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Disney’s Fantasyland Sweepstakes Pays Lip Service to Mobile

Disney Stores’ new sweepstakes offers a vacation getaway for 5 days/4 nights to the New Fantasyland® at Walt Disney World® Resort. Nice! Fantasyland is the biggest expansion in Magic Kingdom® Park history.

Daytime Phone = Mobile Phone?

Disney does a great job of setting up a simple mobile website to promote the sweepstakes and offer a mobile form for entry. What I found particularly interesting is that Disney doesn’t ask for a mobile phone number as part of the entry. It’s a mobile site, right? And you’d think the customer must be mobile savvy? Instead they ask for a “Daytime Phone.” Not “Home Phone” or “Office Phone,” but daytime phone. In this mobile age, what is your daytime phone? Home phone? Work phone? Or is it an indirect way of asking for your mobile number? If so, why not just ask for the mobile phone? After all, if you enter the sweepstakes and win, wouldn’t you like to be informed right away?

Is Disney’s Mobile Marketing on Auto-Pilot?

If they’re on auto-pilot and creating a mobile site with a standard form are part of the process, then what else are they missing? It makes you wonder if Disney marketers are making good use of the database of mobile numbers they can get or if they’re avoiding having to create a new campaign for mobile marketing. Why set up a mobile sweepstakes site, if mobile marketing isn’t part of the plan? Are marketers just paying lip service to mobile? Or is it a missed opportunity to capture the most important number in a customer’s life?

What do you think? Comment below.

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Mississippi Tourism’s Sweepstakes Incorporates Mobile Entry Nicely

Thinking of Mississippi for your Spring Break vacation? The great state of Mississippi wants you to include them in your vacation plans and they are willing to throw in a new NauticStar boat to help you with your decision.

To enter, you can visit their website from any device (desktop, tablet, phablet or mobile phone) because their entry form nicely accommodates the device you’re using online. It’s a thoughtful and marketing savvy decision to create a mobile-optimized site that can work seamlessly with any mobile device.

It’s about the total entries

One of the main objectives in sweepstakes marketing is to gain the largest amount of entries, because each entry represents a potential customer or in this case, Mississippi visitor, that can be marketed to. The more entries captured, the lower the cost of the sweepstakes per entry. Think ROI.

The only thing Mississippi missed is a text-to-win call to action

Mississippi’s mobile effort is pretty good, but if you really want to bring in the entries, they should add a text-to-enter call to action (Text VISITMS to 65047 for a chance to win a 2013 NauticStar!). Participants could be directed to finish completing the entry form from their mobile phone. Mississippi would capture not only their full profile, but also the permission to send them text reminders. Think of the possibilities… they could text about their lists of best restaurants, hotels, places of interest and all of the other reasons why Mississippi would be a great place to visit this summer!


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Using QR Codes for Sweepstakes Entry: Easy for Marketers, but Hard for Consumers!

That’s me at a Sedano’s Supermarket trying to scan a QR code from a Coca Cola display. Although the QR code image in the display seems prominent, I’m on my tippy toes. It seems to be the only way to scan the code and a few people around me were staring.

Here I’m trying to enter the Nature’s Own “Big Green Giveaway” for a ceramic grill. I’m squatting and pointing and waiting for the QR reader to decipher the code. This process takes about 30 seconds and it’s embarrassing to squat there waiting for it to take me to a page with an entry from.

And the same exercise is happing here for the Florida’s Lottery sweepstakes.

All of these companies want you to use your mobile device to enter or at least start the entry process and that, in theory, is a great idea. At this point more than half of the US population has smartphones, which are capable of scanning QR codes.

Capable of scanning a QR code does not mean functional

Where these companies fail is in the integration of mobile into the real world of the consumer shopping experience. As you can see, scanning these codes require first a smartphone, then a QR code app to decode the QR code, along with the muscle flexibility and willingness to embarrass yourself in public for the sake of a QR scan.

They are spending lots of money designing, printing and placing ads for the sweepstakes without realizing that the real world experience of scanning a QR code from a display is pretty awful. And worst of all, none of the ads have a website address so if I can’t squat or scan, I can’t enter the sweepstakes online either.

Easy for marketers, but what about consumers?

Part of the problem lies in the nature of QR codes. Since QR codes are free to make and simple to produce, marketers can simply slap a code on the ad, display or package and say, “Now we are doing mobile” and go home satisfied with their work. Failing to see how it plays out in the physical world means they miss out many more entries to the contest.

What about making the QR code easier to scan by placing it in a better, more accessible place? This would help, but in reality displays aren’t always displayed as intended and the consumer still has a few hurdles. They have to first understand what the QR code is and what they’re supposed to do with it, have a QR reader app on their smartphone and finally, be willing and able to scan it in public. When was the last time you scanned a QR code? The average consumer has never scanned a QR code in his life, much less owned a QR reader.

Adoption rate isn’t there yet

But do you know what kind of mobile technology they are very familiar with? You guessed it… text messages. According to Pew Internet, currently 79% of cell phone owners use text. Compare this to 9% of adults in the US who have used a QR code, according to eMarketer. Instead of asking consumers to literally bend, squat, stretch and risk looking like a weirdo, why don’t companies simply ask the consumer to send a text message? Anyone can read and comfortably send a text privately. The system can respond with an entry confirmation or a link to a mobile entry form. Done! Barriers removed for the consumer and more sweepstakes entries for the marketer. Pet Supermarket has it right. Budwesier has it right as well.

The beauty of text

The beauty of using text for a sweepstakes entry is that it makes the process simple, fast and a lot more fun. Each mobile phone number is unique and serves as the identifier for the winner. Plus text entries come with an awesome benefit for marketers. They capture the most important number in a customer’s life… their mobile phone. Texting in a sweepstakes entry is the fastest and most effective way to open the door to communicating with the mobile consumer. With permission granted, the company can now directly reach that consumer with additional products or relevant offers and, more importantly, to notify them if they win.

PS: To be fair to Sedano’s Supermarkets and Coca Cola, the contest rules’ fine print on the boxes says you can scan, visit a URL or text in your entry. But consumers shouldn’t have to squint their eyes and read the fine print to see this.

Do you scan QR codes? Tell us in a comment below.

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Nature Sweet’s Text-In To Enter Sweepstakes Make It Easy for Participants to Enter

Nature Sweet’s Win A Trip to the 2014 Superbowl sweepstake is a simple and easy to enter promotion. You have the choice of texting the word “SUNBURSTSMVP” to shortcode “66937” or visiting  to complete a simple form that asks for the name, email and mobile number of the participant. There is a barely legible fine print with a summary of the promotion and sweepstake rules that if you can read it, helps get the key contest rules established. The sweepstake entry process is obstacle free and the main prize is very enticing. It can’t be any easier to enter, just send a text and you’re in.  Nice job Nature Sweet!

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Wholly Guacamole Sweepstakes Could Benefit from a Mobile Coupon

Wholly Guacamole Fridge Makeover Sweepstakes is beautifully made, polished and a very creative contest. I love the spokesperson persona of the 50s housewife with white pearls and the talking fridge begging for healthy food and a makeover.

The sweepstakes objectives seem to be two-fold:

1.    Capture name, email and zip code as part of the entry (pretty straightforward)
2.    Provide a discount coupon on purchase (not so straight forward)

Coupon delivery methodology should be streamlined

They do a great job with the branding and messaging but where they stumble is in the coupon delivery methodology. The first hurdle is going through a printer status check list before you can proceed. The list asks you to check your printer for paper, ensure your printer is on, check ink levels and make sure it’s connected.

It’s pretty crazy to assume that people who intend to print need that many instructions on printing. It’s a safe bet that if you have a printer, this is not the first time you are using it. It gets more burdensome… after you check your printer’s status, you have to download app in order to print the coupon. What? Yes, I said the same thing. Download an app to get a coupon?

Why a printer checklist? People who own a printer know how to work one.

Why do I have to download an app to get a coupon?

My question for Wholly Guacamole is why make it so cumbersome to print a simple coupon? Isn’t the goal to get them the coupon as easily as possible so they can use it to buy guacamole? A link to a page where the coupon is will suffice. People know how to print it. Or better yet, add an instant mobile coupon they can request via text message. This way they don’t event have to print it and the coupon is on their mobile phone.

Make it easy to get the coupon and join the sweepstakes!

Wholly Guacamole could say “To get this coupon on your phone, text GUAC to 65047.” Simple, elegant and effective. The company could then print the mobile coupon call-to-action in all the product packages, website, and social media outlets. And now with the permission to text them, you can send them a text letting them know about the Wholly Guacamole Fridge Makeover Sweepstakes and how they could join from their mobile phone. They could leverage their super nice mobile website by creating a mobile sweepstake entry point.

This sweepstakes would benefit tremendously from mobile since it bridges the gap between the purchase at the retail store and the online world by letting the consumer easily pull the coupon on the go or from the website.

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Southwest Airline’s Parental Guidance Family Getaway Sweepstakes is Missing the Mobile Consumer

Southwest Airlines is offering a sweepstake where one lucky family will win a trip for four to California’s Disneyland. In the Southwest Airlines and Parental Guidance sweepstakes, the only apparent way to enter is to visit the sweepstake web page and complete the form. The entry form is  simple and all it asks for is your first name, last name, email and date of birth (to ensure you’re 18 years of age). But mobile users are out of luck, because the site is not mobile optimized.

If Southwest Airlines is targeting families and travel consumers on the go, it is limiting it’s reach by not offering a mobile optimized entry form or a text-in entry system, where potential participants can send a text message and begin the entry process. Something as simple as “Text PG to 65047 to enter” would be sufficient and effective. Since the airline is only requesting basic information to enter, a text-in “call to action” that responds with a link to a mobile-optimized form would facilitate the entry process tremendously. It would also open up the sweepstakes to gain more entries from mobile users.

Southwest Airlines would benefit from capturing not only the entrant’s contact information and email, but also the most important number in a customer’s life…their mobile phone.

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How To Improve Grimmway Farms’ “The Biggest Loser” Mobile Sweepstakes

From Dec. 2012 through Dec. 2013, Grimmway Farms is giving smartphone owners a chance to win a stay at The Biggest Loser Resort and other fitness-inspired prizes. If you want to participate, all you have to do is scan the QR code on the Grimmway Farms baby carrots package and the scan will take you to a sweepstakes landing page to register. Sounds simple and straight forward enough. The problem I see is that they are leaving prospects and contest entries on the table. They are not opening the door wide enough to let the complete mobile target market enter their sweepstakes.










You shouldn’t just offer a QR code as the main entry point because it ignores half of the mobile customers who still don’t have smartphones. Using a QR code as the only option is also risky because you’re assuming that those consumers who do have smartphones also have a QR-code reader and, more importantly, know how to use it.

Grimmway Farms does a good job of promoting the entry website URL,, in case the participant can’t participate, won’t take the time to use the QR app, or simply doesn’t know what the pixilated black and white cube is for.







If you’re promoting a mobile contest, you also have to make sure your website can render in mobile devices properly. Sending visitors to a regular desktop webpage turns them off and makes it very hard to find and signup for the sweepstakes.  As you can see from the screenshot below, the website is not optimized for mobile devices. The most important part–the sweepstakes registration form– is out of frame and the background image is so large it takes more than 30 seconds for the page to load on a 4G phone.

Mobile screenshot of the sweepstakes landing page for the Grimmway Farms “The Biggest Loser” Mobile Sweepstakes.

Grimmway Farms should consider adding a text-in call-to-action to ensure that everyone with mobile phones can register for the sweepstakes. “Text CRUNCH to 65047 for a chance to win a stay at The Biggest Loser Resort,” is one example. A simple text call-to-action can engage the whole mobile target market and provide registrants with an instant text response as well.

The (SMS) text response can include a link to the mobile optimized page to complete the registration and I say complete the registration because once a participant opts-in, the company would have instantly collected the unique mobile number of that participant or prospect. It would then just be a matter of entering the rest of the form. Grimmway Farms would end up with complete profile information for the participant, plus permission to send them offers or coupons for their sweet baby carrots.

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Using Text (SMS) for Sweepstakes Entries Makes Mobile Sense

Forrester report  “The Mobile Marketing Playbook” published on December 05, 2012 breaks down the mobile market by types of users. What’s amazing to see is that SMS text messages are used  by every user in each category except for the 7% that don’t own a mobile phone. If you are going to set up a sweepstake or contest with a mobile component,  it makes sense to add text-in entries as part of the entry submission process since pretty much everyone can and does text. A call-to-action that reads text “WIN to 65047 to submit your entry”  is much more efficient scanning a QR code or completing a paper form and it reaches all the types of mobile phone users.

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How to Set Up a Text Message Donation Program for a Small Nonprofit

Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, there are many relief efforts underway.  Many are supported by donations (see links to donate below) and some, like the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, are even using mobile technology to get text message donations quickly and easily.

If you’re a non-profit organization or a small business supporting a cause, you can easily create your own text message donation program as well.

Set up a Donors Mobile Campaign

Here’s how it works:

  • Ask donors to give a donation by sending a text with your new keyword to 65047.
  • An automatic response can be set to thank donors and link them to a mobile optimized credit card processing form to complete the donation.
  • The donations are then transferred to the organization.

We realize it’s a little extra work to have donors complete a credit card from instead of automatically charging the donation on the mobile phone bill. But the auto billing system is costly for small organizations, the organization needs to be a large national charity and requires a year-long contract.

Advantages of our mobile donations system

Our mobile donations campaign offers a few advantages…

  • You can collect donations of more than $10 (the max limit for donations billed through cell phone carriers).
  • You can collect additional information such as name, mobile phone, address and email as part of the transaction.
  • It’s easy to promote this campaign in ads, TV or radio.
  • It’s easier for donors to pledge while they’re away from home or their computers.
  • You’ll have a mobile list of donors you can contact later—to thank them, announce you’ve reached your goal, etc.

We sincerely hope nonprofits and charities take advantage of mobile technology to support their causes. If you’re a member of such a group, contact us. We’d be happy to work with you to get started.

To send your own donation to relief efforts visit…

Red Cross Disaster Relief
(Or send a text with REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10)