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Spring 2019

Running a contest? Here’s how to make sure your brand wins too.

By rethinking what a contest can be, Pioneer captured the imagination of entire communities.


 
Contests can be an effective tool to build your email list, grow your social media following and cultivate brand awareness. People will practically hand over their social insurance number for a chance to win a gift card.
 
But can they make a meaningful impact on your audience and generate heightened engagement? Can they go hand-in-hand with your company’s social responsibility goals? And do they have the power to whip entire communities into a frenzy? For Pioneer, the answer was a resounding “yes” when it came to their “Here’s to Hometowns” contest campaign.
 
“We wanted to put our words into action and find a way to give back to farmers and their communities.”

 
“We’ve been passionate about thanking farmers for their hard work and dedication for years,” says Tara Moir, Marketing Communications Manager, Pioneer® brand products. “But we wanted to put our words into action and find a way to give back to farmers and their communities.”
 
“Contests are a great way for brands to give back. But most companies offer a grand prize and award it to one person,” says Stacy Barr, Partner and Strategic Lead at Milestone Integrated Marketing. “They become a blip on the radar then vanish, only really benefitting the sole winner. With Pioneer’s “Here’s to Hometowns” contest, we asked entire communities what would benefit them as a whole. It got people thinking about their hometowns in a way that resembled that traditional farm town mentality.”
 
To enter, participants were asked to submit a two-minute video proposing how they would use the prize money to support a community project. The total prize pool was $200,000, divided into four grand prizes.
 
“Asking people to film a video was a bit of a risk because it requires a pretty high level of involvement, but that was the point,” continues Barr. “It’s not just a life-changing prize, it’s a community-changing prize. We wanted entire communities to come together and collaborate on their entry – and that’s exactly what happened.”
 
Our twist on the contest campaign proved to be a winning formula for Pioneer, as it yielded an impressive 80 unique video submissions from communities in six provinces.
 
When it came time to vote for the grand prize winners, people were so enthusiastic that they momentarily crashed the contest microsite.

 
Along with presenting Pioneer’s brand message in a meaningful way, the campaign delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars in free media impressions from news outlets, members of the government, politicians, community groups and agriculture organizations as they participated in promoting the contest. Even the Ontario Minister of Education spread the word on Twitter.
 

 
Milestone’s strategic approach helped us connect with our base in a genuine, meaningful way
 
And when it came time to vote for the grand prize winners, people were so enthusiastic that they momentarily crashed the contest microsite. The site saw the most traffic of any Pioneer webpage to date, beating the next most visited page by more than 60,000 visitors.
 
“Milestone’s strategic approach helped us connect with our base in a genuine, meaningful way,” concludes Moir. “And moreover, it sparked a tremendous amount of goodwill among Canadians, reassuring them that Pioneer remains committed to supporting its customers, farmers and communities. And that’s truly the way to make a contest be meaningful and give back.”

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