The customized deal is a direct result of an "upfront" conducted by Heavy for the first time this year, and the game is being used to launch a new positioning for the Australian beer in the U.S. with the tagline "Crack open a friendly."
"We generated huge interest in product placement and other sponsorship deals [via the upfront]," said Heavy co-CEO Simon Assaad, who worked with Foster's agencies, WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather and Publicis Groupe's Starcom, to create the mating game for the beer brand.
"A partnership like this isn't about impressions," said co-CEO David Carson. "We take time to get to know a brand and then incorporate their message into the production process, which raises awareness dramatically."
Heavy scoured the Outback in search of 10 "sheilas," Aussie slang for unattached females, to take part in its "massive mating game" that mirrors the TV classic "Dating Game," but on a grander scale. Beginning Aug. 16, for three weeks visitors to Heavy.com can watch pre-produced videos of the 10 sheilas talking about themselves in a "Dating Game" style. Viewers can vote to determine which women they like best.
Then, for an additional two weeks, viewers will be sent personal questions via text message, ostensibly from the women. Finally, one lucky lad will be awarded a trip to Las Vegas to meet the most popular women.
About a quarter of Heavy's revenue comes from such customized content, Mr. Assaad said, while the loud graphic ad that dominates a good portion of the site accounts for about two-thirds of all advertising revenue.
This year Heavy will increase its production of original programming tenfold, to 600 segments, the chief executives said. Along with the dating game, Heavy is spinning off its popular channel, "Teriyaki Strips," which features Asian animation, into a separate site. Additionally, Virgin Mobile has already attached itself to another original Heavy creation, "Behind the Music That Sucks."
Heavy is also using the dating game to launch MyHeavy -- a community for sharing user-generated and commercial video along with personal information. Like many web portals and publishers today, Messrs. Carson and Assaad are betting on MyHeavy to mimic the massive traffic-generating magic of MySpace and YouTube.