E-Cards as Branding Vehicles
E-cards are nothing new, but SharedGreetings e-cards, launched yesterday, will be sponsored by advertisers and will include a sweepstakes element to induce consumer excitement. Everyone who sends and receives the cards will automatically qualify for a sweepstakes with prizes that come directly from the advertisers.
The first participant is Nestle USA, the package goods giant that is using SharedGreetings e-cards to support Verybestbaking.com, one of its four content sites. "We want to improve our CRM initiatives online and card sending gets closer to the consumers and you can learn about them," says Ken Crites, Nestle's e-busines marketing director in Glendale, CA.
The e-cards, which can send about 200 different kinds of greetings, some containing Nestle content, like recipes, contain plenty of Nestle branding elements. There are pictures of products such as Toll House and Carnation on the e-card border and tag lines relating to the sweeps, such as "Win exciting Nestle prizes."
Consumers click the card offer at Verybestbaking.com and are transported to the SharedGreetings page, although it looks like a Nestle page. "They built a private label e-card system for us," Crites says.
SharedGreetings serves the e-cards for Nestle and gathers information on the senders. "We capture their names and e-mail addresses when they send the cards with an opt in area at the end of the process," says James Fahey, ceo of SharedGreetings. Once they opt in, they are asked additional questions about their interest in Nestle products.
Nestle will get a database of names it can continue to communicate with to push holiday baking and other products.
SharedGreetings has signed another major package goods client it isn't able to name yet, as well as the New York City Opera (nycopera.com).
SharedGreetings made the deal directly with Nestle, but is working with agencies and media buyers on other deals. "At least two of our deals have involved media buyers and other deals will involve agencies and media buyers," Fahey says.
Nestle doesn't buy banner ads. Its only other online vehicle is content integration, placing branded recipes on sites such as Cooking.com and Allrecipes.com. The same recipes will appear on the e-cards.
Nestle is using the e-cards to reach an audience outside the scope of some traditional advertising. Verybestbaking.com surfers come from the fifteen million households that bake from scratch, most in rural homes with non working moms. "It's 'c' and 'd' counties outside the reach of a typical media buy," Crites says.