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How CPG brands are getting summer sweepstakes wrong on mobile

Summer sweepstakes are kicking into high gear and savvy marketers know to make mobile a focal point, but recent efforts suggest consumer packaged goods brands are taking a formulaic approach that could turn off more consumers than it wins over.  

Marketers are increasingly embracing the idea that the best mobile efforts reach consumers with entertaining snippets of content as they go about their daily activities. However, recent efforts appear to offer little of value to consumers. Nor are they unique or interesting enough to gain attention. 

?While it does seem that many brands are quick to run sweepstakes there is a reason for that,? said Shuli Lowy, marketing director for mobile at Ping Mobile. ?Sweepstakes have proven to be effective methods of driving consumer action. 

?The level at which consumers choose to engage with a campaign will depend on the quality of the content and the ease of use to participate,? she said. 

?While brands may therefore choose to run a sweepstakes that doesn't mean they have to make it cookie cutter and boring. The content that is released throughout the campaign is a key component to determining whether consumers will be excited about the campaign or not.?

Summer fun
Because it is summer, when consumers are looking to enjoy being outdoors, there has been a rash of campaigns focused on traditional summer activities, such as barbeques, road trips and music festivals. These activities are recognized as inherently mobile, with consumers frequently pulling out their phones to take photos, access recipes, listen to music and look for travel tips. 

Recent campaigns also focus on delivering entertaining video, either on YouTube or a dedicated mobile-optimized site, to engage mobile users.  

And, the requisite campaign hashtag is included as a way to drive social engagement and help spread awareness. 

A new summer sweepstakes promotion from Kellogg's Pringles asks consumers who purchase a specially marked can of Pringles to enter a code found on the packaging at the Web site for a chance to win tickets to a Live Nation concert. 

?Pringles' creative project to turn its chips can into musical instruments and Chex Mix's road trip campaign are both methods through which the snack companies are bringing consumers into the story and spice of their brand,? Ms. Lowy said. ?However the focus on social engagement and the ease of entry varies between the two campaigns. 

?It is strange that Pringles isn't offering a simpler method for consumers to enter the sweepstakes,? she said. ?While most other brands will leverage a sweepstakes to gain further social viability of grow their subscriber base, Pringles is asking consumers to go visit a URL and enter a product code to participate in the sweepstakes. 

?Even when consumers do go to the landing page, they then have to click to go to a second page in order to enter the sweepstakes. If you want to get consumers to participate in a campaign you need to make the entry process as simple and easy as possible.?

Road trip
Pringles' summer sweepstakes campaign is called Summer Jam and positions the can the product comes in as a musical instrument as well as a medium for winning tickets to a music festival. 

The brand has also released six videos featuring top percussionists incorporating Pringles chips and cans into their music, which can also be found on the site. 

The effort lives on Twitter, as well, where consumers are encouraged to us the hashtags #PringlesSummerJam and #PringlesSummerJamSweeps to participate in the conversation. 

A new campaign from General Mills? Chex brand enlists television personality Alfonso Ribeiro and Vine celebrities The Eh Bee Family to make humorous videos as they visit a number of scenic spots across the country and give away prizes. The series is titled the Chex Mix Deliciously Unpredictable Road Trip. 

Consumers are encouraged to follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #ChexMixRoadTrip. Interested consumers can also share their own family road-trip photos and videos using the hashtag #ChexMixSweepstakes for a chance to win of 20 $250 prize packs. 

A new TV spot aired recently and is available on Chex Mix?s YouTube channel. The campaign will also be brought to the Chex Mix Web site and social media channels this summer. 

?When a sweepstakes has an option to enter via a URL or via a text we usually see about four times the amount of entries come in via SMS,? Ms. Lowy said. ?Visiting a URL requires a little more work and therefore is not as popular. 

?When you're trying to get consumers to perform any action through a URL you have to keep in mind that every additional step creates drop offs,? she said. ?Pringles choice to make the entry via a URL and then make the mobile entry in that URL require a second page will have an impact on the number of entries the campaign receives.?
Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York