Chrysler, in partnership with Clear!Blue, sought a fun, new way to promote its Dodge Ram 1500 during National Truck Month in March.
They decided to leverage the popularity and already-present news hook of March Madness and create a basketball dribbling endurance contest that would invite consumers to demonstrate their on-court toughness.
"[After] brainstorming with the client, [we] wanted to link [the Ram] to March Madness, knowing that folks were passionate and it was a good fit with the target audience," says Andrea Wood, chief client officer at Clear!Blue. "A long-lasting and tough product, the target audience relies on the pickup truck in many ways, and an endurance contest has a long lasting and tough message with a link to basketball."
The firm planned a national event at Morehouse College in Atlanta, aligned with the hype of the Final Four, luring participants with a Dodge Ram prize.
Using tools like LinkedIn and Yahoo message boards, the team researched the best ways to reach potential participants. Chrysler partnered with a sweepstakes vendor to launch a registration Web site and used social media tools such as MySpace to generate online discussion about the event.
The Web site drew 100-plus contestants and the winner dribbled for more than 16 hours. March 2007 Dodge Ram truck sales rose 33.7% from February. The contest garnered more than 21 million media impressions, including footage on CNN and ESPN.
"We had great quantity and quality of contestants," says Carrie McElwee, Chrysler's senior manager of brand communications and marketing PR programs.
Clear!Blue plans to support the Dodge Ram for 2008 with new marketing and PR programs.
PR Team: Chrysler Group (Detroit), Clear!Blue Communications (Chicago)
Campaign: Dribble for a Dodge
Duration: February-March 2007