Catch and win bowls fans over

ON THE MONEY: Michael Morton, centre, celebrates his one-handed catch to win $100,000 at Seddon Park in Hamilton on January 8.
ON THE MONEY: Michael Morton, centre, celebrates his one-handed catch to win $100,000 at Seddon Park in Hamilton on January 8.

When comes to marketing ploys, the Tui Catch a Million competition at Black Caps games was a winner.

About 20 per cent of the adult crowd took part in the promotion, with thousands of cricket fans turning up to the Black Caps one- dayers and T20 matches against the West Indies and India wearing Tui orange bullseye T-shirts - around 60,000 were distributed - and matching lanyards.

If a suitably dressed fan was the first at a match to cleanly catch a six with one hand they won $100,000.

Two people won prizes at the final tally, both at matches held in Hamilton.

DB's Tui marketing manager William Papesch said despite being called Catch a Million, $1.3 million was actually up for grabs - $100,000 at 11 games, plus two $100,000 prizes at the final one-dayer against India in Wellington last Friday.

"We expected catches to be taken but had no real idea how many."

Mr Papesch said the idea was seeded last summer at a Black Caps match, where fans were having fun with Mexican waves and bouncing beach balls around the crowd.

"This excitement was short-lived . . . [the challenge] was to think up an activity that would keep fans fully engaged throughout the whole game."

The resulting campaign went gangbusters. Sixty thousand T-shirts were produced and Tui expected most were either snapped up as free giveaways or bought (for $30 each) at stadiums or online, Mr Papesch said.

"Cricket fans really embraced the . . . promotion, with an average of one in five adults attending the cricket wearing an orange Tui T-shirt."

It was too early to measure the campaign's effect on beer sales, he said.

"When the final numbers are in we would expect to see an upswing in sales and brand equity."

Professor of marketing at Victoria University Peter Thirkell said brand equity was a standard measure of success.

"Brand equity's a reservoir of awareness and goodwill that builds up. In time, all things being equal, that will transpire to higher market share, more sales, and people feeling better about this brand relative to other brands."

The competition had generated a "a feel-good effect" more pronounced than many would have expected from such a simple idea, he said.

"Everybody knows the chance of the ball coming right at them and . . . being able to catch it are quite remote but nonetheless it could happen.

"Everyone is pleased if someone catches it and even if they don't, there is a lot of fun."

Extensive coverage of the winning catches would have created more "brand visibility" than Tui expected, he said.

"The media coverage they got has been phenomenal."

The Dominion Post