Tag Archives | Interesting

Experience Prizes Keep Contests Alive

Contests, giveaways and sweepstakes have always been a great way to get a brand in front of a large number of people, but interest in the campaign usually wanes as soon as the winner is announced. To combat that trend, many contests have turned into hunts for the next online cewebrity, where the winner gets a chance to extend their 15 minutes of fame through the sponsor’s social channels (and on the sponsor’s dime) in exchange for extending the life of the campaign in the process.

The formula is simple: Mix one part love of contests with one part love of ‘reality’ entertainment, add a heaping spoonful of social media and you’ll end up with what I’m calling the ‘Experience Prize’.

Fiesta Movement

Ford was one of the first brands to experiment with adding the social media spotlight to their prize with the Fiesta Movement. In the Fiesta Movement, 100 winners (they called them ‘agents’) were selected from more than 4,000 applicants, and each was given a brand new Fiesta to drive for six months. Then, each month Ford would send the agents on themed missions, and the agents would complete, and then lifestream those missions with blog posts, photos, videos and status updates. Thus, the agents didn’t just win a car for six months; they won an experience prize that included ongoing interaction with the brand, and a series of unique trips and adventures in exchange for their willingness to share the experience with the world.

Queensland, Australia was the next to integrate social media into their prize, with one lucky winner spending six months as the caretaker of an island in what they called The Best Job In The World. During those six months, the winner explored the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, and the world followed along through a regularly updated blog, YouTube videos and Twitter posts. Instead of just a trip, this experience prize included a job title, roles and responsibilities, and the jealousy of thousands of people around the world.

Live Off Groupon

Groupon took the concept of the experience prize and evolved it into something else entirely, as their experience prize is more like an experience challenge. The contest, called “Live Off Groupon”, challenges one person to attempt to survive for one year with nothing but a laptop, a cellphone and an unlimited supply of Groupons. If he can last for twelve months, he wins $100,000, and if he can’t, he still gets to take home a pretty good chunk of Internet fame as a consolation prize.

Old Spice Internship Challenge

Lastly, Old Spice added sex appeal and competition to the formula for their experience prize, with Gretchen Bleiler and Anastasia Ashley hosting an Internship Challenge. While the two women act as ‘internship mentors’, the two winners get to go to Switzerland or Fiji, where they will compete with one another in various challenges spread out over five days. Each challenge gets documented with photo and/or video evidence that is then uploaded to the Old Spice blog and Facebook Page, where a winner will be selected by those following along to receive an extra $1000 per challenge.

The key benefit of the experience prize is that it finds people who are likely to be loud, far reaching and influential voices online, and then gives them the tools and the exposure they need to amplify their voice even further. This turns the winners into mini cewebrities, or enhances their current cewebrity status, and lets them use that status to promote the brand (and themselves) for an extended period of time.

In addition, another benefit of the experience prize is that the world can follow along as the winner essentially test-drives the sponsor for an extended period of time. Whether it’s an actual test drive, as in the case of the Fiesta Movement, or a test drive of the benefits of a service, like the Groupon challenge, it’s a chance for the rest of the world to watch as the winner uses the service in excruciating detail, and then shares that experience in the most entertaining way possible.

So what are the challenges that a brand faces when putting on a contest with an experience prize?

For one, the prize needs to be worth the effort required to enter, win and then use it. If the goal is to find an online personality that will engage others and be worth watching for an extended period of time, then you need to fish with the right bait. If the prize is too small, you either won’t receive many entries, or the entries that you do receive won’t be from the right type of people. Large prizes also tend to spread via word of mouth, as one person tells the next about the great prize that they can win by just entering a contest, and the result is that you can keep your promotion costs relatively low while still reaching a large audience.

The second challenge is that it can be difficult to transition the success of an experience prize campaign into the success of other social efforts. Unlike an online ad buy, which can drive traffic to a social channel that can then be used for a number of promotions, an Experience Prize often lives on its own microsite, and is not integrated into a larger social effort. While this can be mitigated by hosting part of the contest on a channel like Facebook, it’s important to remember that a few extra YouTube videos and tweets from the entrants aren’t suddenly going to turn your brand into an ongoing social media success story.

Lastly, there needs to be a concentrated effort to build buzz and excitement around the contest before the entries are due, because the quality of the entries will determine the quality of the content that the campaign creates. Whether it’s with voting, targeted ad buys, YouTube videos entries or a full blown social media bombardment, word of mouth is key, and the campaign must be easy enough to share that entrants will willingly help to promote it to their friends.

Despite the challenges, a well-run contest with a unique and interesting experience prize can generate a ton of buzz for a brand, and can keep the excitement alive for months after the announcement of the winner.

Dunlop Loops Its Way To Video Success

Dunlop Loop-the-Loop

Tire ads aren’t known for being fun or sexy, and usually rely on safety stats and a general feeling of ‘that tire won’t explode while I’m driving’ to motivate you to buy. It doesn’t have to be that way however, and Dunlop’s recent campaign is just one example of what’s possible. In their spot, they take an unconventional approach to tire advertising, and highlight the fact that, while tires aren’t typically sexy, the cars that use them sure can be.

In the ad, a stunt driver named Steve Truglia in a Dunlop equipped Toyota Yaris navigates up, over and through a 40 foot loop-the-loop, setting a new world record for the largest loop ever performed by a four wheeled vehicle, and proving that Dunlop tires can easily handle the stresses of a 6-G maneuver along the way. While the video itself is impressive, it’s what they did to hype the video and build buzz around the campaign that got my attention.

Countdown Timer

For starters, Dunlop used the often cliché but generally effective countdown timer to tease the event, both creating a sense of anticipation, and giving viewers a firm date and time to come back and see the stunt. That way, anyone that was intrigued by the teaser videos and wanted to see more would know when to check back, and Dunlop could prevent the frustration that comes with seeing 80% of a concept, and then missing out on the final (and more interesting) 20%. Plus, as long as the teaser videos were good, the timer guaranteed that the main video would receive a bunch of additional views when it first debuted, ensuring that the start would go off with a bang, and that pass-along would occur from the very beginning, which is important when you want a video to go viral.

Though social media support was limited, Dunlop did open a DunlopLoop Twitter Account specifically for the campaign, and posted regular updates to that account in addition to their main site. At this point, a Twitter account is almost a mandatory inclusion for any interactive/online ad campaign, but it was good to see that it wasn’t neglected in this case, and was executed well. The account posted updates and replied to any reactions, and while the response wasn’t great, it was good bang-for-the-buck, and showed that Dunlop cared about influential viewers who are willing to share the video (and their opinion) with others.

To add to the credibility of the event, and to tie the campaign to a group of target-specific celebrities, Dunlop also teamed up with the British automotive show Fifth Gear to create the concept. By doing this, they were able to use the personalities from the show to build buzz and tap into a pre-existing audience for a guaranteed number of viewers that would watch the video regardless of additional support. Too often, endorsements and partnerships end once the cameras start rolling, but when everyone and everything has its own on-line fan club, it’s important for companies to realize that they need to tap into those communities and make the cross-promotion a part of the deal.

Beyond the stunt and the videos that went along with it, the campaign was kept to a minimum, but that doesn’t mean there was a shortage of ideas for how to increase the exposure and extended the campaign into additional channels. For one, they could have followed BMW’s lead with the Rampenfest campaign and created a Facebook Page to generate buzz around the stunt and increase the “Real or Fake?” debate. Secondly, they could have created an advergame to allow viewers to attempt their own stunt in a Dunlop branded car. Lastly, they could have done a ‘remix you own ad’ style campaign where viewers are given a number of camera angles and clips of the stunt and the ability to stitch them together in any way that they liked, and then the winning edit is shown on TV.

For a small video campaign however, the Dunlop Loop-the-Loop was a smart and solid idea that managed to do a lot with a little, and made tires a hot topic on a large number of blogs, which is no easy task.

The Good:

  • Uses a world record to draw in viewers and create a spectacle.
  • Demonstrates a very boring product in a very exciting way.
  • Used a countdown timer effectively to build buzz.

The Bad:

  • Campaign wasn’t extended into other social media channels.

The Future:

  • Stunts allow boring brands to entertain viewers and make their products exciting while still showing features and benefits and driving sales.

Dunlop – Loop-the-Loop