- Coca-Cola brand Vitaminwater is offering consumers a chance to win $100,000 by going a year without their smartphones, the company announced on its website.
- To enter, fans are asked to post on Instagram or Twitter how they would spend the time usually devoted to scrolling on their phones with hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest. Vitaminwater will select one participant who will trade in their smartphone for a 2000s-era phone-only device, according to a Fox 2 Now St. Louis report.
- Vitaminwater didn't specify how it will ensure that participants are not using smartphones, but mentioned a lie detector test in the announcement. The brand is awarding $10,000 if the person only makes it six months without using a smartphone, and then the full amount for the full year.
Vitaminwater is encouraging smartphone addicts to "break the cycle with scroll-free life solutions" and states that one out of two people say they can't live without their devices. Ironically, the method for entering sweepstakes is itself — like many such contests these days — built around smartphone-based participation, given its focus on two mobile-first social media platforms: Instagram and Twitter. A tweet about the contest had racked up thousands of comments and likes, with participants sharing photos of their kids, pets, travel destinations and more, suggesting that Vitaminwater has hit on a theme that is resonating with consumers and could drive up social media engagement for the brand.
People are spending more time than ever on their smartphones. U.S. adults were projected to spend three hours and 35 minutes per day on mobile devices in 2018, an increase of more than 11 minutes over last year, according to eMarketer. Smartphones will account for two-thirds of mobile minutes this year. While it's often assumed that younger people spend more time on phones, Gen Zers are bucking that generalization. Most members of Gen Z own smartphones, but more are preferring in-person interactions with brands.
Stunts like Vitaminwater's $100,000 giveaway are becoming trendy with marketers seeking to generate brand buzz, encourage social sharing and possibly boost sales. Similar to the Vitaminwater contest, vodka brand Smirnoff Ice held a social media campaign for its Fourth of July push offering to pay 100 people to take off July 5 and 6, so that they could have a five-day weekend since the holiday fell on a Wednesday. The brand asked fans to share how they would spend the extra-long weekend on social media.
But, some marketing stunts can go a little too far. In September, Domino's called off a promotion in Russia that offered 100 free pizzas for 100 years to fans who agreed to get a tattoo of the brand's logo and share it on social media. A franchisee created the stunt to increase social media traffic, and about 350 people got a logo tattoo and qualified for the free pizzas, which led the company to stop the campaign.