The National Hockey League and NBC Sports Thursday unveiled a campaign that integrates Facebook, Twitter and national television on the New Year's Day broadcast of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
This year's NHL Winter Classic features two of the game's biggest stars as Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins take on Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field.
NHL and NBC are running very similar "watch and win" campaigns on both Facebook and Twitter, but they run in parallel, not integrated. NBC only supports the Facebook campaign.
Michael DiLorenzo, senior director of social media marketing and strategy at the NHL, calls the campaign a "watch and win" promotion that gives viewers a chance to win either a Honda CR-Z automobile, or trips for four to both Universal Orlando Studios and the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.
"We're running the social and broadcast integration to test the effectiveness and examine the data," DiLorenzo says. "It should grow our Facebook Fan base, because people must 'like' the page to play. It also will build a window into the event for those who may not be in front of the television."
Excluding Google, Bing and Yahoo, Facebook is the No. 1 site driving traffic to NHL.com. Those referred visitors watch more videos and read more articles. They spend three times more time on the site.
Social media agency Rocket XL designed the campaign for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The idea is to get fans to tune in and be engaged.
On Dec. 31, the NHL will run its first promoted tweet on Twitter to promote the campaign. For example, if Sidney Crosby during the game gets a five-minute penalty, the NHL may ask via Twitter: "retweet this message #winterclassic who just got a 5-minute penalty?" The first one to reply with the correct answer wins.
The live portion of the campaign gets underway once the first goal is scored during the day of the game and the question gets tweeted on Twitter, Rocket XL will run the names from the tweets to determine the winner.
Beginning Thursday, fans also can register to play by going to Facebook signing up and clicking on the "Watch And Win" tab. Fans come to Facebook to enter and upload a photo that could air on NBC the day of the game if they win.
NBC will run on-air television mentions throughout the day such as during the Rose Bowl. NHL introduces the drive to Facebook in some of the 15-second Winter Classic TV spots airing now until game day.
At various times during the game, a Facebook message will appear on screen selecting a lucky winner. The NHL will call the winner to answer questions related to the broadcast. If the winner answers correctly, he or she wins one of the prizes. The winning names and faces appear on NBC during the game.
"Aside from looking at how people interact in social communities, this campaign will determine how to leverage fans to influence connections from offline to television to Facebook or Twitter," says Eric Vieira, associate director at Rocket XL.