Ohio marketers saw themselves squeezed out of local TV advertising during the race for the presidency. But local television stations, though pleased with the additional revenue the political ads brought in, found another way to satisfy their loyal clients and media buyers who were turning to the competition.
“I advised my clients to just stay away from television [during the tail end of campaign season],” said Susan Whitten, VP of media for ad agency Hart Associates in Maumee, Ohio. “We did other media.”
Part of that “other media” for some marketers meant Internet promotions offered by the TV stations.
“There wasn’t much more we could do,” said Bob Silver, local sales manager for ABC owned-and-operated station WTVG-TV in Toledo, Ohio, which signed up 10 specialty clients for an online Halloween promotion discussing safety and fun activities for the holiday.
UPN’s WUAB-TV offered an online promotion giving more than 40 viewers a trip to a haunted house, while Scripps Howard’s ABC affiliate in Cincinnati, WCPO-TV, used the Internet to give away tickets to a local event.
Fox’s WUPW-TV in Toledo offered “Fueled for Fun,” which encouraged consumers to scour its foxtole do.com site for the promotion’s logo, randomly hidden in a different location throughout the site every week. Once participants found the logo, they were to click on it, which took them to an entry form.
Prizes included four tickets to the Cedar Point amusement park, free gas and free sandwiches from Subway.
“Our hits went from 132,000 to more than 600,000,” comparing October 2003 with October 2004, said WUPW’s Brian Lorenzen, local sales manager at the LIN Broadcasting station. “Unique visitors were 750 a day compared with 200 a day last October.”
-SHEREE R. CURRY