Immersion Entertainment, an Atlanta-based company, developed a new technology that allows sports fans at stadiums to see instant replays, live camera shots from around the stadium, and other programming options on a small wireless binocular-shaped device that delivers a picture comparable to a 52-inch television screen. The Insider Personal Viewing Device was to be rolled out in Atlanta in March 2002 with the Braves Major League Baseball Team. Immersion selected Hope-Beckham, Inc. to develop and manage a communications campaign to reach consumers.
 Hope-Beckham faced a major challenge in promoting The Insider because of the lack of awareness in the community. Hope-Beckham had to promote this new and unknown product and convince people of its value. Spectators were perfectly content watching the game without the aid of The Insider. The agency needed to stress the various benefits of the product in order to justify the rental fee of the device.
 Hope-Beckham did not have to conduct research for this campaign because Immersion Entertainment already identified its target markets. The agency’s responsibility was to effectively reach those markets. The initial objective was to introduce The Insider with maximum exposure to the Atlanta media market at minimal expense.
Braves fans needed to know prior to their arrival at Turner Stadium that the devices were available for rental. Consumers in other U.S. cities with professional sports teams needed to know about The Insider because it would be rolled out in other cities in subsequent years.
Hope-Beckham focused on two key target audiences: Avid fans who want instant replays and a variety of viewing angles; and families who want alternative entertainment for children and adults who do not stay interested for the duration of the game.
Hope-Beckham developed a media kit, pitched local and national media and arranged for Atlanta Braves players to extol the virtues of the new device during media interviews. The agency energetically contacted media and provided them with all of the information they needed on the product.
The early efforts required cooperation from the Atlanta Braves front office as well as the players. With their cooperation, Hope-Beckham worked out the logistics to get the appropriate people in place at Spring Training. The Braves informed the agency on who would be covering the team during this period and Hope-Beckham contacted each of the media outlets. We also contacted Fox Sports’ producers and arranged for coverage during their live broadcasts. Once at Spring Training, Hope-Beckham’s staff on the ground followed up with the team, the players, and all of the media.
The first media event was held during the 2002 Spring Training in Florida, where Chipper Jones and John Smoltz demonstrated the device to the media and explained how well it works, all for free. John Smoltz said he wanted one in the bullpen and Chipper Jones said he wanted one for his wife. Their unpaid endorsements were aired on TV and given prominent play in print media. During this period, Hope-Beckham was also sending news releases and media kits to major sports media and major daily newspapers in professional sports cities.
Hope-Beckham was extremely successful in introducing The Insider. Hope-Beckham’s efforts resulted in a steady increase in the number of rentals each game and the Immersion Entertainment plans to roll out The Insider at several other stadiums over the next few years.
In a campaign that began in mid-March, Hope-Beckham’s efforts garnered more than 35 million print media impressions by July. During the key months of March and April print media impressions were 17 million and there were 15 million TV impressions in Atlanta. Hope-Beckham also secured a very favorable story from the Associated Press, which included a color photograph. In all, nearly 250 publications printed stories.
Broadcast and print media covering Spring Training picked up the story and Fox Sports South featured the device during a live broadcast of a Braves spring training game. The game announcers spoke about the device several times and the sideline reporter did a live shot in which she demonstrated the device and talked about how great it works.
During the week leading up to the first home game, all the Atlanta radio and television stations featured The Insider. WXIA-TV featured the device twice, including a live shot from Turner Stadium right before the first game. The Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution both ran feature stories. Immersion President Taz Anderson was the sole guest for a one-hour sports program on cable channel 33 and he was the guest on the Sunday evening sports program on WSB-TV.