CINCINNATI - Procter & Gamble Co.’s Old Spice brand gave away Super Bowl packages worth more than $20,000 this week to people who called a phone number written on a legal pad by an actress in its new Super Bowl commercial.
The contest wasn’t promoted, but the company expected people to call. So, they recorded five messages that were randomly played for more than 2,000 calls so far. Two lucky dialers were surprised by Super Bowl trips.
“We spend most of our time trying to entertain guys and build brand loyalty,”said Kate DiCarlo, spokeswoman for the Old Spice brand, which is using the pregame hype to launch a new line of shampoo. DiCarlo wouldn't say whether the contest is over.
"We do like to surprise our fans," she said.
The ad has recorded more than 550,000 views on You Tube.
It's a well-tuned technique at P&G to generate buzz from new commercials. The company garnered millions of "consumer impressions" on "Thank You Mom" ads tied to its Olympic sponsorship and Pantene's new "Shine Strong" campaign promoting gender equity. Consumer impressions represent the number of times a consumer sees marketing messages in advertising, social media or news stories about its ads. The buzz helps P&G stretch ad dollars further.
The Old Spice shampoo launch is part of an integrated marketing campaign that has already racked up 700 million consumer impressions, P&G Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller told analysts last week.
"Most of these are earned or free impressions generated through traditional and social media," Moeller said.
The contest is getting media attention - traditional and social - from multiple outlets, including Buzz:60, an online publication where Scott Knowlton is a producer. And a ticket winner.
“I saw this girl, giving her number to a guy in the commercial, turned out it was a real number. So I called it,” Knowlton said in a Buzz:60 You Tube feature. "And I got Super Bowl tickets."
P&G told Knowlton its Super Bowl package was worth $11,000, including game tickets, air fare, three nights in a four-star hotel at Times Square, $500 for expenses and $2,500 to cover taxes on the package. Knowlton passed on the free flights because he lives in New York.
He said P&G didn't ask for his company to produce stories on the contest or promote it on social media.
"They just told me I was extremely lucky," he said.