Case Study: Mercedes touts racing linkup with an eBrochure

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To build awareness of its Formula One sponsorship, Mercedes-Benz USA hit the Net with an eBrochure developed by MindArrow Systems, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

The objective was "to emphasize their involvement with the Formula One racing circuit but also to spread awareness of the name Mercedes," said Mike Pennell, VP-marketing at MindArrow, which uses its Web-based platform to create eBrochures, highly compressed files that allow recipients to get messages and view video clips without players or plug-ins.

"It's basically like a little Web browser," Mr. Pennell said. "It provides background graphics and images behind a video image," allowing recipients to click through to various sections of a Web site or sign up for information.

The Mercedes eBrochure -- including a video clip of Formula One racing, a message from Mercedes inviting recipients to sign up online for a sweepstakes and a call to action asking them to forward the message to their friends -- was sent in September to 43,000 people who opted in to receive information from Mercedes via its Web site (


Of those who received the eBrochure, nearly 13% clicked through to Mercedes' site to sign up for the automaker's "Formula One Ultimate Thrill Sweepstakes," which offered a trip for four to the 2000 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix in Indianapolis.

That response rate mirrors that of most of MindArrow's eBrochures and is significantly higher than "a typical direct mail response rate of 1.5% or even opt-in e-mail rates of around 5%," Mr. Pennell said.

"The goal was to get the message sent to as many people as possible," he said, adding that, on average, close to 30% of all recipients pass the eBrochure on to someone else.

"In many cases, that's the best way to get your message to the right audience," Mr. Pennell said. "People who know you determine that this might be of interest to you and forward it on to you."

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