The SoapCity Games: Daytime Rumbles
How do you make the launch of yet another web site big news when the dot.com bust is in full swing? How do you secure soap stars coverage in national news outlets like Newsweek? How do you get soap opera fans, not the world's most tech savvy individuals, to log on?
By bringing in professional wrestlers and dogs, of course!
Executives at Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment felt that they needed something big to attract media attention and visitors to SoapCity.com, their new site for soap opera fans.
Cataldi PR's solution, "The SoapCity Games: Daytime Rumbles," pitted two unlikely bedfellows - soap stars and professional wrestlers - in a series of offbeat, quasi-athletic events staged during the Daytime Emmys to benefit the Humane Society. The Games also served as the setup for a second event: an online auction of ceramic dog bowls hand-painted by 30 soap stars, pro wrestlers and celebrity supporters of the Humane Society, including Pop artist Peter Max.
The complication? Cataldi PR only had 5 weeks to pull everything together.
Going into overdrive, Cataldi PR worked with SoapCity to line up 20 stars from soaps like "The Young and the Restless" and "Days of Our Lives " to compete against each other and be judged by wrestling notables like six-time WCW champion Sting, Mike Awesome and Kimberly Page, wife/manager of Diamond Dallas Page.
The event took place at New York's celeb-friendly China Club. Cataldi and SoapCity created three "games" just for the actresses and actors: arm wrestling, a soap opera trivia contest and a "virtual" wrestling competition using Sony's new PlayStation game console. The final competition involved the thespians performing wrestling scripts judges by the wrestlers, with the winning team being awarded a $5000 prize that would go to the Humane Society. The evening culminated with a fantastic photo op - the 20 soap stars battling the three wrestlers in a tug-of-war.
Cataldi PR cast its net wide in the way of media, pitching local and national television, wires services, entertainment magazines, paparazzi and various wrestling and soap opera publications. The response to this edgy spectacle was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. On the night of the event, the China Club was thronged with reporters from 40 media outlets and scores of fans that waited behind the velvet ropes to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars.
CNN, Access Hollywood, E! Entertainment Television and local news affiliates for CBS, ABC and Fox all ran features on the event. Print coverage included dailies like The New York Post, Newsday and The New York Daily, magazines such as People, Interview and Paper, wrestling monthlies "WOW" and "WCW" and soap trades like Soap Opera Weekly.
With the much-publicized Games laying the groundwork, the online auction of celeb-painted dog bowls took place three weeks later, in a special partnership with Yahoo!
To generate interest, Cataldi PR initiated an aggressive campaign of traditional and online guerilla promotion. News of the pending auction was featured in high-profile national media like USA TODAY, Newsweek and The Los Angeles Times. It was also a hot topic of discussion for wrestling and soap fans, and dog lovers, at online communities throughout the Net
The SoapCity Games and the subsequent auction raised over $20,000 for the Humane Society and resulted in a significant increase in traffic at SoapCity.com. The success of this innovative, strategic and timely executed campaign led to a relationship with Sony that continues to this day.