Channel 9 “BIG WINNERS” Game


Background Brief

The Seven Network had eclipsed Channel Nine’s 6pm nightly news bulletin for the very first time due to the networks coverage of the Olympic Games. At that time, the nightly news, hosted by Brian Henderson, was the flagship of the Nine Network.

Nine’s supremo , the late Kerry Packer, not used to being beaten in the ratings by anyone, instructed Senior Management to find someone to produce an innovative ratings stimulus which would win back the Australian viewers.

They contacted Dynamic Marketing (where Linda was Creative Consultant) and we were briefed to produce a winning concept in record time.  Nine wanted to hit back at Seven immediately after the conclusion of the Olympics to ensure they regained their prime ratings position.  That meant we had just two weeks to conceive and produce an effective, national marketing campaign.

The belief was that Seven would come off the back off the Olympics with a lot of confidence and would not be expecting a counter attack for prime time viewers from either of the other two commercial networks.

Strategy / Execution

Under a secrecy clause, the team at Dynamic began work on a repetitive viewing promotional concept, along the lines of a national Bingo game. This involved a letterbox distribution of 3 million “Big Winners” Game Cards along the east coast of Australia, inviting viewers to watch the 6pm nightly news in order to see the call routine.


We developed a Bingo style format because of a number of reasons.  The style of the promotion was easily understood and combined with a scratch component; it had universal, mass market appeal. We had to reach across a wide demographic audience so we had to keep things simple but at the same time relevant to the network.

Nine came to the party in terms of prizes and together with participating sponsors, we accrued over $1 million in prizes.  This included a fully furnished Gold Coast home, Toyota cars, televisions and other electrical goods, overseas trips and cold, hard cash.  At this time, Australian audiences had never before experienced such a massive million dollar promotional prize pool so it definitely had a “wow” factor.

The promotion was called Channel Nine’s “Big Winners” Game. Just over 3 million scratch Game Cards were distributed within a 48 hour period along the east coast of Australia and the promotion was heavily publicised in newspapers and of course, on Channel Nine.

Householders had 4 weeks worth of Scratch Games on their printed Game Card and they had  to watch the evening news every weeknight of the 4 weeks, in order to view the “call-routine” which was screened in one of the advertisements breaks during the news.

Unlike traditional Bingo, the call routine did not involve numbers, but rather Channel Nine personalities or programs (e.g. Don Bourke, Ray Martin, Catriona Rowntree, Midday, The Footy Show, 60 Minutes etc)

If the viewer found any of the “call routine” on his Game Card he simply scratched the panel to reveal a prize symbol.  The object of the game was to reveal three of the same prize symbols e.g. 3 houses, to win that prize.

By mid week during each of the 4 games, Dynamic, due to its unique numbering system, had ensured that most players had at least two of the required three symbols for a number of prizes. Therefore the size of the viewing audience for the  Thursday and Friday night bulletins was even further enhanced as such a large number of people had a high perception of winning.

Media Bingo 2


Australian television had never before experience such a dramatic instant ratings increase in its history (and never has since)!  During the Olympics, Sydney’s Chanel Seven 6pm nightly news had jumped from 16  to 23 ratings points, with the Brian Henderson hosted Nine News Bulletin dropping from 23 to 19 ratings points.

During the first few days of the Big Winners promotion , Nine’s 6pm Bulletin jumped to  a massive 41 ratings points, creating a world record lift that has never been surpassed.

Nine’s 6pm News ratings for the 4 week period averaged out at 36 points, setting a landmark which will probably never be reached again for a free to air news bulletin.


Dynamic also produced a follow up version for Nine with the “Big News” Game, when Seven tried to counteract with their own version of a bingo promotion, but it did not have the distribution, the prizes, nor the built in promotional mechanisms that we developed at Dynamic, and Nine simply blew them out of the water again.

Dynamic also produced similar Bingo style games for other media outlets like Radio (2UE), Newspapers (Sun Herald) and Magazines (New Idea) all of which resulted in incredible ratings and circulation boosting figures.


The above case study demonstrates the effectiveness of a good promotion i.e.  Having a clear outcome or plan for the promotion, knowing your target market and what appeals to them, adding a wow factor, communicating your offer clearly and often, and enhancing your customers’ experience.

If you would like to find out how to develop your own version of a BIG NEWS promotion that will have your members or even potential members, coming back to your club again and again, simply subscribe to Your Marketing Mentor.

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