be added to create a complete entertainment destination.
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