RAM: Parties on the House

Ever catch "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS? Parker Reilly wants potential clients to think of his new agency as the creator of customized "new stuff roadshows."

Reilly, who created the concept of listening parties back in the 1990s while at Polygram Records, facilitates brand parties for a variety of consumer products categories via House Party, his Irvington, New York-based firm.

The buzz marketing agency recently threw a round of parties for NBC to kick off the season premiere of "The Biggest Loser." The strategy, essentially, is to get huge fans or brand fanatics to host in-home gatherings. Lured by product goodies -- in this case, a preview DVD of the show -- consumers register to host parties online. They register directly through the House Party Web site or through a link on clients' sites. Beyond the pre-launch buzz, marketers may contact party guests who are required to register online through a House Party e-mail invitation.

Reilly says marketers' costs start at $100,000 for 1,000 parties. In addition to promoting tv shows, house parties can be used in advance of a movie or DVD release, or to launch new consumer packaged goods, Reilly says. "The Biggest Loser" turned out to be a big winner: The show came in No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings among the House Party target of 18-to-49-year-old females.

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