‘Schooled’ the Word for Advertisers

Apr 25, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Searching for a different approach to reaching consumers, several local advertisers in the Albuquerque, N.M., designated market area signed on to sponsor “Get Schooled,” a touring affiliate ad sales promotion modeled after the “American Idol” competition. But instead of crooning songs, the contestants engaged in Word Slam! a new vocabulary game from GSN.

“My clients have become more demanding of cable and all the media in terms of value added, since they are trying to beat their competition in many cases with diminished budgets,” said Karen McCallum, media supervisor for agency McKee Wallwork Henderson, Albuquerque. Her client, Audi of Albuquerque (formerly Premier Motorcars), displayed an Audi at last year’s event, a promotion that “gave them good exposure,” she said.

For the “Get Schooled” promotion, more than 10,000 people showed up March 5 at Cottonwood Mall to compete in the promotion or to cheer on the contestants and get a glimpse of host Kimberley Locke, a finalist from the second season of “American Idol.”

The area interconnect, run by Comcast Spotlight, signed seven sponsors for this year’s tour stop, including talent agency John Robert Powers, Apollo College and fast-food chain Del Taco.

In the three years Del Taco has been in the market, “Get Schooled” is the most successful promotion it has participated in, said John Hurley, general manager of Comcast Spotlight New Mexico. “It had about a 60 percent increase in its [local cable] spending for 2005 from 2004,” he said. “Our total [revenue for this event] from local sponsors was approximately $100,000, new and increased.”

The sponsors set up booths around the perimeter of the event and passed out coupons and prizes. GSN, jointly owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Liberty Media Corp., also gave out prizes, including Sony MP3 and DVD players. The grand prize winner, 16-year-old Bill Medina, won $10,000 toward college tuition and an opportunity to play for an additional $25,000 in tuition money at the 2005 “Get Schooled” championship.

Regarding ad revenue across the board, Mr. Hurley would not reveal specific numbers but said, “We are having a better year [than last year] and are on budget or a little over.”