Comment: Andrew Rae, Head of Promotions at The Black Tomato Agency, looks at prize promotions where the reward has an element of social responsibility.

Comment: Responsibility as a reward


COMMENT: Andrew Rae, Head of Promotions at The Black Tomato Agency, looks at the growth of prize promotions where the reward has an element of social responsibility.

Brands and agencies alike are becoming aware that competition entrants want more. Sometimes they may want to be challenged when entering, so proving their worth. And sometimes they want the prize to be something more than just a reward for them personally; they are looking for something shareable and, dare I say it in reference to a competition prize, something worthy.

Creative teams and prize management agencies are being challenged to create prizes that offer more. This could be via the mechanic, for example winning the prize for another person or being asked to demonstrate why they should win through a charitable action or perhaps a video, all the way through to the prize experience itself.

Big brands have generally led the way with community-related prizes, relying on their access to talent (and funds) to give their campaigns substance and clout.

Mars tapped into the community spirit in 2002, when the prize experience was focussed around the town helping to rebuild the winner’s local clubhouse. This trend has been repeated with other, mainly sport related campaigns.

The opportunity for a star to surprise a local club and pass on their words of wisdom, or simply becoming a water boy for the day, provides rich and eminently shareable content.

Charity-linked promotions are also on the rise. In the US, Johnson & Johnson recently ran a promotion where for every participant that purchased $20 of the company’s FMCG products, the company doubled its donation to USO, a non-profit organization that supports US troops.

The promotion used technology provided by Snipp Interactive, innovators in mobile-led receipt validation technology, and consumers could easily email, text or upload their receipts onto the brand’s website. An immediate result and an immediate interaction.

Adam Doran, MD of Snipp Interactive in the UK, says: “By using our Mobile Receipt Validation technology and promotions platform, brands in the US have been able to drive sales of their products, link to a charitable cause and enable consumers to quickly and easily donate just by submitting their receipt via their mobile – a ‘win win’ for all involved. By taking the ‘heavy lifting’ out of participation for the consumers means higher engagement levels and the removal of the need to print costly on-pack codes for the brands means a larger pot to be donated.  Having a direct link to sales, either quantity or spend based in one transaction or over time, is the final piece that makes these types of programmes viable for the brand and why we are expecting similar activations in the UK market.”

Big hitters Kenco and Andrex have effectively used the charitable angle in their promotional campaigns.

Kenco’s Coffee vs. Gangs campaign rewards your coffee drinking loyalty with the opportunity to save Honduran children from gangs by offering them an alternative, a new future as coffee farmers.

The traditional Sales Promotion tactic is still there – swap your points for a family day out or shopping vouchers – but the message of supporting local communities is undeniably the star of the show.

Interestingly, Kenco has since managed to do something rather unique with the name “Coffee Vs Gangs”, emblazoning the logo on merchandise which can also be won, meaning the message outlives the duration of the campaign.

Andrex take the personal route to another level with its Cause Related Marketing and, using its traditional Guide Dogs relationship, allows consumers to swap loyalty points for specific training items such as leads for a dog of their choice. A great campaign made even more personal with the chance to pick your pooch.

Brand teams are now increasingly seeking to create a more altruistic feeling around their promotions in order to stand apart from the crowd.

One excellent current example is the ‘Chain of Betters’ promotion being run by Western Union. Consumers are invited to submit ideas for using $1,000 to help people anywhere in the world. Every month, the five best ideas, as judged by a panel including the client, receive the money and the support to make the idea become a reality.

Recent winners have included a scheme to buy chickens for Syrian refugees in Turkey, to support a cinema for the blind in Hungary and to provide mosquito nets for villages in Malawi.

So will traditional holiday experiences as prizes die out altogether? No. Cars, cash and holidays still top the bill for the most popular prizes. However, we are seeing more and more promotions where the reward helps other people.

We recently ran a prize campaign for Malta Guinness where we brought one lucky Nigerian winner to the UK to experience the life of a Premiership footballer. This was the meat of the prize, the hook that got the entries flooding in, including a day’s private training at Charlton Athletic, an FA Training Course and a private London Bus tour to name a few elements.

The CSR element came with the chance for the winner to pass on the benefits of his experience, including what he learnt on the course and the wise words from the professional footballers he met, to his local club in Nigeria and to win some top of the range equipment for it. Not to mention the completely unexpected offer from Charlton Athletic Chief Executive Katrien Meire to provide financial and business support to his home club, and you have the perfect ingredients for a ‘money can’t buy’ prize with CSR at its heart.

Innovation in prizes and campaign creation is more important than ever. The clever consumer demands more and the brands that innovate and reward with this in mind will be the ones that truly connect with the consumer and stand out in a saturated market.

Andrew Rae is Head of Promotions at prize management specialist The Black Tomato Agency.

The Black Tomato Agency designs and manages boundary-pushing prize experiences at home and abroad. With an in-house team of prize management experts and award winning travel operators and working together with top marketing agencies, FMCG brands, media owners, film studios and radio stations, promotions are brought to life and perfectly delivered in an on-brand and innovative way.

The Black Tomato Agency is a sponsor of the IPM Awards 2016 and will be supplying prize experiences for the event.

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