Virgin has begun to build buzz through radio spots and an online ad buy that cuts across about 700 sites, according to Ron Faris, director of brand development and partnerships at Virgin Mobile USA. "Through radio, we have local outreach in the bands' hometowns," he says. "Once we know the winning band, we'll step up the deejay chatter."
Assessing the buzz generated from the promotion means monitoring the blogsphere, and social network and music sites. Virgin knows the number of people who click and download the voting widgets to place on their MySpace profiles. Based on the quantity of people who download the widget, Virgin assesses the viral promotion.
Gary Peterson, director of branding and advertising at Kyocera Wireless, says the company looks at the promotion as an opportunity to build awareness. The outreach targets 18- to-24-year-old music enthusiasts. Results from a survey conducted by Kyocera last year after participating in the promotion demonstrated that the "awareness and perception of Kyocera after being exposed to the brand increased dramatically," he says.
Aside from launching a microsite at kyocera-wireless.com/vfest/2008/, Kyocera introduced the Virgin Mobile Festival Special Edition Wild Card phone in May. Those who purchase the handset get special access to the Virgin Mobile Guest Lounge at the festival. Customers show their new handset for admittance to the special guest area. The limited-edition handset is available through July 31 exclusively at Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores for $99.99. The phone comes with 50 music downloads from eMusic and a one-year subscription to Spin Magazine. Last year fans cast more than a million votes within four weeks to vote ADIN into the No. 1 spot in the "Book the Band" promotion. Virgin determined the number of votes that converted into ticket sales by asking voters, if "your band wins are you interested in learning about a prize package if you attend the festival?" Consumers were required to enter an email address that Virgin used to connect with voters when the band won. Those who came to the festival got to meet the band in a private meet and greet.
Promotion and registration codes that let companies link the success or failure of a marketing campaign to an event provide another measurement method. Once someone votes and signs up, the brand can provide a code to give consumers a discount coupon to attend the event, says Peter Kim, senior analyst at Forrester Research. This tells the brand the amount of visibility the promotion drove.
Consumers also can vote by text message.
The five bands debut content selected by Virgin Mobile USA and festival producer I.M.P. on the Festival site at virginmobilefestival.com, as well as myspace.com/virginmobilefestival. Fans who check out the videos at virginmobilefestival.com also can stream original MP3s, read bios and vote for their favorite band, as well as buy tickets and get additional information about the festival. Voting takes place through July 21 and Virgin will announce the winning band, based on audience voting, July 24.