Sierra Vista Herald and Bisbee Daily Review, two daily papers in Arizona.
Becky Bjork, the paper’s Advertising Director, needed a way to increase her ad sales. She was planning her Christmas seasonal “Buy Local” campaign and wanted to find a way to make advertising in the Sierra Vista Herald and Bisbee Daily Review an irresistible proposition for local merchants. She thought some kind of game or contest could make a compelling case for selling ads by maximizing the advertising effectiveness. Next question was – HOW.
Through a Google search, Bjork found BestBingoPromo.com and saw that some of her colleagues in Mankato, MN were already clients. After doing her homework and talking with some other BestBingoPromo clients, she thought this might just be the ticket for what she needed. Creative juices started flowing and she came up with a really different twist on the game that got the community visiting local merchants – and local merchants happy to pay for the opportunity!
Instead of announcing the call numbers in the paper, they gave a number to each of the local sponsors. A player took his bingo card to each of the sponsors. If that number appeared on the player’s card, the sponsor marked it with a Santa Claus dauber. Advertisers recognized the value of advertising that was interactive and required readers to seek out their business and visit their store. Becky Bjork hoped to sell 55 sponsorships – and they ended up with exactly that. It was a diverse group of sponsors that ranged from dog groomer to Boys and Girls Club to restaurants to jewelry, furniture and hardware stores. Then Bjork and her team kept the remaining 20 possible numbers to publish in the paper as “teasers” and to get the game rolling.
The month leading up to Thanksgiving was their Christmas Kickoff. Each of the sponsors committed to ads in 4 or 5 sections of the Vitality, the newspaper’s glossy magazine, in order to participate in the Bingo contest. The sponsor package included being listed in The Vitality along with space for listing unusual gift ideas from that sponsor. A dog groomer listed gift certificates for pet grooming, doggie spa gift basket, a restaurant listed gift certificates for a romantic dinner, hardware store listed tool kits and gardening gift sets – which gave each advertiser a double bang for the buck.
All of the covered Bingo cards had to be mailed in for a drawing by Dec. 16. Prizes were gift cards from the sponsor of their choice and the Grand Prize was $1000 gift certificate from the mall.
The paper got great response from the sponsors! The hardware store reported an average of 12 people a day who came in with a bingo card, about half of whom made a purchase.
The Boys and Girls Club said people came in and actually made donations when they saw the important work going on there!
Many readers reported that they were glad to have an opportunity to explore the community and found local shops that they didn’t even know existed before.
Ms. Bjork said she thinks that her Bingo Promotion was so successful that she would like to run another one this coming year and might think about signing up the mall as a sponsor and creating an event at the mall for the drawing of the Grand Prize winner.
What it means:
It means that we are continually surprised at the creative ways people modify the bingo game to accomplish their goals. Just when we think it’s been done just about every way that it can be done, we hear about a new one! If you are sad about sagging ad sales or sorry circulation, let’s talk!