Derby Day Ballot Fully Integrates Sponsor + Station

by Sherry Hayes WLEX-TV

2017 Second Street Award – Best Ballot Finalist

Case Study Highlights

  • $24,000 revenue for station
  • Tons of exposure & branding
  • 9,000+ opt-ins

The Idea

WLEX-TV is a DMA 64 television station in Lexington, KY. We probably don’t have to say it, but here in Kentucky, Derby Day is practically a statewide holiday. While the Kentucky Derby is a big event of all the area media companies, it’s especially big for us as WLEX broadcasts the race and our team is on-location for all the day’s festivities.

Since this is such a major event for us, we wanted to create a promotion that could leverage the excitement of Derby Day. Knowing how big of an audience we’d attract, we knew this could also be a great sponsorship opportunity to pitch to a local advertiser. We hoped our Kentucky Derby promotion would be able to generate big sponsorship revenue, grow our database, and be a fun, interactive experience for our viewers.

The Execution

If you’ve ever seen coverage of the Kentucky Derby, you’ll know that half the experience comes from the beautiful outfits and over the top hats the guests wear. We reached out to our local Dillard’s department store in the Fayette Mall to see if they’d be interested in working with us on a Derby Day promotion – and they were very responsive to it. After we secured Dillard’s we came up with the idea of our Guess the Dress ballot.

wlex dress ballot

To start putting together our ballot, six of our anchors went to the local Dillards and each tried on dresses they would potentially wear to host the Derby. We seeded the ballot with the anchor’s photos, a description of the dress, and even a direct website link to the specific dress in the picture.

wlex dress ballot category

Our viewers were asked to go online and vote for their favorite dresses for each of our anchors. Users would find out which dress won by tuning into WLEX’s Derby Day coverage and seeing which dresses were worn on-air.

To help us achieve the goal of database growth, we first added an opt-in for the Fayette Mall. Then we included multiple opt-ins for various WLEX newsletters. And to help drive participation, we incorporated a sweepstakes for a chance to win a $500 makeover from Dillard’s.

wlex dress ballot optins

We did a ton of promotion for this contest. Not only did we run a 60-second promo asking users to go online and pick their favorite, but we also talked about it frequently on-air in during multiple station segments.


Additionally, we advertised the contest through a dedicated email, ads on our website, and on social. We posted to the WLEX18 main Facebook Page, and some of our anchors posted to their personal Facebook Pages as well.

wlex dress ballot facebook post

The Results

We had such a great time with this campaign, and our advertiser was thrilled with the results. The Fayette Mall felt they got great exposure, added 1,200+ people to their database, and they loved the chance to participate in an extremely customized and interactive contest.

Our station was able to drum up a ton of excitement about our Kentucky Derby coverage and added 9,000 new email addresses amongst five different WLEX newsletters. Plus, the entire campaign generated $24,400 in revenue for our station – a big win for such a creative, fun campaign.

This was such a big success, we’re doing it again this year, and Dillard’s has already signed on to be the sponsor again!

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