South Dakota's Beef Bucks was a big hit on Wheel of Fortune. Two contestants each $1,000 of worth of Beef Bucks and the grassroots promotion project got a lot of free publicity from the show and the media that covered the story.
Beef Bucks are pre-paid checks or VISA debit cards that can be redeemed at grocery stores or restaurants to purchase beef. A private group of South Dakota cattle producers and industry representatives started Beef Bucks in 1997 in an effort sell more meat and promote beef at the same time.
Having Beef Bucks as a prize on the popular TV show Wheel of Fortune was a priceless advertising, says Nancy Montross, Beef Bucks' executive director.
Pat Sajak, Wheel's host, held up the Beef Bucks Beef Bucks logo during the show for all to see, she says.
All the publicity Beef Bucks received -- especially in the agricultural press -- prior to the programs airing Jan. 9, 11 and 13 was "tremendous" for sales, Montross says.
"We don't advertise Beef Bucks out of South Dakota, and we had orders from all over the country and so it had to be from the publicity. We doubled sales from last year."
Those sales included a number of businesses that utilized Beef Bucks for customer or employee gifts.
Some South Dakota restaurants got into the Beef Bucks craze as well, offering Wheel of Fortune viewing parties or specials on the nights the Beef Bucks were featured as a gift tag.
"We want to thank all of those people who helped make this such a successful promotional event," Montross says. "Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we would have this great a response."
Bob Montross, Nancy's husband and Beef Bucks, Inc., board member, made the original contact with Wheel of Fortune about three years ago, asking them to consider putting the beef-buying currency on the program as a prize. He says he has talked to representatives from the program since the January airings, and there is a possibility that the episodes will be re-broadcast later as reruns.
Beef Bucks, Inc., is a non-profit South Dakota-based organization run by volunteers, including a seven-member board of directors and the executive secretary. Its primary purpose is to promote beef and educate consumers on beef nutrition and cooking through the sale of Beef Bucks and other beef-related events. All proceeds from sales of Beef Bucks, which are backed by financial institutions, go back into the Beef Bucks program. For more information about Beef Bucks, see www.beefbucks.org, or call 888-640-MEAT.
Source: Beef Bucks