Today In Twitterverse: How To Structure A Contest

You see this:
It’s something Twitter users call a Retweet (RT). In other words, it’s a straight lift and rebroadcast of another user’s update.
Retweets have the potential to go viral. Say, someone’s child goes missing…one might be inclined to Retweet such a notice in hope of casting a wider safety net for the worried family. This same principal is at work even when the cause isn’t as pressing. If one can enter a contest to win $500 simply by using Twitter in this fashion, it’s a no brainer. People are going to do it. Frankly I’m impressed that Kmart figured this out. Granted, they had the help of social media marketing firm, Izea, but still.
Here’s how it all works…Izea lined up six prominent bloggers and gave them all $500 gift certificates to Kmart–one for them to use (and write about) and one for them to give to a reader. Which is where the innovative entry mechanism comes into play. Blogger, Julia Roy explains that one can enter to win her $500 gift certificate to Kmart simply by Retweeting the above, or by commenting on her blog and specifying which items at Kmart one would purchase with the free cash.
According to Media Post, the six bloggers who were given Kmart shopping certificates were under no obligation to express positive impressions.
The six pay per post bloggers that took part in this campain are: Roy, Chris Brogan, Loren Feldman, Wendy Piersall (who runs a site dedicated to such deals), Jeremy Schoemaker and Michelle Madhok.
This social media initiative is estimated to reach 500,000 people via blogs and Twitter.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I hear what you’re saying, and the reach alone is attractive, but it’s a slippery slope. This is run by the Pay Per Post people and I’d have to say no thanks. I know Kmart isn’t requiring that anyone participating say only good things, but in effect, you’re being paid to seed something, which is not the same as being given an item to review. (Like AC did with their Sprint cell phones.) As for giveaways, brands like Zappos showed how to do it a while back without having to pay people. (Hsieh would randomly give out pairs of shoes.)

  2. @bg – i hear you, but are you saying you wouldn’t have taken the assignment and the $500 in merchandise? hard to say until the offer’s in your lap, but i think i might have gone for it. i don’t think any less of Loren, Chris or Juila for having done so (i don’t know the other two). do you?

  3. I know ‘of’ a few on the list. Was thinking about this later though. Why not just have Izea offer $500 to the charity of one’s choice. The minute you start paying people who otherwise aren’t reviewers to in effect be reviewers, there’s this thing in the back of your mind that says bias.
    Which is different than Britney Spears getting paid to shill Pepsi, (wait, she probably DOES drink it every morning), bad example. ;-p George Clooney for a watch brand then. Deep down, we know the celeb probably doesn’t use the thing, but we somehow don’t care.
    Then there’s Consumer Reports. Having worked with them, I can say that they are extremely concerned with not appearing biased, even though they make their living reviewing stuff. They do not allow advertising from anyone to avoid just that sort of appearance of being biased. ULtimately though, they needed to advertise their own brand but the powers that be don’t have enough vision to see beyond the lab walls.)
    Long way to answer your question, but I think if I were doing this full-time, then yeah, I’d take money. But then, where do you draw the line. Say you work for a shop that has BMW motorcycles as a client. Harley Davidson contacts you to run a contest on your blog. Do you do it? CAN you do it based on possible conflicts with your agency, who, granted, you might have previously told “This is the blog on the side I run and has nothing to do with you guys.”
    This is part of that slippery slope. Lotta shit to consider.