Musings On Contest Ballots And Entry Forms

August 31, 2006

Obviously, you have to collect contest entry information and often times we get asked about what type of information should be collected. How should you approach ballot and on-line entry form data collection? Here are a couple of considerations:

1. Make it simple.

What type of information do you need to action following the contest? If you’re not ever going to use mailing address data, don’t bother collecting it. Keep the ballot or entry form as short and as simple as possible. You’ll make your contest participants happy!

2. Permissions.

We all know that best practice requires that we obtain permission from our customers and prospects before we can communicate with them, so ensure that you have an opt-in for your company or brand. Perhaps your contest partners, like prize suppliers or media partners, would like to engage your contest entrants as well, so be sure to make an opt-in available for them. It’s a great value add for their involvement in your contest.

There are more serious considerations for both ballots and on-line entry forms, but those are topics unto themselves. Watch for those in the future.


Fun And Publicity With The Mentos Geyser Contest

August 27, 2006

Back in May, Billy Mains, my teammate and CLK driver extraordinaire on this year’s Cannonball Run picked up a lad’s mag somewhere on our 6,000-kilometre journey. In it, there was an article about dropping a few Mentos into a 2-litre bottle of Diet Coke. The chemical reaction results in huge ‘geyser’. While we were up to other kinds of hooliganism on the Cannonball Run, we didn’t get a chance to pull this one off.

Fast forward a few months later, the Mentos/Diet Coke experiment has become a bit of a pop culture phenomenon. The smart folks at Mentos are taking advantage of the buzz and promoting their their Mentos Geyser Video Contest. The contest is based around people submitting videos of their own Mentos geysers through their special You Tube page.

Human nature being what it is, you should be frightened to imagine what some kids actually do. Naturally, there is one “banned” video going around the blogs. Here’s just one link to the video.

If Mentos subscribes to the “any press is good press” philosophy, then it’s all just positive ROI for them.

The Nissan Win A Versa Campaign – Mobile Marketing

August 25, 2006

The Nissan Win A Versa campaign is part of the Larger Than Life national promotion running through summer and fall of 2006. Nissan is launching the all-new 2007 Nissan Versa in style by sending ten young Canadians on a 21 day road trip across Canada in five brand new Nissan Versas, stopping along the way to compete against each other in endurance testing and brain teasing challenges. The ultimate winner will take home their very own Versa. Beginning September 12th, the entire road trip will be broadcast online at, where consumers can also sign up for a chance to win their own 2007 Nissan Versa.

Nissan has also added a mobile component to the contest, allowing consumers to text in their entry by sending the word VERSA to the short code 647726 (NISSAN). Upon entering, they receive a confirmation message back to their phone that includes a chance to opt in to future communication from the brand by sending the word NISSAN. These mobile opt-ins will be integrated with the opt ins collected online to create a mobile database that Nissan can leverage for future contests and promotions.

What makes this campaign more than a standard SMS text-to-win-with-opt-in is the media campaign driving participation. In partnership with Artisan Live, MyThum has created an mobile affiliate advertising program that integrates digital signage networks into the media plan on a cost-per-acquisition basis. Across a national network of digital signs in bars, restaurants, stores – malls and even the back of taxi cabs – 15 second calls to action encourage viewers to text in their entry. Each network runs the creative a minimum of 210 times per week per location and communicates a different keyword to consumers instead of VERSA (such as WIN, ENTER, etc). This enables MyThum to measure the responses generated by that particular network and compensate them accordingly on behalf of Nissan. This is the first national program in North America to use this innovative media plan for driving mobile participation.

Slick Survey, But Who Needs Contest Rules…

August 25, 2006

…if you’re Motorola.

We came across a survey contest at Motorola’s site, offering a chance to win a pair of their RAZRWIRES for completing their survey.

The survey itself is clever and seems to be concerned with mobile phone user manuals’ availability online. It’s a great idea–don’t waste the paper when you package the phone, just make the manual available online.

I completed the survey and, of course, was interested to see how the contest was governed so I clicked on the rules link and—oops–it’s a dead link.

What Are The Best Prizes For A Contest?

August 24, 2006

We often get asked that question and the answer isn’t a simple one. Among other factors, prize selection most definitely impacts the success of a contest.

Here are a few key success factors to contemplate when deciding upon prizing:

1. Relevance to your target audience.

For example, if your target is action sports-oriented twenty-somethings, you might want to consider a snowboard prize, rather than a set of pots and pans.

2. The ‘cool’ factor.

Leading edge consumer electronics like iPods and Motorola RAZR mobile phones will readily capture consumers’ attention.

3. The ‘aspirational’ factor.

Luxury products like jewelry, watches or luxury experiences are things that most consumers would like to have, but wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves. You do have to be careful–although most consumers recognize the Rolex brand, not many would know what to do with a Panerai.

If you’ve run out of creativity, there are many reasons why cars, cash and trips work, so many marketers use these prizes in their contests. As a result, you also run the risk of not capturing consumers’ attention, since every other contest is giving away cars, cash and trips!

I Really Want To Give Away One Of These!

August 22, 2006


Ah, the Bugatti Veyron. Perhaps I do covet this car, but only because it is the ultimate automobile. Bugatti Automobiles SAS sells every one of these at an enormous loss. It is not likely that another automobile will be built that will exceed the Veyron’s speed and luxury. The car is priced a little north of one million euros.

As it is the pinnacle of automobiles, in my humble opinion, I’d love to give one of these away in relevant contest. For clients out there, Upshift knows how to do this at a reasonable cost! Call or write today!

Blatantly Illegal

August 22, 2006

In her Azerbic blog, The Toronto Star‘s Antonia Zerbisias, wrote that the Western Standard is running a writing contest. The prize is $1,000.00, plus getting to see your article published, however–and it’s a big however–there is an entry fee of $50.00. Sorry, that’s just blatantly against the law and any reasonable concept of best practice.

Given the politics of the Western Standard, it’s only a matter of time before someone points this out to the regulators.