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History Pounds the Pavement

Reasoning that its new series Ice Road Truckers would appeal to motor-sports enthusiasts, The History Channel drove a promotion that placed the series face to face with NASCAR fans.

At the stock-car circuit's recent races in Dover, Del., and Sonoma, Calif., content from the series was taken right to consumers via Adwalkers. Trained “brand ambassadors,” wearing vests equipped with video screens visible in bright sunlight, wandered the Dover International Speedway and Infineon Raceway, offering to show clips from the series to racing fans.

According to Adwalker U.S. regional CEO Matt Fine, 40,000 fans viewed clips in Dover. Consumers were given a bumper sticker reading “Ice Cold Mother Trucker” after viewing the preview on the worker's vest, so the company can give an accurate count of “engagements” to a client based on the number of stickers workers handed out, according to Fine.

The viewing screens can be programmed with content of any length and can be set up to display graphics to attract passersby to view the streaming content on an on-demand basis. Fine said the units can also be programmed to download content to consumers' iPods on the fly, to print coupons or to capture personal information for lead generation.

The latter capability was used last year by Comcast, which hired Adwalker to staff the opening of the Comcast Pavilion at the Palace of Auburn Hills at the tipoff of the Detroit Pistons' last basketball season. The Adwalkers attended the first five home games, collecting leads from consumers who expressed interest in broadband services.

The Adwalkers were also dispatched to the University of Michigan and Michigan State University as students returned to class, to promote broadband services there, Fine said.

The Spanish-language network Telemundo is also an Adwalker advocate, sending workers to regional festivals where the network is a title sponsor. The bilingual content includes clips from shows.

At events that occur just before the debut of a new series, the workers can print out a date-and-time viewing reminder to leave with a consumer after the clip is viewed.

Fine said the cost of an Adwalker campaign varies according to the number of employees deployed and the information provided to consumers. He estimated, however, that the cost per engagement for The History Channel campaign was under a dollar per consumer.