REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 17, 1999 — The MSN TM Gaming Zone ( http://www.zone.com/ ) and Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn invite the public to vote for the paint scheme that will decorate the No. 26 Pop Secret/Cheerios stock car when it races in the Oct. 24 Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 in Rockingham, N.C. Visitors to the special sweepstakes site on the MSN Gaming Zone ( http://zone.MSN.com/popsecret/ ) who cast a vote are entered in the Perfect Pop Secret Paint Scheme sweepstakes for the chance to win a grand prize of $26,000 and a trip for two to the race.
The Perfect Pop Secret Paint Scheme sweepstakes is part of the Cyber Savings promotional collaboration between General Mills Inc. and Microsoft Corp. and is the latest in a number of high-profile events and promotions on the MSN Gaming Zone. Since the promotion began late last month, the sweepstakes has already drawn more than 70,000 online entries. Votes can be cast online or by mail through Sept. 18, 1999.*
In addition to casting a vote for their favorite Pop Secret paint scheme, visitors to the MSN Gaming Zone can get behind the wheel of the No. 26 Pop Secret/Cheerios stock car by viewing a 360-degree video from the MSN CarPoint TM online automotive service. The video provides a “surround” look at the inside and outside of the car.
“At the MSN Gaming Zone, we come up with creative, engaging events and promotions that help advertisers reach their target audiences and keep our 6 million registered members coming back for more,” said Adam Waalkes, product unit manager for the MSN Gaming Zone. “In the past year, members of the MSN Gaming Zone have won a trip to Rome, a Toyota truck, a chance to ‘dogfight’ in real planes, and the opportunity to match wits with world chess champion Garry Kasparov.”
Promotional campaigns such as the Pop Secret sweepstakes, event sponsorships and banner ads have increased the total MSN Gaming Zone advertising revenues 1,000 percent over those of 1998. In addition to Pop Secret, Microsoft has created innovative “beyond the banner” online advertising and promotional campaigns with several major companies:
Toyota Motor Sales Inc. worked with the MSN Gaming Zone to launch its Toyota Tundra truck in the Tundra Madness tournament. Racers played a customized version of Microsoft® “Monster Truck Madness® 2” racing simulation, racing Toyota Tundras on a specially designed Toyota racetrack. The winner won a new Toyota Tundra truck.
Coca-Cola Co. and the MSN Gaming Zone gave away free trial subscriptions to the “Fighter Ace® ” online multiplayer game, the Zone’s most popular premium game. Approximately 32 million subscription cards for “Fighter Ace” were distributed to teen-agers nationwide through the mail as well as through local Coca-Cola outlets and bottlers.
First USA is sponsoring the Kasparov vs. the World online chess match, which is on target to be the largest and most popular interactive gaming event in history.
By combining online marketing, a sweepstakes and a live event with more traditional, point-of-sale packaged goods marketing, the Perfect Pop Secret Paint Scheme sweepstakes provides a variety of cross-promotional opportunities. “This has been a tremendous success,” said Maureen Brener, marketing manager for Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn. “The MSN Gaming Zone has given us a new and unique opportunity to reach our consumers.”
About the MSN Gaming Zone and Microsoft
The MSN Gaming Zone is one of the largest gaming communities on the Internet, with over 6 million registered members from around the world, more than 44,000 concurrent users at peak times, and more than 100 available games. The Zone offers free** membership and a wide variety of games, including free** card, board and puzzle games, free** matchmaking for popular CD-ROM games and premium games. In addition, the MSN Gaming Zone has teamed with others to offer its members expanded gaming services such as industry news, product reviews, downloadable demos, online shopping and a broader range of online games.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day
*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to U.S. residents 18 years or older. See Web site for full rules and details.
**Connect-time charges may apply.
Microsoft, MSN, CarPoint, “Monster Truck Madness” and “Fighter Ace” are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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