By October 12, 2012on
The nights are drawing in and at Spark & Fuse HQ we have been working hard on our Halloween costumes. The time is nearly upon us to eat loads of sweets, ahem, I mean give sweets to scarily dressed children who knock on our doors trick-or-treating. To help you get into the Halloween spirit we have found some prize promotions to get you ready.
If like us, you have a sweet tooth make sure you visit www.goodtoknow.co.uk to be in with a chance of winning a Haribo Halloween hamper, just answer a simple question. Closes on 17th October 2012.
For those of you who like to be spooked by ghosts then enter this prize draw for your chance to win a Halloween break in the Peak District and a set of two Ghost Walk books. Closes on 15th October 2012.
Looking to entertain your little ones? Then winning some Halloween Stamps could be just the thing. Courtesy of Stampin’ Up, CardmakingandPapercraft.com have six wooden sets to give away for frightening Halloween designs that are not for the faint hearted! Closes on 18th October 2012.
Or if your kids are Scooby Doo fans then you will need their help answering this simple question to win some spooky Halloween DVD’s including Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King, Pooh’s Heefalump Halloween and Spongebob Squarepants Halloween. Closes on 27th October 2012.
For those looking for the perfect family Halloween day out then tickets to ‘Witches and Wizards’ Halloween at Blenheim Palace could be just the prize for you. Closes on 19th October 2012 (we think!).
Think you’ll need some help to recover after this year’s night of ghosts and ghouls? Then enter this prize draw to win a Yankee Halloween Candle, you’ll just need to answer a simple question in order to take part. Closes on 31st October 2012.
Feel free to send us pics of your costumes and pumpkin carvings - can you better our very own extreme-pumpkin-carver Fuse’s attempt above?!
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By August 3, 2012on
When PR expert, blogger and Cybher organiser, Sian To (www.geekisnewchic.com) asked if we would put together a definitive guide for bloggers to help them run prize promotions properly, we jumped at the opportunity. We see so many truly dreadful online competitions and prize draws that we’re quite regularly picking our chins up from the desk. It doesn’t matter if you’re a micro company, blogger or huge corporate, anyone running a prize promotion must adhere to certain rules and regulations. Get it wrong and you could even be breaking the law.
So for our most comprehensive guide on how to put together a prize draw or competition –click here http://cybher.com/12/2012/07/is-your-blog-giveaway-or-competition-legal/. Remember, it doesn’t matter who you are, absolutely no one exempt from industry regulations.
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By August 1, 2012on
We help our clients and promoters create and implement prize promotions and we understand how a promotion can meet their marketing objectives. But what actually makes an appealing prize promotion for a consumer? Is it the prizes, or is there more to it than that? We asked Di Coke comper extraordinaire (she’s won a colossal £200k worth of prizes) who blogs at both www.superlucky.co.uk and who writes for Compers News! to reveal what she thinks makes a competition work, or otherwise… over to Di…
I’ve been a successful comper for fifteen years and it’s fascinating to see how prize promotions have changed in that time. When I first discovered this addictive hobby, it was when the internet was just becoming popular. In the late 1990s I found most competitions on supermarket entry forms, flashed products or in magazines. These days most competitions and prize draws are launched on websites or Facebook; even if I do spot a printed form or on-pack ‘WIN’ flash, the entry method will often be via a website or by text message.
Comping has changed, and the ease of finding and entering prize promotions for free has meant the hobby has attracted a lot more keen fans. There are many different kinds of comper – tiebreaker experts, fast-paced Roboform users, Twitter RT addicts, Facebook Like & Sharers, Texters – with each having a certain amount of time and/or money to dedicate to the hobby. For most of us, comping time is limited, and many that use competition forum listings and autofill software will rarely stop to read the instructions or the Terms and Conditions. Indeed, for busy compers, engaging with the promoter isn’t top of their prizewinning priorities – so how can a brand ensure that their prize promotions are appealing, successful and get people talking on social networks?
From a promoter’s point of view, it’s the social compers that are worth targeting – those that are using Facebook and Twitter for competitions, but also find time for chat. These compers love to share competitions and recruit friends to their comping cause, and interact enthusiastically on promoters’ pages. If a promoter can engage with social compers then their Facebook page and promotions should be a resounding success. Social compers will post comments and photos, and tweet a Thanks message when they receive their prize. Their friends, on seeing these actions on their Facebook ticker or newsfeed, might be intrigued and pop over to the page to see what’s going on. Hopefully the content will be engaging enough for them to stay and browse for a while, and even interact themselves.
With over 1000 actively comping friends on my own Facebook newsfeed, the type of promotions that I have seen successfully create a buzz and get people talking are:
• Sending on a ‘gift’ to a friend, or choosing a friend who will share the prize with you
• Asking friends to work as a team to win a prize
• Ongoing promotions where a prize is given away every day/hour/week to a random entrant or to the best tiebreaker/photograph
• Instant wins with lots of prizes
Other promotions that can cause a buzz, but in a negative and potentially damaging way, are:
• Voting competitions: they encourage cheating, and the same names win every time, so it’s a better idea to judge or choose at random from all entries with, for example, 20 votes or more (or better still, don’t involve voting at all!)
• Referral competitions where the person who refers the most friends wins (a referral promotion where a fan has to get 2 or 3 friends to sign up, or extra entries in the draw for friends that enter is more effective)
• Games where the highest scorer wins: time and time again we see leaderboards topped by impossible scores, so there’s no incentive for people to play (try doing a random draw from everyone that achieves a certain score instead)
• ‘Like and Share’ competitions, which violate Facebook terms. Some compers love these because they’re so easy to enter, but there are a lot of pitfalls which I cover on my Superlucky blog.
There are lots of ways to connect with fans whilst plugging an online promotion:
• On a Facebook page, sharing competition entries or photos of previous winners can be a really appealing way of connecting with fans, and encourages interaction and chat
• When a Facebook user comments on a status, it appears in the ticker for all their friends/subscribers to see, so it’s always worth asking questions in a status update: ‘If you won our £1000 vouchers, what would you spend them on?’, or ‘What do you think of this fabulous entry into our photo competition?’ for example
• ’Like this post if you want to win a holiday’ is a classic – compers love the Like button and will use it even when it’s not a condition of entry; ensure that the entry URL is obvious though, as some people will think they’ve entered just by Sharing or Liking!
• Compers’ enthusiasm can be taken advantage of, as most of us love to share. Speaking from experience, when I’ve shared a competition link as ‘Public’ on Facebook I have noticed that several of my ‘normal’, non-comping friends go on to enter as well. Make Facebook posts appealing and fun, preferably with a photo. Bear in mind that when sharing a link with no photo, further shares by fans will NOT include the text of the original post – only the link. This doesn’t work at all well if the link is to the prize, rather than the promotion!
• When it comes to prizes, it might sound odd but it does seem people would much rather 100 prizes of £1000 rather than one big prize of £100,000. When huge prizes are given away on Facebook there’s a certain cynicism that rears its ugly head (usually from the non-comping fans!) and there might not be the congratulatory messages you’d expect.
• Most compers do love to see other compers win, so promotions where there are lots of smaller prizes (wine, t-shirts, vouchers, etc.) can be very effective, particularly if the prizes are staggered so there’s a regular flow of fans posting ‘Thankyou’ messages on a page.
• It’s difficult to please everybody all of the time, which is why it’s a good idea to try a variety of approaches to see what type of promotion works best and to give all fans a chance of winning a prize, whether they enjoy an easy prize draw or a complicated recipe competition.
• Always make sure there are clear and easily accessible Terms and Conditions, and that any important restrictions (if a holiday is for 2, or doesn’t include flights for example) are made clear, as most compers won’t even bother reading T&Cs!
• People hate to see cheats winning, so it pays to take steps to prevent them from entering, and also take accusations of cheating seriously – read my blog post about cheating here
• If running a promotion where a product purchase is required, ask for the receipt details upfront at entry stage; some cheeky compers will enter these competitions, then try and beg a qualifying receipt from elsewhere if they win!
There’s nothing I enjoy more than a well-thought out, creative and exciting competition – and if you have one to share, please get in touch so I can help promote it!
By July 13, 2012on
Two weeks and counting! We’re on tenterhooks here at Spark & Fuse HQ, and can’t wait for the Olympics to kick off. Spark has been caught limbering up behind her desk (no, she’s not competing in the games, but is warming up for the serious amount of walking she’ll be doing over the next few weeks in order to get to meetings) and Clair has promised to bake us some Olympic themed cupcakes to scoff so we’ve lots of sugary energy! While you wait with anticipation to see how London will deal with the influx of athletes, visitors, volunteers and workers, check out our round-up of Olympic prize promotions below – and see if you can’t bag yourself some of these fabulous tickets to the games.
Now, this one closes tonight at 23.59 (GMT) so you’ll need to be fast off the starting block to take on blogger Pippa Wright’s Coca-Cola Olympic Games Sustainability Challenge in a bid to secure yourself some tickets to see the Athletics on Tuesday 7th August (including travel and accommodation).
For those that like a more leisurely deadline to work to, try this one which ends 25th July. The prize? To watch the Men’s 100m final AND beach volleyball. It doesn’t get better than that.
For the creative people out there, simply upload a maximum of two photographs that you think best capture the ‘Spirit of the Olympics’ and you could be in with a chance to win two Olympics tickets, two UK Picture Editors’ Guild Award tickets and superfast BT Infinity.
Calling all EDF customers! There are Olympic tickets up for grabs as part of their ‘Thank You’ campaign. You can find out more here.
Tesco and P&G are offering VIP tickets to the Opening Ceremony plus 25 other pairs of tickets in their text to win promotion. You just need to purchase a P&G product to take part.
For our younger readers (10 to 18 years old) who would like to be in with chance to win tickets to the Olympic Torch Relay Concert to watch Dizzee Rascal, The Wanted, Eliza Doolittle and Mark Ronson, check out this promotion. It closes on 15th July, so sprint on over to Shout Mag now.
Spark is in good shape to take on the star-jump challenge after all her stretching, but what challenge would you take on in this Samsung Warm-Up & Win Competition?
Good luck. And don’t forget to let us know if you are a lucky winner!
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By May 21, 2012on
How the prize promotion landscape has changed! When we first started Spark & Fuse in 2006, Twitter was only a few months old, Facebook had been around for a couple of years but people used it mostly to poke each other and none of our clients had even considered either as a platform for prize promotions. In fact most of the projects on which we worked required postal entry only.
Every day the postman would drop off a bulging Royal Mail postbag, and we literally spent hours counting hundreds of thousands of postcards. It was admittedly not much fun. We also oversaw many a competition for which postal response was the only mechanism for entry. One year we received 32,000 posters drawn by school kids as part of an anti-bullying initiative – there were some very late nights (and tears) shortlisting those. And for many years, we helped to judge a Marks & Spencer Christmas shopping competition where customers had to complete a tie-breaker for a chance to win one of 25 £1,000 store vouchers. Each year on average we received about 12,000 entries and the crates of entries actually reached our office ceiling.
But it’s been years since this office has seen a tie-breaker! And what we mean by tie-breaker is complete a sentence or slogan in say, 25 words. It appears to have been replaced with far more creative and sophisticated competitions– thanks largely to social media platforms. We’re not sad to see them go – tie breaker competitions did generate a lot of very similar responses and the search for something truly original and clever was always incredibly difficult. Perhaps we’re not looking in the right places, or maybe they’re just a thing of the prize promotion past, along with sending in postcards… have you seen a tie-breaker competition recently? Let us know!
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By January 3, 2012on
With the arrival of the New Year you’re probably adding the final touches to your 2012 marketing plan or preparing promotional concepts for clients. Perhaps you’re planning a prize promotion as the opportunity to hook onto something of great national focus is tremendous this year – there’s the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Euro 2012 for a start.
Prize promotions are brilliant marketing tools and can achieve many things but before you make it so, are you absolutely sure that you’ve thought it all through properly? Tempting as it is to cut corners or replicate something you’ve seen elsewhere, it’s essential to get it right. Prize draws and competitions which are executed badly generate more publicity than those which are managed successfully. And websites dedicated to people who enter prize promotions (of which there are many) will pick up on anything untoward and won’t hesitate to criticise. Far from creating a positive feel-good connection with customers, ill-thought out promotions damage reputations and in some cases mean hefty fines or business penalties levied by industry regulators such as The Advertising Standards Authority.
We’ve been drafted in on many occasions to pick up the pieces of a poorly considered concept so would like to share some top tips to help you get it right from the outset.
1. First and foremost is your prize promotion compliant? Is it even legal? Prize promotions are regulated by The Gambling Act 2005 and it’s essential that you’re not in breach of this. Be certain that you understand the difference between a prize draw and a competition and if your prize promotion requires payment for entry in some way – be it purchasing a product or entering via SMS.
2. All prize promotions must have full terms and conditions. Yes, even if it’s only going on Twitter. And no, don’t make them up or copy something ‘because it looks really legal’ from someone else’s website. They may not know what they’re doing either. Terms and conditions are vital – they protect both the promoter and the customer
3. Include a closing date. Once a promotion is live, this date cannot be changed – even if you don’t receive as many entries as you would like.
4. Make it clear how customers enter the competition or prize draw. It might sound obvious, but don’t forget to include entry details in the copy. The clearer your entry details, the better the response.
5. If you’ve chosen to run a competition, it’s a CAP code requirement that an independent judge assists with the selection process. Your panel needs to include somebody with relevant experience for whom the outcome has no benefit. We know what you’re going to ask – no, neither your mum nor the work experience person is acceptable.
Before you action anything, approve budget or sign off creative be certain your prize promotion does not conflict with industry regulations or even fall foul of the law. Get in touch if you’d like advice on your concept or full terms and conditions for your prize promotion.
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