Digital Devices Play Music and Offer Interactive Advertising Connection

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NEW YORK ( -- To reach consumers in a place where they are most likely to be thinking about the product, Stolichnaya Russian Vodka is using Web-based jukeboxes in bars to survey vodka drinkers.
Ecast broadband-connected jukeboxes come in a variety of shapes including that of a traditional 1950s malt shop machine. Computerized displays provide the means to select and pay for music and also carry various sorts of Web-like advertising.

The spirits marketer has launched a high-tech campaign of polling ads within the digital-music-playing machines in seven major markets. The company believes the method may be more effective than Internet ads in reaching its target audience of males ages 21 to 29.

Broadband-music players
The jukeboxes, manufactured by Ecast, are broadband-connected, interactive devices with touch screens. They come in different sizes and shapes -- some look much like sterile computer stations while others have the traditional shape and "bubble architecture" of 1950s malt shop machines fitted with computer screens.

Users in bars choose among 200,000 songs in a catalog that resides on the Web. They pay by cash or credit card. Most of Ecast’s advertisers are music companies, but this year it has signed on Heineken and Stolichnaya’s parent, Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine Limited USA, said Chris Scott, senior director of advertising business development at the San Francisco firm.

It is a way to build the brand at point of sale, explained Ian Crystal, brand manager for Stolichnaya. “About 50% of our business comes from on-premises -- so it’s our strategic priority to be where it is sold,” he added.

'Impactful, fun and quick'
The interactive element is also crucial, Mr. Crystal pointed out, because the target

audience is typically involved with so many interactive activities, such as going online and downloading games. “Because it’s impactful, fun and quick, it makes it more likely that someone who might not fill out a survey would take 30 seconds to fill out this one,” he said.

The vodka placement appears as a Flash-technology, tower-ad unit along the left-hand side of the screen, after the user selects the artist whose tune they want to hear. When the user clicks on the copy, after asking if the user is of legal drinking age, it reads: “Help us choose the next Stoli vodka.” It gives the choice of possible flavors pomegranate, blueberry, caramel and passion fruit. After the user completes the survey, they see a thank-you screen that features a branding ad that says: “Go enjoy a nice Stoli and tonic.” The banner-ad units occupy about 40% of the screen. “We are going to use the survey results as part of our decision-making process [for the next new flavor],” Mr. Crystal said. In addition to the flavor choice, Stoli is going to track the ages of respondents.

Brand engagement for 30 to 60 seconds
With this promotion, the user is spending about 30 to 60 seconds engaged with the brand, Mr. Crystal said. Mr. Scott said that users typically take up to five minutes to sort through the many musical choices before making their selection.

Stolichnaya expects results to include a spike in sales and brand recognition. The company will take results into account during a brand-tracker survey it conducts quarterly.

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