Raahil Chopra
Oct 21, 2015

Double Standards: Can brands do better with online contests?

We have seen the odd campaign creating a buzz. But are these too few and far between, given the opportunity online contests provide? Ajay Gahlaut, ECD, Ogilvy & Mather and Karan Sarin, head of marketing - India, OnePlus discuss

Double Standards: Can brands do better with online contests?

Have brands in India used online contests enough?

Ajay Gahlaut (AG): No. Very few good examples.

Karan Sarin (KS): Yes, especially in the consumer space. There are enough online contests happening but most have them haven’t been impactful.

Have they used them well enough? Are they integrated enough (across media)?

AG: Very few integrated cases like the Fox Crime case that Ogilvy did a few years ago.

KS: I don’t think they’ve been executed well enough to get a positive outcome. There are multiple factors for this. When you do a contest online, you typically tap into your social channels. What we have seen is that these channels work best when you go back few steps and see what sort of relationship you have with your users. We have seen a lot of brands randomly come up with contests which don’t always have that connect with the audience. So, those contests don’t have that impact. As a company one must have a deeper relationship with its consumers.

When we launched One Plus we had a forum to seek feedback from potential users about what they would want from their phones about six months before we launched. We used that feedback and had that connect. This continues in our company.  We encourage our engineers to go on to social channels and seek feedback from consumers. We don’t only go to them when there’s something to be promoted.
About integration – there’s a good mix. Recently, Airtel was running a 4G contest which is the speed test challenge. It’s a very well integrated campaign. It also depends on the lifecycle of the company. Companies that are at an early stage may not be able to do this.

Is social media best suited for interactive contests? Are brands happy to keep contests within social channels today?

AG: Social media is a good channel for contests because of interactivity. Look at the number of personality tests that people take and compare scores! Though for many brands it has become an exercise to give away a freebie in order to promote a hashtag.
KS: Yes, absolutely. We thrive on that. One Plus is a company that’s worked through these social media interactive contests.
Would it help to run contests on social media with a video, either digital or on TV?

AG: Integration is the way to go for all communication and contests are no exceptions. 
KS: It depends on the target audience to begin with. There are certain products where the TG won’t be very receptive to video. There’s no answer to this. It depends on the communication.
Video works really well because it’s a quick way to capture moments and share them. The tricky part is if you include video on your contests on social media you have to make sure there’s ease of participation. If one has to capture a video, upload it – it just gets more difficult and participation reduces.
With teasers and hype, is there risk of the end creative not meeting expectations?

AG:  This is a highly hypothetical question! There is a place for teasers in some campaigns and they add value if handled well.
KS: There is a definite risk here. We do a lot of teasers and even do product launches through teasers. I think the key here is to plan backwards. You need to have your end goal in mind and then plan the entire execution backwards. Otherwise there are risks of losing steam or losing the end goal.
We’re seeing a lot of the brands use long format: could teasers play a part here too?

AG: Again it would depend on the quality of the teaser. And whether it actually intrigued people enough to watch the actual film.
KS: They could. My opinion on that is that if the content is right it could work out well. With long-format it is very easy to lose the viewers’ attention and that’s where most of the people fail. Content is the key here. If you have interesting content that makes a user stick to the ad, it will work.
Are contests with giveaways the best way to promote interaction?
AG:  No. Giveaways only add. The core of a contest is an engagement idea, something that people would like to interact with. The giveaway is only a sweetener.

KS: My take on that is that giveaways are just triggers for a user to take an action. Giveaways are not the only area focus. We at OnePlus have done campaigns without giveaways and had high interaction as well.

(This article was published in the 16 October issue of Campaign India.)


Campaign India

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