Although the stickers are offline, the hunt to find them begins on the Web, in a pure-play online branding campaign for Budget, dubbed Up Your Budget. The campaign is blog-centric--the contest is centered around the UpYourBudget.com blog; contest participants are allowed blogs of their own; and the vast majority of the promotion for the contest was done with advertisements on blogs, largely through the BlogAds network.
The contest is simple: Video clues are posted in the main UpYourBudget.com blog, hinting at where a sticker might be found in a city. The first person to find the sticker and call the 800 number printed on it wins $10,000. The caller must also upload a picture of themselves finding the sticker to the Hunter's Blog--which they receive access to when they register for the contest. The contest spanned four weeks and 16 different cities, from New York to San Diego.
"They came to me in August and said, 'we want to do something viral, we want to do something with blogs'--and by October it was online," said campaign creator B.L. Ochman. "It has exactly been pure-play online, and we've gotten some really wonderful pickup."
Scott Deaver, Budget's chief marketing officer, said the entire contest and promotion--including the $160,000 in prize money--cost less than a single 30-second spot on a highly rated TV show. According to BlogAd's tracking numbers, the campaign, as of Thursday night, recorded 19.9 million impressions on 125 different blogs, garnering 56,446 clicks at a cost of roughly 25 cents per click. The campaign kicked off Oct. 24, and will end today. The ads ran on major, big-name blogs like Gothamist.com, CityRag.com, and Metafiler.com, as well as smaller-name blogs like TheDailyWTF.com, TonyPierce.com, and YouAintNoPicasso.com.
"That was the point, to try some grassroots stuff and try some of the smaller blogs. We wanted to reach a really broad population," said Ochman. No matter what blog you're looking at, if it's consistently reaching its audience, it probably has some loyal following there."
Sarah Fay, a media buyer with Carat Interactive, said the engagement of the audience is precisely the benefit of advertising on blogs. "Blogs in themselves are interesting because of how engaged users are in their participation," Plus, Fay noted, Budget's campaign worked well on the blogosphere because the company made itself part of the community by building its own blog. "If you're going to take full advantage of being on a blog, you want to demonstrate you're in the world of the blogger," she said.