An Example of a Social Media Contest Done Right!

An Example of a Social Media Contest Done Right!

As many of you know I am a big fan of social media. Search for me on Google and I hardly show up in the results, you won't find me at a bridal show, nor in paid ads inside a magazine. Instead all my business comes from word of mouth referrals and exposure via social media. When I heard about Mercedes-Benz launching a new campaign focused around social media, particularly Instagram, I decided to look into it. What I found is a perfect example of how companies can use social media contests to market themselves.

In an effort to build up excitement about their new entry luxury CLA targeted at Gen Y, Mercedes-Benz chose 5 of Instagram's top photographers based on their photos, number of fans and fan engagement. They are letting each photographer borrow the car for a one week period and have them post photos of their experience during that week. The photographer that gets the most amount of "Likes" on their images during that week wins a 3-year lease on the car. As they put it in their video, "It's not how fast or far you go, it's who follows you."

In an effort to give everyone else a chance to win the car as well, Mercedes-Benz is asking people to submit their own Instagram feed to their website www.CLATakeTheWheel.com. At the end of the contest they will choose one more Instagram user who best reflects their brand and give that person a lease on the car as well.

Mercedes-Benz will also be using their Facebook page with over 1.7 million users and cross-pollinate the campaign by posting regular photos from the Instagram contest to their Facebook page. Bernhard Glaser, VP of Marketing for Mercedes-Benz, has said that the contestants are not required to mention or even include any photos of the car in their posts but a quick glance at the Instagram feed page of Tim Landis and you'll see images of the car popping up. Can't blame the guy though. How could he not post images of such a beautiful car as he takes it on a journey.

Mercedes-Benz nailed it on this one. In short they hired for free photographers who have a tremendous following of users on Instagram, gave them a car for a week and asked them to share their experience. Throughout the next 5 weeks they will be sharing these great images through their Instagram feed and across Facebook stirring up a social media Sharknado. In the end, they give away a 3-year lease on the vehicle (the winner doesn't even get to keep the car.) The real winner in this one is Mercedes-Benz and much respect to them for coming up with such a great marketing campaign. "It's all about credibility, not pushing out marketing messages on Instagram or YouTube," Glaser says. "...the consumer we are reaching, is 32 years old -- who sees the car and brand his own way, and that's our approach for CLA. We're not trying to push marketing messages out; we are using social media holistically and telling a story."

Posted In: 
Log in or register to post comments

16 Comments

JOE DDD (Daniel Dalin Drechsler)'s picture

they, win,,, a lease?
lol wow a lease...

oh well if they're happy with the prize,.cool beans...

You honestly wouldn't be stoked to drive a new Mercedes for the next three years for the cost of insurance? Sounds like a good deal to me.

Some people are hard to please. And even if you did win it, he would be complaining that it's not the AMG version. And even if it was. It's not an M3. And if it was, it's not a Ferrari, and so it goes on.

In all fairness, it is Mercedes Benz, and "a" car would not presuppose such a big effort to give away in exchange for the amount of exposure it will get in return, a 3-year use of a car highly devaluates it's price, and going from there to actually giving it away is really no big deal for this huge automobile company. Of course a 3-year lease is better than nothing, but so is a 2-year lease, a 1-year lease or a cheerful pat in the back. Well played Mercedes, well played.

I agree it´s a fair prize... I don´t think that you yourself would reject this offer.
By the way, Mercedes is the number one car of choice for taxi drivers in germany- not especially for it´s quality, but for the special bargains they offer for taxi drivers, thus creating the impression it would be the professionals brand of trust:-)
But it´s quite true that the car will highly devaluate it`s price, as Dan says, and it would not make a huge difference to Mercedes if they gave the car instead the leasing.

I agree it´s a fair prize... I don´t think that you yourself would reject this offer.
By the way, Mercedes is the number one car of choice for taxi drivers in germany- not especially for it´s quality, but for the special bargains they offer for taxi drivers, thus creating the impression it would be the professionals brand of trust:-)
But it´s quite true that the car will highly devaluate it`s price, as Dan says, and it would not make a huge difference to Mercedes if they gave the car instead the leasing.

It's SharknaDo.

Trevor Dayley's picture

Thanks Jordan, correction made.

Andrew Griswold's picture

This is why I think Instagram is KING in social media and its the only place I truly commit time to on a daily basis vs Facebook/Twitter. If you are not using it as a photographer to promote your work and spread awareness for your style and brand you are missing out big time! This is a perfect example of why Instagram has the advertising market on lock without having "ads" slapped on their page. They let the brands come to the users and promote their products or events via their photography in their own style. The followers they have are already following them and have a strong affection towards their work so throwing a decently priced Mercedes into the mix of their photos you can see that beautiful ride in a style you enjoy vs a more specific market that Mercedes shows in their tv ads and print ads. The best part though, they picked 5 completely different shooters for this with totally different styles and markets to really spread the word evenly across the social platform.

I am going to go one deeper Trevor and say these guys aren't just doing this for free, I have been researching advertising on Instagram myself for a few months now and finally the past few weeks found ways to help companies and brands promote via my IG feed. These guys work for a company called Tinker Street (tinker-street.com) and are part of a large collaborative group of photographers on IG in their mobile division. They are sent out to promote brands and products and of course get paid in the meantime. Recently a few of them were sent out to Hawaii to run a half marathon for Nike Free Running. The hashtag is (#projectrunfree). One of my biggest inspirations for years before Instagram is Michael O'Neal and its been amazing watching him connect his style to brands around the globe. Another amazing project Tinker worked on was the #yukon1x1 where they were hired by the Canadian Tourism Commission (#explorecanada) to fly out to the Yukon and snap photos of the UNREAL landscapes and scenic spots in the area.

This company is doing great things and you better believe I will continue to keep a close eye on them for inspiration and ideas for starting my own local start-up.

I am currently in talks to start-up a similar style group here in Indy myself locally and then hopefully spread upon that. To see more of what these guys are up to check out O'Neal's page at Instagram.com/moneal and also check out my feed at Instagram.com/the_gris and follow along!

Trevor Dayley's picture

This is fantastic information. Thanks so much Andrew for the awesome comment. Also just started following you on Instagram as well.

Andrew Griswold's picture

You bet duder! I am a bit of a social media nut (mainly Instagram). Thanks for the follow!! Really appreciate it man!

A much better example is this one right here: https://www.facebook.com/likemyride?fref=ts

Trevor Dayley's picture

They are just full of good social media marketing ideas!

False advertising alert!! The voice over says, "....keeps the car...." ...twice!........which implied ownership. They are giving away three years use of the car, not ownership.

Trevor Dayley's picture

Which is also mentioned in the article.

But not in the video. The video should say "use of a car" or "a three year lease" not "keeps the car."