February 11, 2004, 12:00 AM

Reebok.com’s “Terry Tate, office linebacker” strikes again

Last year’s Super Bowl TV ad drove millions to Reebok.com to register to see a 4-minute streaming video clip. This year, that database helped drive similar traffic in the same timeframe--without TV.

Athletic shoe manufacturer Reebok has streamed its commercials on Reebok.com before, but last year’s Super Bowl TV ad, the first to be so tightly integrated into its marketing efforts, drove millions to its site. Building on that, Reebok has been able this year to drive similar traffic to Reebok.com in the same timeframe--without having to run a spot during the Super Bowl, says Marc Fireman, director of interactive marketing.

Fireman says last year’s 60-second TV spot that introduced the character of “Terry Tate, office linebacker,” drove viewers to Reebok.com to view a 4-minute streamed video on the same character. To see last year’s 4-minute video, site visitors had to register. As buzz about the TV spot peaked after the game, Reebok.com was streaming as many as 20 video views per second and gathering six to eight registrations per second.

Content accelerator Akamai Technologies Inc., which Reebok already was using to deliver rich media on the site, helped the site perform consistently in delivering the video streams as traffic surged. Ultimately, the 4-minute on-site video generated about 20 million views and built a database of 1 million people who’d registered as members of “Terry’s Hit Squad” to see the clip online.

Those who register receive information and promotions related only to the Terry Tate character. Though they’ve received offers of Terry Tate gear in e-mails from Reebok containing “news” of the fictional character and links to view new Terry Tate videos on the site, Reebok does not measure the program’s success in sales, says Fireman.

“We measured impact based on buzz, film views, time viewers spent in the site. It’s brand impact, and people were spending on average 15 minutes with the brand,” he says. “The first year was really a program to build buzz around Reebok to drive people back to the site, build brand recognition and get them to register so we could keep talking to them.”

This year, Reebok didn’t run a TV spot during the big game, but it did create a new 4- minute video around the Terry Tate character, which it promoted by e-mail to the “Hit Squad” database in the weeks before the game. This year’s video captured additional new visitors by skipping the registration requirement for viewing. “We wanted to see if we could use our database to drive traffic similar to last year over a certain timeframe, and so far, we are seeing that we have,” Fireman says.

Reebok also takes the opportunity both on the site and in e-mail communication to its “Hit Squad” database to offer them the chance to opt into other Reebok marketing programs, and that crossover has been high, says Fireman. Of respondents to one sweepstakes offer targeting the Hit Squad database, for example, 40% chose to also opt into another Reebok program.

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