Making the most of these valuable touchpoints, some marketers are also conducting a bit of consumer research during the online access process.
A case in point: Brown Forman's Five Rivers Wines label, which was introduced in January 2005.
In fall 2005, Five Rivers launched a 90-day multichannel "entertaining kit" promotion.
Bottles distributed nationwide bore "necker" promotional tags with attached goodies designed to help throw a successful cocktail party. Wine purchasers received coupons for food items appropriate for holiday party occasions, as well as a branded promotional card bearing a URL for a dedicated Five Rivers content portal and a PIN for downloading three music selections suitable for entertaining.
The cards also will continue to be distributed through the end of this year at the label's wine-tasting events.
Before downloading, users are screened for legal age and asked to answer five consumer research questions.
The promotion concept, cards, song content, branded Web site design and research/page view/redemption tracking capabilities, developed with and managed by online marketing company Dropcards, generated good activation rates and cost-effective consumer insights, reports Five Rivers Group Brand Director John Tichenor.
"All of the promotion components reinforce our brand," says Tichenor, noting that the design of the promotional Web site mirrors the label's home site, and the cards showcase a picture of its bottles. "The ability to learn more about the consumer during the process was an added attraction."
Nissan, Energizer and Chevy Racing are among the other brands that have employed Dropcards for campaigns involving digital content offerings, sometimes using their own content, sometimes cutting deals with artists through the marketing firm.
Vitaminwater is currently promoting its flavor bearing Kelly Clarkson's name through products, available only in Wal-Mart, bearing PINs for downloading a song off the singer's latest album, reports Tom Corbett, director of business development for Dropcards, which also touts options such as viral marketing, online couponing and sweepstakes.