Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

Social Media Giveaways: 5 Brands That Got It Right

So you’ve activated your brand’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, started posting, and you’re slowly gaining a following – now, how do you spark engagement? A social media contest or giveaway is a surefire way to build hype around your brand. However, some promotions work better than others.

Contests where fans simply have to follow or like to win free swag from your brand are not going to cut it for much longer. They may trigger some temporary buzz, but most likely yFurnitureour promotion will be forgotten shortly after prizes are distributed. In order to really make an impact your contest will have to be more creative and interactive than ever before. Just take a look at these five brands that have mastered pushing the envelope:

IKEA – To promote a new store opening in Sweden, IKEA ran a promotion using Facebook’s photo-tagging abilities. The new IKEA uploaded photos of different showrooms to its General Manager’s Facebook account. The first person to tag themselves on any of the items in the room won that item! People were sharing the photos like wildfire, and IKEA received a boatload of good press from this promotion.skateboard

Tony HawkTony Hawk has been running his Tony Hawk Twitter Hunt annually since April 2009. Hawk and his team stash boxes of Tony Hawk swag in different locations around the world, and then tweet pictures of the locations. When one of Hawk’s 2 million+ followers find it, they tweet a picture of them with their new gear – even more promotion for Hawk!


Corona Corona launched its “Most Liked” campaign last year. Anyone who “liked” Corona Light on Facebook had the opportunity to have their picture displayed on a billboard in Times Square! This prize may not appeal to older audience, but for Corona’s target audience of young adults aged 21-29, five seconds of fame in Times Square is a dream. Corona saw a 6,000% increase in Facebook likes for this promotion – I’d say this one was a success!


Burger King A few years ago Burger King ran a promotion titled, “Whopper Sacrifice.” Burger King gave away a voucher for a free Whopper to anyone who DELETED at least 10 of their Facebook friends. When you deleted a friend, they were notified that they were “sacrificed for a Whopper,” which helped spread the word about the promotion. Ultimately, this contest ended up getting shut down by Facebook one week after it started due to a privacy violation – Facebook claimed that BK notifying people when they were unfriended was a violation of their privacy policy. Even though the contest was shut down, BK still made a hit with the press for their creative campaign. Sometimes, taking a few risks pays off. But be careful, you don’t want your Facebook page to get shut down and lose all of those hard-earned fans!

JetBlue Airplane In 2009, JetBlue ran a promotion on Twitter that offered 1,000 free round-trip tickets to anyone who followed the hashtag #JB10NY on Twitter and literally followed JetBlue around Manhattan. Similar to Tony Hawk’s Twitter Hunt, JetBlue used Twitter to guide their followers to three different locations where free tickets were available to anyone who arrived with a specific object that was included in the tweet.

Whether it’s a Twitter scavenger hunt or a Facebook photo contest, be innovative with your next social media promotion! Make an effort to engage with your fans, give away something that suits your audience, and don’t be afraid to take some risks!

What do you think? Have you participated in any social media contests? Are there others that you think should be on this list? Do you think contests like these are successful?

 Image credit to Håkan Dahlström/Flickr and TimothyJ.


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. Mandy Kilinskis

    I retweet a lot of brands’ tweets if they are giving away goods and/or services, but they’re never contests that generate a lot of publicity or continue conversation. However, if I ever stumbled over a contest like the ones you listed, I would absolutely participate. Engaging with brands is fun — especially when they want to give you stuff!

    • Jenna Markowski

      Good point, Mandy! The contests that are simply a giveaway may spark some engagement for a brief moment, but once the contest is over that company’s site can turn right back into a ghost town. The fun contests get a lot more press coverage, so the contest’s legacy lives on long after the winners are chosen! 🙂

  2. Rachel

    I had never heard of these promotions before, but they sound awesome! I visit Twitter maybe once a month (useless, I know) and don’t follow many companies on Facebook, so I guess I’m never going to see these kinds of promotions unless I actively look for them. For customers who do use Twitter and Facebook regularly, though, I think these types of promotions can indeed be successful–that 6000% increase for Corona is crazy, wow!

    • Jenna Markowski

      I’m in the same boat as you — I hardly ever log in to Twitter and I’m not really into following brands on Facebook. But if I heard about one of these promotions going on I would probably follow or like the brand for the chance to win, so I can totally see how these campaigns work!

  3. Jill Tooley

    That Burger King promotion is pretty funny, even though they violated Facebook’s policies with it. You have to admit, getting a message that informs you someone sacrificed your friendship for a hamburger would get attention!

    I also like Jet Blue’s promo. Free plane tickets would inspire people to participate, especially with the cost of them lately. Too bad they don’t have anything cool like this around here…it seems like all of the creative stuff is done on one of the coasts! 🙁 Come on, brands, the Chicago area is important, too!

    You mentioned this in one of your other blogs, I think, but Oreo had a pretty cool campaign going as well. They ask participants to submit pictures of themselves eating Oreos, and the hand-selected winners get their pic featured as Oreo’s profile picture for an entire week. Anything for those 15 minutes of fame, right? 😉

    • Jenna Markowski

      I agree! It’s too bad that Facebook made them take the promotion down, they probably could have generated even more publicity. I think that promotion was hilarious — Facebook needs to get a sense of humor!

      I like the Jet Blue one as well, and the Tony Hawk one. I guess I just really like the idea of a Twitter scavenger hunt, even though I hardly ever use Twitter! It just sounds like such a fun contest!

      Good point! The Oreo one is especially significant because it points out a way that a brand can host a promotion/giveaway with absolutely no cost to them. It is completely free to change your default photo to a picture of one of your customers, but people still eat up that contest just for their 15 minutes of fame! 🙂

  4. Bret Bonnet

    Don’t forget about QLP

    • Jenna Markowski

      Never! 😀

  5. Eric

    Neat stuff! The IKEA contest/free-for-all especially so.

    Kind of curious as to who called dibs on what. You know there had to be some guy out there itching to win a sofa and he wound up with a pendant lamp shaped like a dragon. Then again, I wouldn’t complain about scoring either of those for the reasonable price of, well, absolutely free. And it wouldn’t require me to lose 10 Facebook friends in the process. Go IKEA.

    • Jenna Markowski

      Thanks, Eric! I really like the IKEA promotion as well. It shows how many ways there are to be innovative with the features that Facebook already has.

      Haha, that probably did happen. I hope he was happy about his free swag no matter what he won! I know I would be! 🙂

  6. amy

    These are great examples Jenna! My favorite one has to be the Burger King promotion, it has a great tie-in with the product and offers something to consumers if they participate. I’m surprised it lasted a whole week before Facebook took it down, that seems like a long time in social media time.

    • Jenna Markowski

      Thanks, Amy! I think that one is my favorite, too! BK really pushed the envelope, and that promotion really catered to their target audience of males aged 18-25. Good point — a week is like an eternity in the world of social media!

  7. Joseph Giorgi

    Very cool post, Jenna! This is the first I’ve heard about these promotions.

    Kudos to BK for such a unique Facebook campaign. “Deleting” friends for a Whopper? Genius!

    And I wish I’d known about Ikea’s campaign when they were running it. I could always use some freebie furnishings. Especially now — I hate my current couch. 🙁

    • Tony Promo

      Yo I delete friends all the time and NEVER get free burgers. WTF?!?

      • Amanda

        hahaha. Same here Tony Promo. It’s a funny idea for sure–well done Jenna & BK! =)

  8. Jen

    Cool post Jenna! I hope more companies catch onto this marketing, so I can get free stuff!

Leave a Comment

Copyright 2003 - 2018 Quality Logo Products, Inc., Registration No. TX7-524-201. All Rights Reserved.