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    am/pm Incorporates Free Media in Marketing Mix

    NCAA promotion will offer customers a lid with online basketball game CD affixed.

    WARRENVILLE, Ill. -- am/pm, the West Coast convenience store chain owned by BP, is finding a new way to add value to consumer marketing -- attaching free video games to its product. When am/pm customers trade up to a 36-ounce fountain drink, they get a lid with a small CD affixed to it, containing a version of FreeStyle Street Basketball, an online basketball game, Marketing Daily reported.

    "Lots of marketers are using CDs to extend a brand and to offer more information to a consumer," said Ed Bruno, president of eTagz, which positions its tags as a kind of a digital "look-what-I-got-in-my-cereal box!" consumer bonus. "But with these hangtags, we can offer consumers something they really value," he said, noting the tags average a 78 percent load rate, "and while that may seem really high, these tend to be highly targeted promotions, with consumers factoring the discs into the purchase decision."

    For am/pm, with 950 stores throughout the western U.S., the promotion is timed for rollout around the NCAA playoffs, and will feature large cardboard cutouts of the animated basketball players. Worldwide, FreeStyle Street Basketball attracts about 32 million players a month, Bruno told Marketing Daily.

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