Under the category of “teaching an old dog new tricks”, an article in today’s New York Times might be of interest to those working on an Association Facebook and/or Twitter strategy for 2009. None other than the giant direct-mail sweepstakes firm Publisher’s Clearing House has announced it’s plans to plunge into the digital pool by asking contestants to check their Twitter accounts and iPhones to see if they have won the sweepstakes. According to the Times article which quotes Alex Betancur, the general manager and vice president of PCH Online Network “The objective is to bring young customers into PCH’s world.” The Twitter contest will offer a prize of $100 a month to participants who register on a designated Web site. The iPhone applications will include two games: PCH Slots, a slot machine, and PCH Trivia, which poses questions about entertainment, history and sports.
In a comment somewhat reminiscent of the GM’s advertising slogan, “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile” Mr. Betancur is quoted as saying that many young people view the PCH sweepstakes as “It’s kind of my parents or my grandparents that play that”. He’s hoping that a younger generation might be atracted by fresh prize ideas. “The whippersnappers may not necessarily be all excited about $1 million, said Mr. Betancur but they would maybe be excited about guest starring on ‘The Real World’ or something like that.”
I’m not so sure about calling potential new customers “whippersnappers” but then again, I’m not so sure about the PCH business model in general given the charges of deceptive marketing practices in the early 2000. Surely Associations can do better. Well, what about it Whippersnappers?