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A Day At The Fair

Published by: Promotional Consultant

The Creative Factor, Inc. Spins Out Carnivàle Incentive

By Audrey Sellers

There’s amusement to be had for all at a carnival. There are spinning, flashing rides, whimsical music and, of course, icy snow cones. These things came to mind when Lynne DuVivier, president of Westport, Connecticut-based The Creative Factor, Inc. (UPIC: CREATEIT) was approached by HBO to develop a campaign for its show, Carnivàle.

“HBO gave us the concept—they wanted us to create a program using what they called a Carnivàle Fun Kit,” says DuVivier. “They sent a creative brief to different promotion agencies and left it up to each individual agency to develop a creative concept for the campaign.” DuVivier says HBO is a very sophisticated marketer, so she knew she and her team had to develop an attention-grabbing promotion and execute it flawlessly in order to be awarded this project.

The goal was to motivate 70-80,000 customer service reps (CSRs) working at cable companies all over the country to upgrade existing basic cable subscribers to add HBO premium service. The top five percent of CSRs would receive a Carnivàle Fun Kit—something DuVivier must create.

“CSRs have to achieve and really exceed their goals in order to be in the top five percent—it was no easy task,” DuVivier says. “Our overall goal in developing the top seller campaign is to come up with something unique enough to motivate behavior. It had to be something CSRs would work really hard for and be interested in winning.”

DuVivier said the first step was to watch videos of the show and become familiar with it. “The theme was given to us, but everyone who was given a brief had a different idea of what a fun kit would include—that made it interesting,” she says.

Thinking of what would motivate CSRs, while incorporating a carnival theme, DuVivier developed her version of a Carnivàle Fun Kit. It included everything a CSR would need to have an old-fashioned carnival experience at home: a three-foot snow cone machine, a vintage-looking, fully-functioning AM/FM radio complete with an operating Ferris wheel mounted on top.

The Carnivàle Fun Kit, which included a snow cone machine, vintage radio and Ferris wheel, motivated sales reps to upsell HBO programming.

Although Carnivàle wasn’t a hit series for HBO and has since been cancelled, the campaign generated a huge response. “HBO didn’t expect large numbers on this project because it didn’t have the wow factor of some of their other shows,” says DuVivier. But she says HBO received 25 percent greater field participation from cable affiliates in the campaign than what they had projected based on their historical data. This was attributed to the uniqueness of the promotional tie-ins.

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