• February 1, 2011
  • By Juan Martinez, Editorial Assistant, CRM magazine

Game Show Network Marketing Link Heats Up Frozen Food Company

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Best-in-class marketing campaigns touch a large customer base with relevant material in an engaging, timely, and unique manner across all available channels. These campaigns win the loyalty of a company’s customer base and a mass of new fans.

When On-Cor Frozen Foods and Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide collaborated to develop the type of nationwide sponsorship campaign that would build brand awareness and affinity, they focused on the word “win” and joined forces with the Game Show Network (GSN), whose motto helped define the On-Cor marketing strategy: The World Needs More Winners.

When 23-year-old Sol Friend returned from military service in 1946 and started his own frozen food company, he drove the delivery truck himself. As his company matured, he realized that retail support would be critical to On-Cor’s success. To reach those potential partners, On-Cor products were promoted on TV and radio as early as the 1950s. Today Sol’s son, Howard, runs the family business, and On-Cor’s approach has remained the same.

For On-Cor, there was no better home for its promotion than GSN, explains Jaimie Flagg, general manager of Blue Chip Brand Marketing. Both companies target the same base—families—and try to evoke similar feelings. GSN represents fun family time and On-Cor meals are meant to be comfort food best enjoyed at a crowded dinner table, and both are meant to be enjoyed during prime time.

“With the economy, quality entertainment means staying home and having a family dinner,” Flagg says. “The families that stay at home together are the ones who play these [GSN] games together.”

Mindy Hamilton, vice president of strategic partnerships and promotions at GSN, calls On-Cor a premier partner. “Our passion points aligned,” she says. “We were both going after the same thing, and we both had the same messaging: further engagement, drive sales, and provide a unique rich engagement for TV and online viewers.”

The campaign, which the companies dubbed It’s Game Time with On-Cor, allowed participating customers to receive a year of On-Cor family-size meals and appear live via Skype on GSN’s Bingo Blitz, an interstitial one-minute program that runs during commercial breaks. Contestants of Bingo Blitz typically go to the game’s Web site, select bingo numbers, and watch the show to see whether their numbers will be selected.

The marketing campaign allowed families to appear on the show, where they could receive their 15 minutes of fame while expressing their love for On-Cor meals.

Blue Chip oversaw every aspect of the promotion, from helping with the creative process to establishing a Web presence to promoting the campaign via email and social networks. The number of people who had registered for Bingo Blitz online the day before the promotion was about 14,000. The day after the promotion, roughly 23,000 entries were made. At the end of the first week, there had been nearly 300,000 activations.

“This was a unique marketing program for us to execute because it was differentiated,” Flagg says. “Our objective was to excite the retailers (e.g., Wal-Mart) working with GSN…but we also wanted to show the value of On-Cor in a unique way by engaging customers and, because we showed different families every night, generating a sense of community [and the notion] that everybody ate On-Cor.” 

In addition, the campaign was supported the old-fashioned way: in retail stores right next to the freezer stocked with On-Cor meals. Flagg says, “When people went to the freezer aisle, they’d see On-Cor/GSN promotions to encourage them to get engaged with this program and participate.” On-Cor also ran traditional national TV commercials after the interstitial commercial to reinforce the products and brand messages.

At the end of the campaign, which ran from December 28, 2009, through June 24, 2010, On-Cor had generated 2.7 million digital impressions and 5,510 splash page clicks, and 3,800 families had entered to appear live via Skype on GSN’s Bingo Blitz. The average number of Bingo Blitz registrants rose from 18,044 to 32,749 per day.

“Blue Chip’s objective was to find a uniquely ownable engagement platform on which On-Cor could create an emotional connection to current On-Cor customers and to reach new customers,” Flagg says. “We definitely were able to do that with GSN.”

Hamilton agrees. “This was a wonderful partnership,” she says. Hamilton believes fans were drawn by something on which both companies stake their foundations. “What fans were offered is money-can’t-buy prizing,” she says. “We gave them a great meal and great entertainment.”

Definitely a winning combination.

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