Success Story: Homer Bingo is a Winner

May 2, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Max Media has shuffled its TV ownership in Great Falls, Mont. In November it sold its NBC affiliate KTGF-TV to Destiny Communications, and by December it became the owner of ABC affiliate KFBB-TV, the No. 2 station in town. But before the transactions, Max Media picked up a National Association of Broadcasters award for a KTGF ad sales promotion.

Homer Bingo was the brainchild of Linda Tracy, promotions manager for Max Media of Montana, which oversees six markets. Bingo has a large following in the market, Ms. Tracy said, so it seemed the perfect tie-in with the station’s relaunch of “The Simpsons,” whose family patriarch is named Homer.

Her creative team developed cards that spelled HOMER, instead of BINGO, across the top. The cards were available for pickup at various sponsor locations. To qualify as a pickup location, sponsors had to make a $2,000 advertising buy. Upward of 40 advertisers participated. Other merchants sponsored the prizes, which included a La-Z-Boy chair and a television. The grand prize was $5,000. Contestants were eligible to enter the drawing if, after hearing the on-air spots, they got all the tiles in a row or in the shape of the letter “H.”

“I was amazed at the response because [the game] was so complicated,” said Ms. Tracy. The promotion was so well received that the station ran it again to promote a back-to-back block with “Malcolm in the Middle.” The new cards still said “Homer” across the top, but a “Malcolm” graphic was in the center square. Also, cards that filled squares in the shape of the letter “M” made contestants eligible for the grand prize drawing.

The Great Falls designated market area is expected to pull in $5.8 million in TV ad revenue, down from $6.4 million in 2004, according to BIA Financial Network of Chantilly, Va.