When it comes to generating participation in contests, surely all of today’s marketers can leverage the various and sundry new-fangled digital tools, and jump the bar set by Scotch tape way back in 1956?
No, they cannot. And stop calling my Shirley.
Here are a few examples from just the past three months, that illustrate a profound lack of originality, brand utility, and business benefit.
The only reference to foursquare we’ve come across this year: TheraMax asked users to “check in” using their smartphones…at a drug store where they would be looking for flu medicine?
No! At a TheraMax ad running in Times Square. Somehow, a company rep would find the checker-inners, and hand them a sample of meds. Even if they weren’t feeling flu-ish.
Not So Spice-y
McCormick figured the best way to get consumers to use its millions of spices this past holiday season would be contests like “The Big Cookie Share” and “The Merry Merry Menu Planner”…contests where people would bake real holiday treats?
No! Consumers were asked to (a) make a digital cookie, post it on Facebook and SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS; and (b) post two “theoretical” holiday menus to their Facebook page and SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS. [phrase in caps to be spoken in a desultory sing-songy fashion]
Company spokes-hacking: “…we are offering our fans new ways to share the holiday spirit and create memorable taste experiences…” I, Santa, Robot.
Gimme To The MAX
“Pepsi MAX for Life” (spokes-hacking: “a search for our most passionate fans”) allowed consumers to win a twelve-pack weekly, provided they submitted the best video…showing them actually drinking the product?
No! Just tell Pepsi why you deserve it. In a video that could be uploaded, SHARED WITH YOUR FRIENDS and voted on and whee whee whee all the way home.
Krups USA is again holding its "Krups Best Brew Awards,” in which people vote for the “best coffee shop across the nation.” The nominees are required…to use Krups coffee-making equipment in the store?
No? Whatever, dude. Just nominate and vote. But it can only be done on Krups’s Facebook page. Dude.
Chew Not On This
Quaker Chewy Granola Bars got together with heartthrob Nick Jonas to conduct an American Idol-like singing contest, given the God-awful name “Quaker Chewy Superstar.” The video winner had to…sing about the granola bar and/or eat one during the video?
No! Just sing, dammit. We’ll get to that stuff about helping grow the business later.
The Im-Moral Of The Story
Yes, digital user-content contests are free and ego-enhancing for marketers. But they are an abhorrent waste of time for the consumer, insulting his or her intelligence. Except, of course, for the ones who appear to possess very little (i.e., contest entrants).
Be original. Require real, not digital, product usage. Have a measurable benefit to the business. And don’t restrict your contest to Facebook, given that at least half your consumer base doesn’t go near it.