In honor of Mother’s day, a local jewelry store held a contest where they invited students from area schools to write a letter explaining what made their mother special. The winners of the content would receive one of several 1/4 carat diamond pendants the store would be giving away.
The concept here is pretty basic but what the store did well was to connect with area schools. The contest wasn’t marketed broadly to everyone, just students from certain schools near their store. By focusing on those schools, they were guaranteed to reach people in their target geography — prospects who might actually shop at their store. By encouraging the children to write an essay, they were able to connect with teachers and administrators trying to help elementary age children look for different ways to demonstrate their vocabulary and composition skills (essential components of their Language Arts curriculum). And when it got close to decision making time, they were able to pitch their campaign to the local media (I saw the story as a CBS Cares feature on CBS 46) by leveraging the angle of the large number of kids who submitted essays (in the thousands).
Media love kids. Call it crazy but the visual of kids talking about their Mother’s day essay put this campaign over the top and helped the local jeweler to gain publicity far beyond his investment. His real costs were limited to the prizes. In actuality he and his staff spent an enormous amount of time creating, promoting and officiating the contest but the image, awareness and good will he received will pay handsome rewards for his business.
I regret that CBS 46 removed the video about this stunt from their website but I was able to locate documentation of a prior campaign: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox2oq6LMP2Q.