Prize promotions are so much more than just a prize and some messaging slapped together. Many promoters realise too late that a flashy prize (or even an un-flashy prize) alone is insufficient to deliver meaningful marketing or revenue success.
Prize promotional campaigns can, however be extremely powerful if planned and executed correctly, as some of the examples below will demonstrate. We’ve picked a selection of our some of our personal favourites. Some you will have definitely heard of, some you may be reading about for the first time.
Though the below will not shortcut you to a successful campaign, hopefully it will provide some food for thought, some evidence of campaigns “done right”, and set some inspirational energy in motion.
#1 Queensland Tourism – The (Original) Best Job in the World
This multi award-winning campaign was launched internationally in January 2009 by Tourism and Events Queensland in Australia. With a very unique prize, this contest gained remarkable attention all over the world.
A six-month dream job as a caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef!
Entrants were invited to submit applications via the Queensland tourist organisation’s website, which resulted in over 35,000 people from over 200 countries get involved.
As the winner also visited almost 100 Queensland destinations and fielded more than 450 media interviews, the overall results were mind-blowing. The 8.6 million website visits and $430m in estimated global public relations value show what’s possible with a unique prize promotional campaign.
#2 Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile – a Hashtag Challenge
A clever heart-warming hashtag challenge which spread like wildfire on social media, particularly TikTok because there was a video element to the competition.
Colgate launched a 6-day coupon rewards programme. The coupons could be redeemed on Colgate’s Shopee page, turning engagement into sales.
The contest asked participants to share a video of themselves making their mother smile.
This hashtag contest went viral, with 2.2m video creations and 1.2m people participating. An amazing return for a relatively simple coupon prize.
#3 Sunrype’s – Health-Focused Campaign
Canadian juice and snacks company Sunrype makes its products from fruits and veggies, and therefore it was relevant to launch a competition that focused on health and wellness.
The winner had a chance to win a home gym, which certainly ticks the relevance and value boxes for the company’s audience.
Simply like/share/comment on the prize campaign post on social media.
#4 Zenithbookstore – get it Free
Zenith is a community bookstore based in Minnesota which quickly realized that the only thing people love more than free prizes are free prizes with an element of surprise.
The company made its offering unique by assembling a box full of mystery goodies to pique its audience’s interest.
Submitting entries online. The winner was also asked to film an unboxing video when they received their prize.
#5 Nukabelle – the Milestone Marker
US artist Nukabelle capitalized fully on hitting a major milestone with her business. For example, the artist gave away some art to mark reaching 250 followers on Tik Tok. She made a video of creating hand-made jewellery that was up for grabs.
Not only did this attract more social media fans, but it gained lots of engagement online and strengthened her relationship with current customers.
Hand-made necklace – which of course was extremely original and rare.
Followers were simply asked to enter an online draw. Easy access, which led to a huge response.
#6 Sprit Halloween – the Seasonal Prize Giveaway
Seasonal contests are easy, effective, and typically generate a good amount of interest. Everyone loves getting involved in seasonal or holiday-themed prize giveaways.
Online company Spirit Halloween launched a fairly-straightforward contest with an inexpensive prize – but the magic which made a success online was the unique entry method.
The winner earned a scary Chucky doll for Halloween.
Entrants were asked to make a short video of doing something scary and send it into the company. These fun requirements created plenty of laughs and resulted in lots of sharing on social media.
#7 Walkers Crisps Snap and Share – Large Volumes of Prizes, Store Exclusive
The marketing team at Walkers Crisps came up with a quirky idea for a competition – asking people to hold a crisp packet in front of their faces for a selfie, and then post it on social media.
This snap and share contest went down a treat, with many thousands of entries and countless posts promoting their brand on social media.
In total 500 Playstation 4 games consoles were given away, plus 40 pairs of Champions League match tickets, and thousands of footballs. In addition to the main promo, there was a Tesco exclusive with 250 more PS4 prizes which meant some entrants actually won TWO PS4s, one in each promotion!
Entrants simply took a selfie with a packet of Walkers crisps in front of their face, and then posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #WalkersUnited
The winner were drawn at random – but those who posted more often had an increased chance of winning.
#8 Ambrosia – Special Anniversary Campaign
Is your company approaching its 1st, 5th, or 10th anniversary? The number doesn’t really matter – just make sure you take advantage of that special date. Foods brand Ambrosia celebrated their 100th anniversary with a special giveaway campaign that lasted the entire year. (Well, they were celebrating a century in business!)
A year’s worth of prizes (1200 in total), ranging from recipe books to holidays.
Entrants were asked to upload a photo featuring an Ambrosia product to the company website and winners were chosen at random each month.
#9 Krispy Kreme – the Hashtag Birthday
Like Ambrosia, Krispy Kreme celebrated their 80th birthday with a generous promotion, although this one had a twist and was more social media oriented.
Krispy Kreme gave away 1200 vouchers for a dozen doughnuts.
Entrants had to upload a smiling group photo to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #80yearsofsmiles. 25 winners were chosen at random every day and rewarded with a voucher. A cheap and easy prize to send out, the competition also resulted in lots of delighted tweets from winners collecting their prize in store!
#10 MatchPint – a Check-in Challenge
The MatchPint app helps you find local pubs showing live sports – and they teamed up with Heineken for a generous prize promotional campaign for the Euro 2020 football tournament.
Prizes ranged from Heineken merchandise to replica match balls…and of course, match tickets.
To take part, you had to visit your local participating pub and ‘check in’ using the app. Then you tapped to see if you’d won a prize instantly. You could also share referral codes with friends to get bonus entries.
#11 Pringles Stack’n’Share – Classic Selfie Entry
This super easy selfie competition run by Pringles has been a favourite of crisps lovers all over the world, and has run for several months at a time over the last few years.
As this was a photo-based contest, a Pringles branded Fujifilm Instax camera and film were the prizes on offer. In total nearly 500 of these prizes were given away.
Participants were invited to create a stack of three different flavours of Pringles, then take a selfie with their stack, and share the picture on social media with the hashtag #PringlesStackNShare. Winners were chosen at random each week.
#12 Heart FM Text Story Share – Creative SMS Entry
UK supermarket Tesco and national radio station Heart FM teamed up to launch a fun ‘share your mayhem’ contest that really got people talking.
Dozens of £1,000 Tesco gift cards were given away on the radio station’s drivetime shows in October and November.
Listeners were asked to send a text with a story of mayhem they’d dealt with that day. Winners were chosen at random and called back to tell their story on air. This added a creative and fun twist to the usual ‘text WIN with the answer A or B’ style prize draw.
#13 Visit Oman Half Time Break Promo – Capitalising on an Event
Tourism organization Visit Oman took the opportunity to promote their country as the ideal holiday destination during the FIFA World Cup. During the half time break in the final World Cup match of each game day, they ran a contest at a time when they would get prime attention.
A week-long half board holiday to Muscat – that was 8 holiday winners a day for the group stage, and 128 holidays in total by the end of the tournament.
Visit Oman shared a post on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, and invited entrants to leave a comment. The following day, two winners were chosen for each match on the previous day.
#14 Tesco – Purchase Necessary Brand Partnership
You can generate brand awareness and gain some sales at the same time with this clever promotional campaign run by Tesco and Bonne Maman. Tesco run lots of Text-To-Win (TTW) promotions, but this one was particularly successful around Christmas time and involved submitting a purchase receipt.
Tesco gave away 1,470 Bonne Maman advent calendars to lucky winners.
Entrants had to buy any Bonne Maman product at Tesco, then upload a photo of the receipt.
#15 Strongbow’s Refreshing Moments – Big Cash Prize for User Generated Content
In previous summers, cider brand Strongbow have launched their Refreshing Moments competition in venues and supermarkets. They asked buyers to snap a photo of their refreshing moment with Strongbow – either in a bar/pub or with a can.
Over 6 weeks there were 10 winners chosen in total, each one winning a massive £10,000 cash. Plus 10 runners-up each week received a Polaroid GO camera bundle.
Photos had to be uploaded to the Strongbow website and winners were drawn at random.
#16 Jet2 Summer Social – Creative Entries for a Celebrity Event
We’re taking luxury prizes to a new level with this special prize promotional campaign. With Jet2 being a flights and holidays brand, it made perfect sense to set up a contest inviting winners to join a summer social trip to the Costa Brava.
Jet2 offered 180 seats on their planes to the sunshine destination. The winners had a brilliant weekend of excursions and entertainment, with special guest Denise Van Outen, and Pixie Lott performing at a gala dinner.
Participants were asked to submit a written and/or video entry explaining why they wanted to win. Each entrant had to select an itinerary and opt to take up to five guests with them. Entries were then judged, and winners chosen until Jet2 filled all 180 available seats on the planes.
#17 Backcountry – the GOAT (Greatest of all Time) on Instagram
Backcountry is an online clothing business that sells outdoor gear, so to help with brand awareness they created a simple, but unique contest on social media to bring in more sales and user generated content.
Every week for several months a winner’s photo would be chosen and they’d receive a $50 gift certificate and a pair of Smith Optics Goggles.
Contestants simply had to share pictures of their own best-ever experiences on Instagram with a simple tag #goatworthy.
#18 Doritos – A Flamin’ Hot Emoji Promo
If you’re looking for a brand that has mastered social media contests and giveaways, it’s Doritos. They always seem to know what prizes and social media contests will excite their audience, and they did it extremely well to promote their new Flame Grilled Steak flavour Doritos.
Numerous participants won a free box of the new flavour Doritos.
What made this competition so hot was the clever entry requirement. The easier you make it to enter your contest, the more people will enter to win. Doritos simply posted the competition on social media and asked followers to comment with flame emoji’s underneath to enter. The first tweet got over 300 replies (entries) and almost 200 retweets.
#19 Sunny Co – The Celebrity Factor
Popular swimsuit brand Sunny Co would host annual giveaways and really struck gold with their ‘Pamela Swimsuit Giveaway’ – based around Pamela Anderson in her Baywatch glory days.
This social media contest went viral and gained popularity on Instagram so fast that the brand gained over 750,000 followers overnight.
A free red bathing suit – just like the one Pammy used to wear in the hit TV show.
Anyone who reposted (or retweeted) and tagged the brand in their giveaway post would qualify for a swimsuit.
The price of quick fame had some consequences too – as the owners of the company had to potentially giveaway tens of thousands of FREE bathing suits after the contest went viral.
#20 Skittles Greatest Fan in the World – Classic Photo Contest
Skittles became one of the first major brands to make its home on social media. In 2012 they decided to host an international social media contest called the ‘Skittles Greatest Fan In The World’.
This is an excellent idea that your brand could easily pinch and gain some serious traction online.
The winner earned the official title of ‘Skittles Greatest Fan in the World’.
Lovers of Skittles were simply asked to take a unique photo of themselves with their bags of Skittles treats and post it directly on the company’s dedicate contest webpage.
#21 Starbucks – Get Customers Personalising your Products
By encouraging creativity with your products among buyers you can create some awesome prize promotional campaigns.
Each year Starbucks makes headlines with their cup designs and fan contests, and this is one you could perhaps tailor to your own products.
The winning design — which is judged on creativity, as well as adherence to the rules and public appeal — is made into a limited-edition reusable cup and comes with a prize of a $300 gift card.
Participants must create an original design on a white Starbucks cup and post it to Instagram or Twitter.
#22 Buffalo Wild Wings – ‘Fannerism’ Contests
With so many big sporting events every calendar year, your business can tie in with those and capitalize on ‘fannerism’. Buffalo Wild Wings did exactly that by taking advantage of the 2014 World Cup to promote their brand on social media.
The winner received a gift card to share with friends.
Contestants had to share their #fannerism moments by taking a pic of themselves and their friends watching their favourite teams.
#23 Doritos Crash The Super Bowl – Get your Customers Making Brand Commercials
Inviting customers go get creative and produce their own mini advert about your brand could generate plenty of interest. The ‘Crash The Super Bowl’ contest was an annual online advert competition run by Frito-Lay.
Consumers were invited to create their own Doritos ads, and each year at least one fan-made commercial was guaranteed to air during the Super Bowl.
Doritos offered bonus prizes ranging from $400,000 to $1,000,000. Eight editions of the Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest were held between 2006 and 2016.
Short videos were submitted online. More than 36,000 entries were produced between 2006 and 2016.
#24 My Oreo Creation – Co-Create a New Product
Back in 2017, Oreo cookies came up with a clever idea for customers to co-create a new product with them and turned it into a contest called ‘My Oreo Creation’.
The brand’s campaign coincided with its limited edition flavour that came out called Firework. This flavour features Oreo cookies and popping candy in its cream.
The winner of the My Oreo Creation competition received $500,000, a trip to New York City, and the release of their flavour in the spring/summer of 2018.
People on Twitter and Instagram were invited to introduce their flavour ideas under the hashtag #MyOreoCreation and #Contest to enter the competition. The flavours were judged on criteria that includes taste appeal, creativity and originality.
#25 IKEA Wonderful Everyday – a Wonderful Photo Contest
The IKEA ‘Wonderful Everyday’ photo contest is a brilliant marketing campaign from the UK arm of the Swedish retail chain that has seen user-generated content included in exhibitions across Britain.
The #WonderfulEveryday photo contest saw the creation of a ‘Snapshots of Britain Gallery’ featuring 100 stunning photos from people online.
As well as having their photos featured in exhibitions, winners also earned £1000 worth of gift cards.
Given that this was a photo contest, the entries were submitted via Instagram using the hashtag #WonderfulEveryday. British photographer Mike Kus judged the competition and picked the top entries.