Aztec virtual rally turns partners into players

Awards:...

Awards:

• Best use of interactive media (runner-up)

Agency/media company: M2 Universal

Client: Pontiac

Brand: Aztek

Media team: Peter Vaz, VP general manager, Laura Owen, planner, Brett Pearson, planner, Rosina Boodram, assistant, Albert Corpuz, assistant

Media budget: Less than $1 million

Media used: Internet

Timing: August through September, 2000

THE BACKGROUND

Pontiac was about to launch a totally different kind of vehicle in an undefined category and M2 had to start creating some pre-launch buzz. With a limited budget and no TV creative at the time, the media company set its eyes on getting consumers to visit a virtual online rally offering five Pontiac Aztek sport recreation vehicles as prizes.

The key to this campaign was an innovative presence on the Internet and the recognition that hooking up with strategic online partners would be necessary to drive traffic to the site.

THE PLAN

This was no ordinary contest. This was a virtual road rally offering participants a chance to get to know what Aztek was all about as they had fun competing against other racers to drive their teams’ virtual Azteks across Canada as many times as possible. Every crossing meant the team could enter another ballot for the definitely non-virtual grand prize of five new Azteks.

This was a winning promo, but people wouldn’t play if they didn’t know about it.

At the time, Survivor was topping water cooler talk, so M2 capitalized on the hype to draw adventurous types to the online rally.

To help promote the contest, M2 hooked up with premium Canadian online brands Sympatico.com, Canoe.com, GlobalTV.com and TheStar.com. Unique interactive ad formats featuring the Aztek logo were developed and placed on partner sites to drive traffic to Aztektrek.com. In return, the online rally drove players to the partners by requiring that they access specific content on those sites to earn ‘fuel.’

THE RESULTS

The online campaign successfully delivered four times the impact of a solo attempt thanks to the media partner sites, and all partners benefited as contestants were sent to their sites. The Media Metrix At Home study found that Aztektrek.com drew 96,000 unique visitors in August 2000 and 90,000 unique visitors in September. All in all, the effort delivered above-average yields for an online campaign.