Q:) How much of an influence did the Million Dollar Homepage have on your project and what makes your project different / better?A.)
The Million Dollar homepage played a key role towards my understanding of how the new online marketing schema works and it allowed me to see that advertisers were willing to spend on online advertising as long as the project was unique, creative and had the potential to generate buzz. I believe these are some of the fundamentals of my project. The viral aspect of this project will depend on bloggers and how they thrive on uniqueness, creativity and innovation. When I was in the process of drawing up ideas for Escape Pollution
, I got excited right away because I knew right then that I had an idea, which was different and distinctive. I went through diverse models and had to come up with a concept that was at a level of quality that was acceptable to the sponsors; and it was then that this excitement turned into a challenge. It is my understanding that Internet Advertising spend was approximately $12.5 billion for 2005, which was a 30% increase from the previous year. Thus, I am certain that people are willing to spend and support online advertising as long as the advertising models are new, bright and fresh.
My project expands on the features and characteristics of the Million Dollar Homepage. For instance, the advertising models are different. The Million Dollar Homepage is a giant online billboard online whereas Escape Pollution is a dynamic car wrap. Also, the main motivation for Alex Tew was his studies. For Escape Pollution, the motivation aims towards protecting the environment and promoting my local city of Kelowna as a tourist destination. The benefit to advertisers of brand recognition (environmentally friendly) is more prominent on the Escape Pollution site. The project also promotes the Ford Escape Hybrid and Hybrid vehicles in general. As society and individuals become more aware of global concerns, there are people that are taking notice of environmental issues. From Recycling PCs to the Cleantech Venture Forum, people are beginning to take on more responsibility on a personal level to take care of Mother Nature. Furthermore, like Alex Tewâ€™s site, the potential for repeat visitors is high; as a result I'e gone one step further and created RSS feeds of sponsors so visitors to the site can subscribe and see who is supporting this project.Q:) Are you going to get enough sponsors that are going to put the ads on your real Ford Escape Hybrid just like the virtual Escape you have online? If not, why would local businesses want to buy ad space from you if their ad will only be seen online?A.)
When I was coming up with different advertising models, putting the ads on the real Ford Escape was under consideration. However, the model I chose was to promote the virtual version. This will include directing all forms of media: radio, print, news, word of mouth, emails, and viral campaigns (local or otherwise) to the Escape Pollution website. Local sponsors would get exposure not only to the local online market but also globally and nearby areas such as Vancouver, Calgary and Seattle. Normally, the Ford Escape Hybrid would be driven in the local community but I've just brought it online and broadcast it to the entire world. Nevertheless, I will have the Escape Pollution logo on the Ford Escape Hybrid to promote the site. It will be a core expectation to have Vancouver and Calgary based businesses to advertise on Escape Pollution. Local sponsors such as: wineries, restaurants, tourist destinations, attractions, will have the opportunity to represent their business for nearby markets for brand recognition. Just imagine, your website advertised on the Escape Pollution website, which overall is supporting a great cause.
According to SRB Marketing, there are 26 millions blogs indexed in Technorati, a blog search engine. Values-based consumers (lifestyles of health and sustainability LOHAS) read blogs often and are intrigued by blogs about environment and progressive social issues. I expect Escape Pollution to be a hot topic when it spreads through the blogosphere. Target advertisers, local or otherwise, can reach this target market (technologically educated, environmentally aware, blog users) through the advertising model and viral aspects depicted on Escape Pollution.Q:) Are you an environmentalist?A.)
I wouldn't go as far and call myself an environmentalist. And this is mainly because I was uneducated about the environment and global issues. Since I started this project, I have become more aware of environmental concerns. As a result I make a conscious effort to do my part for Mother Nature. I have a compost bin where I throw my vegetable/fruit leftovers as fertilizer for my plants, I recycle and I use fluorescent light bulbs to minimize my electricity intake. I get my freshest and healthiest foods from my organic garden, I have plants in my office, and I try to purchase Energy Star products. I believe it is everyone's responsibility to protect the environment at some level. It should be a habit. I look at the Ford Escape Hybrid as another way to take care of Mother Nature. The planet is shared by all and everyone has a responsibility to share in keeping it clean.Q:) What kind of car do you currently drive?A.)
Currently, I drive a 1992 Acura Integra. Honda makes a reliable car and I haven't had any major issues with it. I love this car and will keep it for sentimental reasons, even though I won't be driving it very often. However, since I am a dynamic individual, I like change. My lifestyle in Kelowna is very active and outdoorsy; therefore I have a lot of sports and outdoors related equipment I need to transport on a regular basis. This requires me to transport my mountain bike; snowboard, soccer equipment, volleyball gear, lawn chairs, etc. and as a result I need a spacious vehicle to do this.Q:) What guarantee do any of the advertisers have that you're actually going to follow through and purchase an Escape Hybrid once you get enough money to do so?A.)
As I mentioned, my lifestyle in the Okanagan requires me to have a spacious vehicle to transport various equipment on a regular basis, like a Sports Utility Vehicle. That is the reason why I came up with the Escape Pollution project in the first place. An SUV that is environmentally friendly and saves money and built â€˜For Life in Canada (by Ford) is exactly what I was after. I also realize that my responsibilities must be matched by my equivalent reliability. Overall, I consider myself to be a very loyal, honest and dedicated individual and I believe this is a great opportunity for me to prove myself to my sponsors, and my community that I will actually follow through and purchase a Ford Escape Hybrid. I think it will be an exciting experience and journey. Of course, they also have my written word, in public, that this is my intention; to purchase the Ford Escape Hybrid.Q:) Does your employer know about this project? Have you had any help from your employer on this project at all?A.)
is well aware of my intentions and has helped me indirectly; mainly by allowing me to stay on top of online marketing news and trends. A few of my co-workers had valuable input in the creation of this project. And I'm sure that my employer will also sponsor a spot on the vehicle as well. After all, advertising on the site is a great brand builder and they can generate additional traffic to their site and promote the Escape Pollution website at the same time. They fit the target sponsor profile; a local business that has potential clients in the larger US markets such as New York, San Francisco and California.Q:) How much money have you raised on the site so far?A.)
I currently have 6 sponsors. As Escape Pollution rolls through the blogosphere and other media outlets, I am expecting big names such as eBay and Yahoo! to take notice and take part as well. The potential of word of mouth and it becoming viral is tremendous. I see examples of amazing results from successful viral marketing all the time in my industry.Q:) What methods of promoting the site have you used?A.)
I'm using a two-phased marketing plan, where I send out emails to potential sponsors letting them know about the recent buzz. Once I have a few key sponsors, I will market the project more fully in the blogosphere. I've also been in touch with Ford and local news personnel in Kelowna. I want to get a few key advertisers before I make a full-force push in my marketing efforts. I've used email campaigns so far and tracked their success rate with Google Analytics. I also have a colleague in Vancouver, who will use this project as a case study in her University forum. That will be the beginning of the exposure in the Vancouver market.Q:) Which web sites have referred the most amount of traffic to your site?A.)
Every time a website or blog talks about the Escape Pollution project, I see a surge in traffic. This is the trend that I want to see continue. There are now over 60 million blogs in the world, most of which looking for news worthy items to publish. As bloggers and news media continually pick up the story, the more traffic it gains for advertisers. The probability of it becoming viral by word of mouth and blogs as a communication tool is enormous and this will have great impact on the success of the project.