Harnessing Earned Media Through Contingency Prize Promotions

Earned Media

In today’s hyperconnected world, where every brand vies for consumer attention, the value of earned media cannot be overstated. Earned media, unlike paid or owned media, is the holy grail of marketing – it’s the publicity gained through promotional efforts beyond paid advertising. One effective strategy to generate significant earned media is through contingency prize promotions, where brands offer enticing rewards based on certain conditions or outcomes. Let’s delve into the profound value these promotions can bring to brands, supported by real-world examples.


What are Contingency Prize Promotions?

Contingency prize promotions are a marketing strategy where brands offer incentives to participants based on specific conditions or outcomes. These conditions could range from a sports team achieving a certain goal, such as an NBA team scoring 125 points, to chance-based mechanisms like an odds based outcome.

The Power of Earned Media in Contingency Prize Promotions

  1. Amplified Brand Visibility: Contingency prize promotions naturally attract attention. When done right, they spark curiosity and encourage participation, thereby increasing brand visibility. Every participant becomes a potential advocate, sharing their involvement with friends, family, and followers, amplifying the brand’s reach organically. News outlets pick up the promotion and it becomes a viral sensation.
  2. Engagement Magnet: People love the thrill of winning. Contingency prize promotions drive engagement by tapping into this. Whether it’s through social media shares, website visits, or direct interactions, these promotions create a buzz that keeps audiences engaged with the brand.
  3. Trust and Credibility: Offering incentives and a chance at a life changing prize through contingency promotions, can enhance a brand’s credibility. When done correctly, these promotions showcase the brand’s commitment to delivering appreciation to its customers, fostering engagement and loyalty.


Real-World Examples

  1. Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl: Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” contest encouraged consumers to create and submit their own Doritos commercials for a chance to win cash prizes and have their ad aired during the Super Bowl. This user-generated content not only generated buzz but also showcased the brand’s creativity and connection with its audience.
  2. Midwest Mattress Slam Dunk Deal: If the University of Iowa or Iowa State women’s basketball team wins the 2024 NCAA Tournament, Midwest Mattress will give a 100% refund on Beautyrest Mattresses and adjustable bases. The promotion was picked up by local news outlets and broadcasted to tens of thousands of watchers.
  3. Oreo’s #MyOreoCreation: Oreo invited fans to submit their ideas for new Oreo flavors using the hashtag #MyOreoCreation. The promotion generated thousands of entries and social media posts, sparking conversations and keeping the brand top-of-mind among consumers.


Contingency prize promotions offer a potent tool for brands to harness the power of earned media. By incentivizing participation and tapping into consumers’ innate desire to win, these promotions not only increase brand visibility but also foster engagement and loyalty. Through real-world examples like Doritos, Midwest Mattress, and Oreo, we see how brands can leverage these promotions to create memorable experiences and lasting connections with their audiences. So, the next time you’re planning a marketing campaign, consider the value that a well-executed contingency prize promotion can bring to your brand.

– The SCA Team

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