Response was so heavy the first day that traffic to the campaign's website (roomadaygiveaway.com) crashed the server. Kimberly-Clark had benchmarked traffic generated by similar live promotions to determine its bandwidth needs, but it needed to increase bandwidth tenfold to meet the traffic needs generated by "The View," said Laura Keely, director-brand promotions for Kimberly-Clark.
36 million page views
In the end, the sweepstakes, which gave away $25,000 room makeovers, ended up generating more than 5 million entries, "which is huge," Ms. Keely said. The site got 36 million page views. And "The View" event generated twice as much profit (even given a bit of extra bandwidth expense) even as the overall cost was lower than the prior group promotion anchored by the free-standing newspaper coupon insert, she said.
In terms of web traffic, Room a Day Giveaway appears to rank among the stronger efforts of the year by package-goods marketers, according to Alexa.com data, with traffic appearing to top that from Unilever's well-supported effort for Dove Cream Oil body wash, which included a consumer-generated ad contest culminating in an Academy Awards ad.
"We saw significant increases in our retail support and our dollar volume," she said. Needless to say, Kimberly-Clark has reupped with "The View" for a second go-round this year, having kicked off the program on the show Jan. 14, with winners of 15 $25,000 room makeovers to be announced each weekday on the show between Jan. 28 and Feb. 15 and a final winner to be announced on the website.
Not ready to commit
Even so, Ms. Keely isn't ready to commit to "The View" integration becoming a permanent fixture in Kimberly-Clark's first-quarter marketing plans. One factor to watch is whether the campaign will make the same impact once the novelty has worn off. Alexa data indicate Room Day Giveaway has gotten off to another strong start by industry standards, though yet to reach the traffic peaks generated last year, which actually occurred weeks after the server-crashing debut.
This year's effort, of course, lacks the song-and-dance routine from former "View" host Rosie O'Donnell, who, besides generating plenty of controversy, became something of a star performer for brand integrators in search of enthusiastic live pitches. Instead, this year Sherri Shepherd rounded up giant walkabout packages of Kimberly-Clark brands off the streets of Manhattan, including Scott and Cottonelle toilet paper, Depend and Poise incontinence products, Kotex feminine pads and Goodnites and Pull-Ups training pants.
Besides the brand integration, K-C is supporting the sweepstakes with TV, magazine, radio and online ads this year, as last, along with retailer-specific tags for chains participating in in-store promotions, including Meijer supercenters in the Midwest.
The dancing packages featured on "The View" also show up online via widgets that allow people to decide which package, which dance and which location (such as Times Square or the beach) they want them to dance. The widget campaign broke with bloggers and on Facebook and MySpace prior to the appearance on "The View" to help build buzz, along with e-mails to those 5 million entrants from last year.
"What we really did right with this program is that we really covered all the bases," Ms. Keely said. "It's fully integrated." But of all the pieces last year, including a national ad in Parade magazine, nothing appeared to drive traffic to the site like the kickoff on "The View."
"That was what really generated all that interest on the first day," she said, "when we had the bandwidth issues."