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Using Prizes in Marketing

Everyone likes to win a prize. Whether it’s attempting to hook a duck at the fairground, entering your name into a raffle or clicking ‘like’ on a Facebook page, there’s always the thrill that you could be the winner. It is this sense of excitement and anticipation that marketers hope to stir in customers when incorporating prizes into their campaigns. Put simply, they attract people to buy into a product or service, which is prize marketing’s primary objective.
Not that it’s a new tactic; ever since the 19th century consumers’ loyalties have been rewarded with cigarette cards, toys, stickers, buttons and even tattoos.

Tourism Queensland’s “Best Job in the World”
Comparatively speaking, today’s prize marketing is big business with highly attractive and lucrative incentives being offered. Who can forget Tourism Queensland’s ‘Best Job in the World’ competition where applicants were required to submit a 60 second video in order to secure a six-month long ‘dream’ job promoting the Great Barrier Reef? The winner was Brit Ben Southall but the true beneficiary was clearly Tourism Queensland itself which amassed $100 million worth of publicity on the back of it.
Other recent large-scale promotions include Peugeot’s ‘Once in a Lifetime Space Ticket’, MTV and Corona’s Facebook-facilitated Experience the Extraordinary’ DJ contest, and Tyrrells Crisps’ ‘Win a Tractor’

Prizes don’t need to be huge, just need to be memorable
Not that the prizes need to be huge in order to imprint a brand on a consumer’s consciousness, they just need to be memorable. Take for example ‘Win a Donkey or Inflatable Office Assistant’ courtesy of Ribena, or Britvic’s ‘Help give 1m birds a home’ – neither required a large budget but each generated enough interest, positive dialogue with customers, and of course sales, for the campaigns to be considered a success.
What is common across all successful prize marketing campaigns, though, is efficient execution and management. A poorly-run initiative can quickly undo any positive brand association earned and have a damaging and lasting impact, particularly in an age where news spreads fast via social media.

Faux pas of Hoover offering free flights
One of the biggest prize marketing faux pas occurred in 1992 when Hoover offered free flights with the purchase of end-of-line vacuum cleaners and washing machines, initially to Europe and then to the USA. The offer was so generous that the company simply couldn’t handle the level of interest and ultimately had to pay £48m in court costs after an army of disgruntled customers took action.

Prizes need to sit well with the brand
Prizes also need to sit well with the brand giveawayand be consistent with their brand identity; which one could argue was a key issue with the ‘buy a washing machine, fly to America’ offer.
To work effectively, prizes need to be closely aligned with either the company or the audience who buys the product. For instance, buying a pair of football boots to win a two-week holiday in Hawaii would have nowhere near the same long-term impact as if the prize was to win a ‘season ticket with a Premiership team of your choice’.

Prize marketing can be used to achieve numerous other goals
In addition to raising brand awareness, prize marketing can be used to achieve a number of other company goals 1) Customer feedback: receive valuable customer feedback on a service or product as part of entry into a prize draw 2).SEO: drive traffic towards a website as part of SEO objectives 3) Mailing List: quickly compile a mailing list by asking for customer details when entering a competition 4) PR: gain widespread PR as part of a competition with high or topical interest

All in all, prize marketing is an often overlooked and misunderstood practice; however there really are great opportunities in what it can achieve.

About NDL: NDL is a leader in promotional marketing (including prize management ) with clients including: Sky Atlantic, Smirnoff, Kinder, BMW and Guinness

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