FUN. ESCAPISM. PLAY. These are just a few of the consumer engagement strategies driving several event-based contests that have launched this year. And fun they are whether the point is to find the funniest student on campus which is TWIX’s latest quest. Or to give kids a red-carpet experience at LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Or to lure consumers into a giant ball pit for a shot at winning a free Royal Caribbean cruise. Each of the programs leverage an experience that brings the contest to life for the consumer and makes it relevant for the brand. As Tim Mohler account executive at Royal Caribbean puts it “There’s only so much you can do with a website.”
Mohler is referring to cluestothecruise.com an interactive website with an electronic game board consisting of 25 squares that challenges players to explore the Nation of Why Not and the moments people can enjoy on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Players try to earn squares by playing and winning various puzzles throughout a virtual cruise ship. When four adjacent squares are claimed they can win kayaks boogie boards digital cameras and one of two Nickelodeon family cruises this summer.
But a Clues to the Cruise mobile tour ratchets up the experience. The tour which kicked off on March 14 in Los Angeles will make at least seven stops at family attractions sporting events and festivals before ending in New York next month. At each stop participants get to collect as many lettered balls as possible within 45 seconds in a ball pit then unscramble the letters to spell vacation-related words. Those that match a master list win prizes including cruise vacations.
“We’re just trying to get people involved and support our brand campaign in a playful way ” Mohler says. “We’re trying to get them to go to cluestothecruise.com where they can play some more win more cruises and opt in hopefully.”
Mars candy brand TWIX likewise is involving consumers in a contest to find the Funniest College Student on Campus. Contestants vie for a chance to win $3 000 and a weeklong internship at TBS Presents A Very Funny Festival: Just for Laughs in June. Through March students uploaded comedic three-minute videos to funnieststudent.twix.com. A panel of judges will select four semifinalists and online voting will determine the winner.
“The market is competitive and the more we can connect with consumers by giving them the tools to embrace the brand and provide their own interpretation the better ” says Ryan Bowling a Mars spokesperson. “Our objective is to be the topic of conversation with them and their peers and be top of mind in terms of their awareness. And it’s fun. You can see that from the videos we are getting.”
The LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago in Schaumburg IL offered the creators of the 10 best LEGO creations and five of their closest friends or family members the chance to walk the red carpet in March with Bob the Builder at the premiere of a 4D LEGO movie featuring the animated character. Winners also received trophies and got their entries presented in a slideshow on the theater screen.
“The red carpet experience gave them a reason to want to participate ” says Mike Pastor attraction manager at LEGOLAND. “They got to feel like a hero. How often will they get to be the first to see something in a fun environment? They really put a lot into these creations.”
Domino’s current Super Big Taste Bailout sweepstakes pokes fun at corporate ceos going to Washington D.C. to ask for bailouts. As part of the promo consumers can nominate a friend who needs a bailout. Two winners and the friends who nominated them will get a year’s worth of Domino’s Pizza and sandwiches with the prize delivered directly to their door by Domino’s ceo Dave Brandon. The company’s website dominos.com will feature a countdown clock showing when the delivery will take place. Consumers will be able to track Brandon’s location GPS-style as he approaches the winner’s house. Once the delivery has been made the countdown for the next recipient will begin.
“There’s a p.r. component to this but it is predominantly goodwill ” says Rob Weisberg vp-multimedia marketing at Domino’s. “We thought this was a fun way a jovial way to approach recent economic conditions and its impact on average Americans and give them the opportunity to win free pizza for a year.”
The drive into live continues.