At first i thought the idea was crazy. Today, I wish I could take credit for it. But it was Chad Howman, president of our retail operation, who came up with the plan earlier this year to honor Universal Windows Direct’s 15th anniversary.
The idea was this: If the Cleveland Indians won 15 straight games at any point in the season, customers who hired us in July would be given a full refund, no matter the project size or cost.
Cleveland had won 14 straight games the year before, but no major league team had grabbed 15 straight games in back-to-back seasons in about a hundred years. The chances were heavily in our favor that they wouldn’t hit the mark.
The next step was implimentation. Even though we didn’t think the Indians would go the distance, we went ahead and took out an insurance policy anyway. That’s how these big-ticket promotions work, otherwise a campaign like this one could bankrupt the company. The insurance policy cost $75,000.
Getting the Word Out
The next step was promoting our offer, which
you’d think would be straightforward, but because it involved a major sports team, was more complicated.
You can’t just use a profes-sional team’s name or logo however you’d like. You need an advertising agree-ment. Getting the agreement was expensive and took serious work, but in this case, it was unquestionably worth the investment. Without it, we couldn’t have even promoted the event. We would have had to say something like, “If the local sports team wins …”, which would have made it seem far less official.
The Indians also helped us promote our deal with in-game announcements and signage behind home plate. The team’s help was invaluable.
To spread the word on our side, we ran TV and radio ads and pushed the campaign via our website and social media channels. We also sent emails and made calls to customers in our database to let people know what was going on. The promotion wouldn’t have worked without the effort our entire company. They all did amazing work.
On Sept. 7, the Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 11 to 2, marking 15 straight victories for the Indians. The payout to our clients was $1.7 million. Despite playing on the road, the team opened up the stadium to us and let us have a watch party inside. The experience was indescribable. Cleveland’s streak ended at 22 games, the longest since 1900, but it was that 15th win that really mattered.
Since that day, a lot of people have asked me if I’d do the promotion again. The answer is an easy yes. Not only have we gotten immeasurable publicity, but most of our clients who received a refund have already hired us for more work. A lot of them thought that since they got their money back, they may as well go ahead and replace all of the windows in the house, or get that new front door they wanted.
We’re already brainstorming our next big idea.