The American Craft Exposition hosts one hundred and fifty diverse artists for a major juried sale every year. The show has been a city staple for twenty-five years and proceeds are donated to breast and ovarian cancer research at NorthShore University HealthSystem’s dedicated Auxiliary. Winger was charged with maximizing a minimal ad buy for this long-standing client.
Winger chose to partner with WGN-AM Radio, one the city’s highest rated stations which would reach our target market of educated, affluent females who are passionate about the arts. Our minimal ad buy resulted in over a dozen pro-bono on-air mentions of the American Craft Exposition. How did we do it? First, Winger met in person with well-loved WGN radio hosts Kathy and Judy to share information about the show and its cause. Together, we strategized on how they could participate. We proposed that they co-host an innovative online auction, selling pieces of craft that Kathy and Judy created with the help of local artists from the show. They proudly promoted their work on-air and the station’s website. Radio stations in particular are looking for creative ways to move online – an online auction was a first for them and they were motivated to support a creative draw to their website.
Winger won the 2007 Bronze Bulldog Award for Best Arts and Entertainment Campaign, a prestigious industry award judged exclusively by top journalists, for our innovative campaign. With a sixty-second paid ad on the show costing $900, ROI for the pro-bono mentions totaled approximately $12,000 – far more than the original ad buy. The American Craft Exposition’s donation proceeds ultimately raised $400,000 for cancer research. Despite six devastating tornadoes during the weekend of the show, gate attendance held steady. Booth artists earned over $1.5 million. Our greatest success was bringing a fresh and creative online opportunity to the table to help our client grow.