"Sex and the City" fans could win a chance to walk in the footsteps of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha--hopefully in Manolo Blahnik shoes. Online movie ticket site Fandango this week launched a sweepstakes with promotional partners American Airlines and The Westin hotel.
Chosen at random, the winner receives airfare for four on American Airlines, a three-day, two-night stay at The Westin New York at Times Square, along with a "Sex and the City" Hotspots tour, courtesy of On Location Tours. Fans also get a chance to visit many of the locations where the movie and TV series were filmed such as St. Patrick's Cathedral, Bryant Park and Mr. Big's apartment.
Fandango's marketing efforts range from email blasts to online ads. More than 3.3 million consumers began receiving Fandango's weekly newsletter this week filled with information on the sweepstakes. The email also details tidbits on new films and top box-office openers. Ads will run on parent company Comcast Interactive Media's Web sites such as Game Invasion and FEARnet.
Consumers also will see promotions for the sweepstakes on social network sites Facebook and MySpace. Media buys are being made on numerous Web sites through 24/7 Real Media. Fandango will post information about the sweepstakes on "Sex and the City" message boards, along with New York travel sites.
"We expect the promotion to get a lot of word-of-mouth buzz, too," says Ted Hong, Fandango's VP/marketing. "In a lot of markets Fandango has become a verb, where people say 'Hey, go Fandango the tickets, and I'll meet you in front of the theater'."
A poll launched on fandango.com Tuesday received more than 1,000 responses in the first day. Sixty-nine percent of women participating in the poll say they will see the movie in a group, and of those, 85% say they will get together before or after the movie. "They are seeing the movie as a social event," Hong says.
During the next few months, Fandango will launch a host of sweepstakes tied to summer movies about two weeks before each opens in theaters. Summer sweepstakes include trip giveaways in June for "Get Smart," "Love Guru" and "Wall-E." "Dark Night" is scheduled for release in July, and "Tropic Thunder" in August.
In a promotion for the opening of "Get Smart," consumers may have a chance to win a nine-day trip to Russia. "I'm not sure where we're sending people for the 'Wall-E' sweepstakes, since we can't send anyone to Mars," Hong laughs. "For 'Love Guru,' we might send someone to Toronto or India. Most travel locations have not been finalized."
Typically, the studios releasing the movies pick the promotional partners that provide the trips and accommodations for Fandango's sweepstakes. Sometimes the airline will provide airfare for a promotion if the studio shows the airline in the movie, Hong says.
The movie from New Line Cinema, which Warner Bros. acquired, has sparked a marketing frenzy from a host of companies, including Mercedes-Benz, Skyy Vodka, Swarovski Crystals, Air Canada, W Hotel, and NYC & Co., among others. NYC & Co., the city's tourism office, launches a Web site this week to help tourists plan "Sex and the City"-themed visits to New York.