One of the things I teach in my PR-101 Workshop is to hold a contest to,

Get Free Media Exposure

It’s a PR “no-brainer,” especially to gain local media coverage. What kind of contest could you hold?

  • A professional home painter could run a contest for the house in their community that most needs an exterior paint job.
  • An image consultant could run a contest for people in need of a makeover.
  • A car repair service could hold a contest for whose car is most need of repair.

The winner would receive their house painted, or a makeover, or their car repaired.

Performing the service would cost a fraction of what advertising would cost and free or “earned” media is much more credible than paid advertising (more on that in a future blog post).

People would submit pictures to be voted on. I recommend starting the process with social media votes and narrow those down to be presented to a panel of judges. Ask a member of your local media to serve as a finalist judge. This is a great way to likely get some local coverage of the contest!

How Doritos Hit a Home Run with Their Super Bowl Ad Contest

This month, leading into Super Bowl Sunday, Doritos has blown me away with the publicity associated with their Million-Dollar Super Bowl Sunday commercial contest.  I absolutely love this contest and have already chosen my favorite commercial.  If you aren’t familiar with it, anyone could create a Doritos commercial and submit it to Doritos for review.

Doritos narrowed it down to five semi-finalists with the general public voting for the winner. See the finalists at The Grand Prize is to have their commercial aired during the Super Bowl and they will also receive a $1 Million prize. 2nd place is $50,000 and 3rd through 5th receive $25,000 each.

How did I find about the contest? It wasn’t through an ad that Doritos paid for. Nope! It was through all the free coverage they got on the Today Show. It started with a 4-5 minute segment with Matt Lauer during the 8:00 a.m. hour. Then, Willie Geist and Guest Host, Brooke Shields, talked about it during the 9:00 a.m. hour and Hoda Kotbe and Guest Host, Carson Daly, recapped during the 10:00 hour.

I’m no expert on the price of advertising during the Today Show but Doritos garnered a good ten minutes of absolutely free publicity during the #1 rated morning show all from their contest.  My guess is that is valued around the $1 Million their giving away.

Obviously, Doritos is a big brand but there is no reason you can’t hold a contest and get the same type of coverage, especially with your local media.

Get creative enough and who knows, you might just find your contest featured on a national program like the Today Show. The sky is the limit with a well thought out unique contest idea!

Let me know how it goes!