Oiselle Hosts “Totally Trials” Contest to Get Runners Pumped for U.S. Olympic Team Trials

With the trials for the 2012 U.S. Olympic track team coming up this weekend, many running-focused companies have capitalized on the buzz surrounding the big events happening in Track Town USA, forming partnerships and sharing creative ways running enthusiasts can participate even if they aren’t trying to climb atop the podium that leads to London.

Oiselle, a smaller women’s running apparel company based in Seattle, Wa., hosted a great contest earlier this summer that helped drum up excitement for the trials as well as the brand itself. Called “Totally Trials,” the contest invited pairs of running buddies to submit applications detailing why they should be chosen to attend the U.S. Track Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR to cheer on the elite athletes.

The winners received airfare, accommodations, tickets to a big party featuring M.C. Hammer (um, awesome?!), Oiselle swag, and, of course, passes to the trials themselves. That is a pretty amazing prize package that provides more than enough incentive to develop a creative contest entry.

One aspect of this contest I especially liked is that the company selected winners based on creativity and merit – no additional popularity element, such as number of votes or comments, played a role in the decision. There are obvious pros and cons to including crowd-sourced votes in contests, but I think excluding this element worked in Oiselle’s favor because it created one fewer barrier to entry, most likely resulting in more submissions.

For example, I know I don’t have a huge blog or Twitter following and I dislike asking my friends to vote for me in contests. When I see promotions that take votes into consideration, I almost never participate because I doubt I can wrangle up enough supporters to overcome more popular influencers. While I still passively engage with these contests, it is rare that I would take the time to put together an entry of my own.

For a smaller brand like Oiselle that is trying to build its consumer base and increase brand awareness, getting people to put in effort creating an entry means you’re getting them to really think about and connect with your company and/or products. This makes it more likely contest participants will become a consumers or, at least,  brand supporters.

Most of the entrants made videos, which they uploaded to YouTube and promoted on their own social networks. This helped spread the word about the contest and generated organic coverage for Oiselle.

image credit: Oiselle blog

As the adorable photo above states, now it’s almost time for the trials. The winners are getting ready to spectate (AKA “fine-tuning their cowbells”), and I’m excited to follow along as they broadcast the events live from Track Town USA. Again, similarly to what nuun accomplished with its blogger team for the Hood-to-Coast relay, Oiselle now has two eager, influential women on its side to create compelling and engaging content that will be shared widely, sustaining the momentum the original contest generated.

  1. Are you looking forward to watching the Trials this weekend? Will you be following along online?
  2. Do you like entering contests where voting is a consideration or do you prefer merit-based ones?

7 thoughts on “Oiselle Hosts “Totally Trials” Contest to Get Runners Pumped for U.S. Olympic Team Trials

  1. I didn’t even realize the trials were coming up! I watched the marathon qualifying race (is that what it was?) that took place in Houston on tv. It’s so cool to watch the athletes in the top of their field and totally dedicated to their sport leave it all on the field. Very inspiring!*

    • As a former track athlete, I love watching the trials and the actually Olympics. It’s rare that track gets highlighted so prominently in such a short time frame so I really soak it up.

      Now that I’m more invested in the running community again – especially online – I am really, really excited for the next week’s events. “Totally” inspiring!

  2. ummm YES i am stoked for the Trials…i am even going to be jumping up like you and that cutie are! 🙂 haha. but i will admit to being way partial to the long distance events…hate me but i get up to go grab my food during a zillion heats of the 100 but i am GLUED to the screen for all 25 laps of the 10k. 😉

    • Ha! That’s really funny that you take breaks during the sprints! I like all the track events except for the throwing ones – seriously, I am going to be camped out in front of my friend’s TV to catch the distance, sprints, and jumps. I. CAN’T. WAIT.

  3. I’m going to be in Chicago for a half marathon, so I’ll mainly be following online via twitter but I’m really hoping we’ll get to a bar to watch so I can see some of the 800m competition! I’ll actually be in Eugene with the Oiselle ladies starting next Wednesday, so excited about that. I also really liked this contest, I can’t handle all the “vote for my cute baby” posts I constantly see, they drive me crazy!

    • I’m so happy that I can use social media to stay updated on the trials. I plan on watching the 10K tonight, but I won’t be able to catch any events tomorrow. Luckily, I have Twitter!

      Personally, I’m with you on the contests. I definitely get why brands want to incorporate public voting as it helps generate more exposure, but I think it only works well when it’s done properly. I mean, just because someone clicked “Like” on another person’s photo doesn’t mean he or she took the time to learn about the contest and the company behind it.

      That’s really cool that you’ll be in Eugene next week – be sure to share lots of stories and pictures! And, good luck in the half this weekend!

  4. Pingback: Under Armour’s “What’s Beautiful?” Project Engages Female Athletes | Staying On Track

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