Interactive Media Specialist Intercepts Atlanta Thrashers Promotional Video

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The NHL's Atlanta Thrashers produced and promoted a video spot intended as a spoof PSA, directing viewers to youcantact.com. Rather than fulfill the campaign with a payoff at the URL destination, they allowed quick-thinking interactive design Jeremy Heilpern to snatch the URL and in its place leave a self-promotion apology letter on behalf of the Thrashers organization.

With just three games remaining in their NHL season, the Atlanta Thrashers put together an in-arena promotional video, intended to be a public service announcement spoof, shown in front of 16,027 fans in attendance Tuesday night (April 7th). The spoof featured prominent NHL stars both past and present, directing viewers to http://www.youcantact.com.

To the surprise of many of those viewers, when they attempted to visit http://www.youcantact.com they were greeted with an Earthlink link farm - the domain had yet to be purchased.

At this point, the video had made its way to YouTube, and was gaining the attention of fans and sports writers. This was when Atlanta-area interactive designer Jeremy Heilpern quickly snatched up the domain, and uploaded a quirky apology letter to visitors, inviting them to visit his online portfolio. His claim was that while he wasn't in charge of the campaign, he could be, and would have done a much better job, recommending that the Atlanta Thrashers should have instead created a micro-site as an engaging payoff for viewers.

Within only five hours of going live, Jeremy's portfolio site had increased in traffic by 3,250% and had received numerous emails from parties offering to purchase the domain, as well as emails simply dubbing the act as "awesome!"

While the Atlanta Thrashers hadn't intended to do anything with the domain, Heilpern saw it as a quirky PR opportunity, "The Atlanta Thrashers dropped the ball on what could have been a very engaging viral marketing campaign, for an already starved fan base. Those fans had something to be excited about, and even proud of. When you have the opportunity to get people so excited about something you've done that they are willing to talk about it, and even do the selling for you, it's imperative that you leverage that as much as possible. To me, this was simply a way to exploit that."

Heilpern was intent on proving that online movements are core to future business success. "In our current economic climate, anything we can do to arouse, engage, and excite our target audience needs to be leveraged as much as possible," Jeremy said. He continued, "In the case of the Atlanta Thrashers, it was complete oversight on the part of management, neglecting to go the extra mile and really get people excited. Today, with the power of the internet, coupled with the strength offered by social media, brands have no excuse when they drop the ball that is social engagement."

About Jeremy Heilpern
Jeremy is an award-winning interactive designer, specializing in adapting the interactive space to help meet the needs of clients' brand objectives. He currently works as the Director of Interactive and Atlanta-based Morrison Agency. His work has touched start-ups and emerging brands, to Fortune 500 companies, and even a US Presidential campaign.

Jeremy works with brand management and creative to design and develop engaging interactive campaigns. He shares his work, and insights, and jeremyheilpern.com.

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Jeremy Heilpern

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