AOL Bites into the Big Apple with Concert Benefiting Schools - Event Marketer

AOL Bites into the Big Apple with Concert Benefiting Schools

DB_AOL_2004 Ex
Brand: AOL
Agency: MOMENTUM WORLDWIDE
Awards: EX AWARDS — BEST SINGLE-MARKET EVENT (CONSUMER)
Year: 2004

If New Yorkers are talking about it, everyone’s talking about it—which is exactly why AOL cruised into the Big Apple to get folks talkin’ about the new 9.0 Optimized version. At the center of the AOL Concert for Schools campaign was a free Dave Matthews gig on Central Park’s Great Lawn, but the campaign began in the street long before the stage lights went on. “We went out to capture New York’s attention in a big way,” says Momentum ceo Chris Weil. “And that’s exactly what we did.”

With the promise of donating $50 for each New Yorker who signed up for AOL service to schools, the program started with guerilla marketing teams street-tagging more than 15 locations and 570 subway cars, then traveling through all five boroughs distributing 9.0 Optimized CDs in branded uniforms, on Segways, and from AOL-wrapped SUVs.

Street teams used Pocket PCs to scan the CDs—one in four recipients instantly won two tickets to the concert (an online second-chancer proffered additional tix; consumers could also buy access to a VIP area at the event). Radio and newspaper partners chimed in with giveaways and branded mentions of their own.

On the day of the concert, 900,000 New York Posts were given away free to the public “courtesy of AOL” with 20 pages of editorial on the concert and a 9.0 Optimized CD inside. Matthews talked up the show with Katie Couric on television while Infinity Radio partners set up live remotes from the lawn.

“This was so much more than a single event,” says Hope Berschler, director of brand marketing and promotions at AOL. “I honestly believe this was a landmark event that raised the bar of what an integrated online and offline campaign can be.”

A solid 98 percent of tickets distributed were redeemed, with 85,000 people attending the concert and 82 percent of attendees showing a strong satisfaction for AOL and the event. More than 60,000 CDs were given away, 750 million impressions garnered, $2 million in donations secured for area schools, and 591,000 concert videos streamed online.

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