White Horse Delivers with Columbia Sportswear Web 2.0 Fishing Promotion

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Backed by a targeted social media effort, the promotion achieved a 38% conversion rate--211% of the industry standard sweepstakes conversion rate. White Horse generated 120 free placements for the promotion to drive 75% of the contest traffic without paid advertising.

White Horse, a full-service digital agency specializing in Web 2.0 media convergence, thinks about digital media in terms of its ability to deliver a total customer experience -- not just through advertising, but also merchandising, social sharing, and even lifestyle. The agency creates unique Web strategies for clients around the convergence of brand touchpoints. The Reel Stories promotional campaign for Columbia Sportswear utilized the popularity of social media to cost-effectively connect the brand with its customers.

The six-week campaign for fishing enthusiasts ages 18 and up promoted Columbia's line of fishing apparel and gear. It featured a Columbia-sponsored athlete, world-renowned angling authority George Poveromo, who hosts a program on ESPN2.

The promotion's microsite showcased Columbia's Omni-Shade and Techlite technologies and invited visitors to enter a contest to win a dream fishing trip with Poveromo. To enter, users viewed four video clips of fishermen sharing "fish stories" and guessed which of the stories was a lie. White Horse created the video, which was hosted by Poveromo. Users could pass the video along virally or embed it in their own Web site.

To create buzz for the contest, White Horse seeded the video and/or contest information in three primary online channels:

  • Viral video sites
  • Fishing forums, primarily message boards -- frequented by the promotion's target audience
  • Sweepstakes aggregators, such as http://www.sweepstakesmag.com

The campaign drove 15,000 microsite visits with 5,680 entries and over 2,000 newsletter opt-ins. Those numbers produced a 38% conversion rate, much higher than expected (contests, as opposed to sweepstakes, generally average 15-20%). On average, contest entrants spent more than eight minutes on the site.

At least 120 free advertising placements came from the viral seeding, driving 75% of the contest traffic. A number of online news outlets and blogs such as The Connecticut Post, The South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, Florida Today, The Bahamas Guide, The Ethical Fisherman, The Outdoors Notebook, and the World Fishing Guide picked up the contest.

About White Horse:
Founded in 1980, White Horse is a privately held digital agency with headquarters in Portland, Ore. It was recently named to the Inc.com 5000. Forrester Research has identified the agency as one of the top five Web design agencies in the nation that uses personas to inform Web marketing and Web design. White Horse's client roster includes global, national, and regional clients, including Wells Fargo, Celestial Seasonings, Columbia Sportswear, KinderCare, and Nike. The agency specializes in B2B and B2C Web marketing for retail and consumer brands, healthcare, and B2B companies. Its services include Web strategy, social media marketing, Web advertising and media buying, Web promotions, e-mail marketing, Web site design, Web development, and usability.

For more information, visit http://www.whitehorse.com or call 1-877-471-4200.

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Cheryl Metzger

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