Keep Calm & Plan a Contest

Keep Calm & Plan a Contest



One of the oldest known examples of contests is, European sea-faring nations offering a ‘grand prize’ to anyone who would find a solution to determine the longitudinal positions of ships at sea. Cut to 21st century, and contests have become the norm and marketers can conquer a sea of customers using this powerful tool.

Contests are a ‘game of skill’ where you get the participants to perform a task. For Instance, the best photo, best video, and more recently, best Dubsmash contests. Sweepstakes are simpler and are a ‘game of chance’. For instance, a lucky draw, where winners are picked at random and participants are not asked to perform a skill-based task. There’s also a third new category, Instant Wins – which is also a ‘game of chance’. The difference between an Instant Win and Sweepstake is that, in case of the former, the participant instantly knows, if they’ve won, and what they’ve won.


Contests are like an Obstacle Race!

Because marketers jump through all kinds of obstacles, against a deadline, to even finish!

For a marketer, trying to put together a contest or sweepstake, it starts with the brand positioning at the core. The next come the target audience and figuring out what would entice them to perform an intended task. The campaign’s objective could range from increasing sales, to associating with a sports event or increasing the brand’s fan base on social media. The rewards are thus picked based on the objective, audience affinities, complexity of the task that the customers are expected to perform, and let’s not forget, ‘the budget’. It can be very tricky, but not impossible, to short list rewards that tick all these checkboxes. After the rewards have been picked, logistics come into play. Which becomes more complicated if you’re planning to give away experiential rewards – since partner management, negotiations and legal nightmares become real.

And we’re just getting started…


So far, what our marketer has is a beautiful castle in the air

Now comes the grown-up stuff. Choosing the right technology stack is a make or break decision for the campaign: how customers engage with the brand at multiple touch points, from hearing about the offer to redeeming rewards. These decisions are completely dictated by how tech. savvy the TG is, what cities they’re based out of and what they do for a living. One must also consider compliance with all State laws individually, which can become tedious for even a slightly complex program. Stress-testing and auditing is another important aspect, where in case of large scale programs logistics can become a challenge. Something as small as a winner not receiving their prize on time can leave behind a negative experience that gets attributed to your brand. Speaking of negative experiences, bringing about transparency and fairness in your program, is a make or break of trust with your consumers.

The three paragraphs worth of ramblings above are not even the tip of the iceberg. In summation, a contest or sweepstake is by far the trickiest kind of campaign to plan. Lack of experience in running such a campaign can potentially end up in a catastrophe.


So, where is the LOVE?…



On the other hand, if a contest or sweepstake is done right, it is a very cost-effective way to create a ‘buzz’, generate UGC, motivate sales teams who see a lot of initiatives being taken by the brand, in addition to increasing sales.

At BigCity, we’ve gained expertise in running contests and sweepstakes, that too from ideas to execution. All our experts need is, ‘your castle in the air’. We’ll plug-in the right rewards, the campaign strategy, technology stack, figure the legalities and bring in auditors and partners – all within your campaign budget.

A very popular FMCG brand was rebranding and wanted to run a high decibel pan India sweepstake, targeting the masses, where winners were declared every minute. Lucky customers won merchandise (over 100 varieties) across categories and Crores of customers engaged and participated in the program. We handled over 65,000 gratifications during this program including the tech. integration, right down to last mile logistics.


What’s Next?

Now let’s put things into perspective. The number of smartphone users in India will rise to 530 Million in 2018, the second largest in the world after China. Also, the monthly data consumption on every smartphone in India is estimated to grow five times from 3.9 GB in 2017 to 18 GB by 2023 (Ericsson Mobility Report 2017). This increased use of smartphones implies more interaction and engagements between brands and consumers.

As an agency, we believe this is the next gold rush where opportunity meets a ready eco system, and brands that dare to do more, will come out on top. With advancements in technology, no limits will be put on creative concepts due to being ‘ahead of their time’. Brands can now engage customers using AR, VR, fantasy leagues, gamification… the possibilities are endless. Our new automation platform helps marketers deliver contests and sweeps across multiple touchpoints like social media, mobile, in-store and more. The time to engage and conquer is here and, we’re all aboard and ready to sail!



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