Washington Capitals Use Voice To Grow Email List By 10%


Williams Whittle chose to design Slapstick, an interactive flash application, for the team’s website that would invite fans to step into the skates of a Capitals player or coach.

Unlike existing applications that enable fans to upload a picture and superimpose themselves within the video, Williams Whittle also wanted to integrate personalized audio recordings that fans could share with their friends.

Rob Whittle, CEO of Williams Whittle, faced a number of technology challenges:

  • How would they introduce custom audio messages?
  • Could they monetize the project?
  • Would the project go viral?


By partnering with DialogTech, Williams Whittle was able to integrate custom audio recordings into their interactive flash video application. After uploading a headshot, choosing a uniform, and selecting a background, fans were given two options for adding an audio message into the video:

  • Type out their message and play the audio in a male or female voice using text-to-speech technology.
  • Enter their phone number, click a button, receive a phone call, and record their voice over the phone.

Williams Whittle offered fans a free text-to-speech option, but also monetized the project by charging $0.99 to fans that preferred to record a message in their voice over the phone. Then, before sharing the video with friends, fans were asked for their name, birthday, email, and zip code, with an option to subscribe to ICE CHIPS, the official e-newsletter of the Washington Capitals.


“DialogTech was professional, stuck to deadlines, and made things easy in an otherwise challenging project,” said Williams Whittle CEO Rob Whittle.

Slapstick went live the first week of the playoffs and achieved considerable results:

  • 10% boost in email marketing list
  • 15,000 visits in one week
  • 80% of fans shared their video

“Slapstick was a very unique tool for sports and instantly caught the attention of our fan base,” said Washington Capital’s Senior Director of Marketing Joe Dupriest. “We also see this as a great sponsorship opportunity and a unique way for sponsors to get their brand in front of Caps fans.”

Read more about this case study on MarketingSherpa.

The Washington Capitals NHL hockey franchise, already boasting sellout crowds during the 2009-2010 season, wanted to build its email database and enable fans to interact with the team’s brand online.

In partnership with Williams Whittle, the 2008 and 2009 Marketer of the Year for the American Marketing Association’s Washington D.C. chapter, the Capitals sought a creative, yet low cost idea with a big ROI to launch as the team entered the playoffs.

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