With about 98% of its "tens of thousands" of registered users being men, BetUS.com decided that giving people the chance to bet on pop culture news would draw in a new class of visitors not necessarily interested in sports or poker.
"It makes it more interesting to them," says Christopher Bennett, director of media relations for LT Baroda. "You realize there's a whole customer base that you're not tapping into."
Relying entirely on press releases and direct outreach to reporters, the campaign sought to track breaking news and entertainment stories and offer odds on them - for example, whether Fidel Castro would live out the year or what rap star would be the next to get arrested outside a nightclub. Reporters from various media outlets looking for an interesting fact to include in their stories might well give a mention to BetUS.com's latest proposition, or "prop."
Odds of 100-1 given on whether the apocalypse would occur on June 6, 2006, drew 500 media hits alone. "It was tongue-in-cheek, but it exemplified the importance of being part of the news cycle," Bennett says. "The average bet was about $15." Other props have also generated hundreds of media hits. In addition, the number of female registered users has risen from 2% to about 7%.
BetUS.com plans more of the same and may develop an entertainment "prop of the morning."
PR team: BetUS.com (Kahnawake, Quebec) and LT Baroda (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Campaign: Pop Culture Gaming
Duration: August 2005-ongoing
Budget: About $25,000