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