Friday, 12 May 2017

That’s the way to do it!

Competitions with great big prizes are fantastic - obviously - but how often do they stick in your mind? Sure, if you’re a winner, you’re going to get a warm fuzzy feeling every time you hear the promoter’s name, but what about those comps you entered but didn’t win? Let’s say you’re desperate to win a PS4, and in the last six months entered every last competition to win one - how many of those promoters can you still name, and how many have been lost in the general haze of comping noise swirling round your head?

Are comps with lots of smaller prizes any better? Certainly, the physical footprint of the promotion is larger as more people will be touched personally by the brand, and their affection for said brand will flourish accordingly. But again, what about the folks who go without? What impact has the promoter’s marketing (for that is what the competition is, after all) had on them?

For some promoters, that’s simply the price of harvesting contact details for a future mailshot. They’ve done the maths, and they’re happy with that. Promoters looking for something more touchy-feely, however, such as raising brand awareness or improving customer relationships, may well be disappointed. I know I am - if only because I hate to see effort go to waste.

For this reason, when I see a promoter execute something technically brilliant, I think it’s only right to single them out for praise. To this end, consider the recent flash competition from PayPal.

Let's start by bearing in mind that a key aim of advertising is to strengthen brand associations through well-timed repetition. In this instance, the comp pounced on a topical event (the demise of the paper fiver) to leverage its ongoing ‘New Money’ marketing campaign.
The precision timing of the competition was textbook: the old five pound note ceased to be legal tender on Friday, 6th May and the competition ran on the following Monday, with the catchline, ‘New money doesn’t expire’ - a great example of using a competition to reinforce the campaign message.

Second, advertising with an emotional message, rather than a rational one, has a greater impact on customer attention, memory and behaviour. Here, the competition targeted frustrated members of the public who had just missed the window of opportunity for spending their paper money and gave them the chance to add a silver lining to their cloud. In other words, PayPal offered to make a virtue out of their fail. That kind of touchy-feely stuff is manna for positive brand sentiment.

Third, 100 people won a tenner’s worth of PayPal credit - that’s a great prize pot by any measure!

Fourth, to redeem the prize, the winners had to log in to their PayPal account, which is to say, they had to experience the brand, the positive emotion associated with their win combining with the familiar visual elements of the brand to create the best possible impression on their long-term memory.

Winners without a PayPal account of course needed to set up one tout suite - another win for PayPal, as all marketers like to grow market share.

Finally, I was one of the winners, so naturally I feel GREAT about the whole thing!

What comps do you think have been well executed this year? Let me know in the comments below…


  1. well done - fab win! I love comps where I'e enjoyed taking part and become more loyal to the brand regardless of whether I won. I have bought so many things that I would never have come across if i hadn't originally found them via a comp so it really does work. I just think it is a few unappreciative compers that give everyone a bad name by not appreciating their wins, not bothering to say thank you etc.

    1. I can understand how people can forget to say thanks - that's why I've got a column in my prize spreadsheet to remind me! I try to send a photo too - it costs nothing to be polite, and social media managers love user-generated content :)