Tipping off the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship tournament known as March Madness, sports supersite CBS Sportsline and automaker Oldsmobile have teamed up to create an integrated promotional campaign to help incent online users to test drive Oldsmobile cars.
Beginning this week, visitors to either the CBS Sportsline or the Oldsmobile Web sites can enter to win one of seven Oldsmobile cars in two sweepstakes--March Madness Car Craze or Oldsmobile's Men's March Matchup. The kick-off of the sweepstakes followed yesterday's online posting of the official brackets for the NCAA six-round tourney on www.CBSSports-line.com.
The strategic digital partnership between CBS Sportsline and Oldsmobile utilizes a mix of banner ads, buttons, pop-up interstitials and offline elements to promote Oldsmobile's exclusive sponsorship of the NCAA tournament brackets arena, a popular feature within CBS Sportsline's NCAA tournament coverage. A teaser online promo began in February to help drive traffic between the partner sites.
According to Mark Mariani, president of sales and marketing at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based CBS Sportsline, the deal lets the sports Web site function as a kind of "conduit" between CBS TV, which is broadcasting the tourney and is a partner with Sportsline, and Oldsmobile, which is looking to target qualified potential buyers. Mariani claimed that CBS Sportsline has proven itself as "one of the only products [on the Web] that speaks to a male audience during the work hours. That's a very valuable tool to a company like Olds."
While Mariani would not disclose financial terms, he said that executing an online marketing effort allowed Oldsmobile to do "something as big as this" without the high cost of traditional efforts. "The Internet allows us to market this message via e-mails, fostering daily contact with a very large audience," Mariani said.
As part of the deal, Oldsmobile has co-branded both its offline and online media with CBS Sports-line. Through an agreement with Chicago-based MVP.com, CBS Sportsline's e-commerce partner, qualified users who opt-in to an Oldsmobile marketing questionnaire receive a $50 gift certificate that is redeemable after a test drive.
Scott Humphrey, Northwest sales manager at CBS Sportsline, said, "The key thing for us is linking everything, making it a platform that is integrated across all media."
Mariani said that CBS Sportsline routinely delivers between 6 and 8 million unique users each month, adding, "We are uniquely positioned on a 24-hour basis to report live about the goings-on about sports."