RealTime Media to Draw Online Traffic From the Checkout Line

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RealTime Media is attempting to draw grocery shoppers online in an experiment that likely will have supermarket chains across the country watching.


Beginning Sept. 30, consumers will be notified in supermarkets that they can win $500,000 by visiting Try4more.com. The main communications vehicle will be a lighted billboard, created by Frontline Marketing, Stamford, CT, which will feature tear-off sheets with the Web address.


The billboards will appear in ShopRite, Safeway and Vons stores in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington. Three stores from each market will participate in the two-week test.


Depending on the success of the campaign, the company will look to expand the effort nationwide, said Eric Ruth, senior vice president of sales and marketing at RealTime Media Inc., Wynnewood, PA.


"We're going to check and manage response rates. We will go nationwide after we get the response from this controlled environment," said Ruth. RealTime specializes in instant-win and incentive-based online promotions.


Ultimately, the company plans to e-mail coupons to consumers to corral them back into the supermarkets.


"We want to drive them from their stores to the Web and then [figure out] how can we turn the corner to get their opt-in e-mail addresses to drive them back to the store," said Ruth. "We want to complete the cycle."


This type of turnkey effort is just the beginning of things to come, said Bernadette Tracy, president of NetSmartAmerica.com, New York, a marketing research and consultancy firm. "RealTime Media has taken Internet marketing to yet a new level of convergence. The Internet is a goldmine for innovative marketers. This company has just scratched the surface."


The key to the experiment, according to Ruth, is whether or not the promotion will drive everyday shoppers online once they return home. "We know we can drive them back to the store," he said. "We're very concerned with driving them offline to online."


Tracy thinks the monetary prize will be motivation enough. "The bait is going to be quite appealing," she said. "The incentive is there. Especially since they're piggybacking on that show, 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire.' "


Once consumers log on to Try4more.com, they can play an online scratch-off game for a shot at the grand prize as well as a number of smaller prizes.


Frontline's in-store, main aisle marketing signage reaches 6,000 households an average of 2.5 times per week.


RealTime Media's clients include Ford Motor Co. and Microsoft.
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