Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

Top 7 Pinterest Promotions of 2012

Pinterest saw a massive explosion of popularity in 2012. As a result, many brands have flocked to the social media darling.

And not only are they curating massive boards of images, they’re reaching out to existing and new customers through creative promotions and giveaways.

So if you’re considering running a Pinterest promotion in 2013, let’s look back at some of the best contests from 2012 and see what we can glean from these brands!

1. AMC Theatres

Just about everyone likes movies and free stuff, right? Right. As one of the largest movie chains in the United States, AMC has both movie fans and a bunch of stuff to give away. Instead of creating boards for each new contest, the brand has lumped every giveaway into a single destination.

Fans can follow just the one board and always be notified about new contests and giveaways.

Each pin takes the users to the contest landing page on their website to drive traffic and collect data. Recently, the company now asks users to repin the giveaways (in addition to filling out the form on their website) to enter.

Tip for 2013: If your company gives things away frequently, consider keeping everything on one board to make it easier for your fans to follow.

2. Pantone Color &

When brands collaborate, everyone wins.

So when Pantone announced Emerald as their Color of the Year for 2013, they quickly followed up with a clever Pinterest promotion with art seller

This contest required participants to pin items from both Pantone and to win. The giveaway exposed both brands to the other’s fans and generated a ton of buzz for Pantone’s Color of the Year.

Tip for 2013: Since Pinterest makes it easy to have boards with multiple pinners, consider pairing up with a complementary brand for your promotion. You’ll get more exposure!

3. Peugeot Panamá

While most of the Peugeot board is very self-promotional, their puzzles contests are some of the best on Pinterest.

Peugeot posts a board that showcases one of their cars split up into different images and grayed out. Fans check all over the Peugeot website and Facebook fan page to find the images, then they have to pin them to their own boards.

Tip for 2013: Incorporate your other social profiles and website into your Pinterest contests. Not only does it drive traffic, but you can pick up more fans and have fans check out your products.

4. Kraft Recipes

Kraft has a huge collection of pinboards with different recipes. For their contest, they asked participants to follow them on Pinterest, create a new pinboard, and pin dessert recipes from their websites. All pins had to include the hastag #kraftrecipes in the description.

This contest (as usual) drove traffic to their website, inspired participants, and (most likely) helped sell a bunch of Kraft products.

Tip for 2013: Include a custom hashtag to brand your giveaway. It will also help participants find other boards, pins, and participants.

5. Country Living

Even though plenty of marketers, small businesses, and males have flocked to Pinterest, the majority of users are still females aged 20-40. So brands like Country Living, who share the same customer demographic, can get a lot of traction on the popular social network.

For their Dream Bedroom Pinterest Contest, Country Living had their fans create a special pinboard called “My Country Living Dream Bedroom,” pin at least five things from their website, and tag it with special hashtags.

This contest grabbed tons of repins, hundreds of comments and entries, and generated a lot of interest in Country Living products.

Tip for 2013: While you can do some B2B marketing on Pinterest, think about which of your products and services will really inspire activity. Weddings, home décor, and recipes do extremely well on Pinterest.

6. IMRE Home IQ

The marketing group IMRE Home IQ ran a contest that’s a great example of B2B marketing on Pinterest. The group specializes in marketing for the home and building industry, so they tapped into the home décor section of Pinterest.

The Pantone Color of the Year for 2012 was Tangerine Tango. So with that in mind, IMRE Home IQ had people pin Tangerine Tango home items onto their boards, along with Tangerine Tango items from their own board.

Their entire Tango Sweepstakes board received many likes and repins, which is pretty darn impressive for a B2B company. And while the contest engaged a lot of fans who might not buy their services, it certainly sets them up as an authority on marketing in the home industry!

Tip for 2013: Figure out what is trending within your niche, and tap into that trend for your Pinterest promotion. It’s a great way to generate even more buzz and get more engagement.

7. HSN

At first glance, HSN didn’t do anything ground breaking with their Pinterest contest. They asked their fans to create their ultimate fall wardrobe by pinning items from and other sources on the internet.

But HSN also introduced a cool element that the others didn’t: celebrity judges.

This contest recruited Giuliana Rancic, Louise Roe, and June Ambrose (all famous ladies in the fashion industry) to judge the entries. Leaving their contest up to judges takes the attention off the brand. The celebrities can also recruit more interest and participants for the promotion.

Tip for 2013: Bring in guest judges to generate additional excitement about your promotion. You might not know famous fashion experts, but there’s a good chance that you know other experts or respected people in your industry who can help you pick a winner.

Pinterest is now the fourth largest website traffic driver in the world. That’s a position that cannot be ignored. Businesses, marketers, and social media enthusiasts have been impressed by its rapid growth. Adoption might be slowing, but addicted pinners spend tons of time on the sight.

2013 is going to be the year of the images. Why not jump on the Pinterest promotion bandwagon before it’s so 2012?

Have you run Pinterest promotion before? Do you agree with my choices? Is there a brand that’s missing?

Expand Your Brand!


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. Eric

    Not familiar with Pinterest, save being familiar with the name, but I’ve heard good things when it comes to recipes from this site. It’s an interesting idea…I can see how it’d be useful for everyone from wedding planners to interior decorators.

    Take it, by the way, it’s the Anglophile in you that led to adding Peugeot? 🙂 Not exactly a common auto manufacturer when it comes to ‘murica.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Actually, the reason is far less exciting. The Peugeot Pinterest board has been featured in a lot of social media blogs. And it really is one of the most interesting and creative promotions happening right now.

      So in terms of inspiration, it had to find a place on this list!

  2. amy

    I’m a huge fan of Pinterest, but oddly have never participated in a Pinterest contest/giveaway. I guess I always assume that there are millions of people probably participating, so what’s the point in trying? Maybe it could be that I haven’t come across any promotions that are worth the effort. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to keep searching 😉

    Love all the pictures, Mandy!!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      The majority of Pinterest contests seem to only get a couple hundred entries at most. That’s a lot, but not quite millions. Might be worth it next time!

      And thanks!

  3. Laura Porretto

    My name is Laura and I am a Pinterest Addict. I find that I am discovering new blogs and websites I never would have gone to without seeing my fellow Pinterest peep’s pins. I think Pinterest is a great way for small businesses to get new customers to their site and you can’t go wrong with a fun promotion 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks for the comment, Laura! And I’m with you – I started visiting a lot of new blogs and websites once I joined Pinterest. It really is an excellent way to expose your business to new people! And even more so if you’re giving something away! 🙂

  4. Rachel

    Ooh, I’m going to have to go follow AMC’s giveaways board now. Hobbit prize pack? Yes, please!!

    Interesting to see the way different companies are using Pinterest and figuring out what works. Great post, Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I love that board from AMC. As soon as I discovered it I went and followed it, haha. They give away a lot of cool things!

      And thanks! I really like what Peugeot is doing – that’s a really smart way to get customers onto your website!

  5. Mikey

    I’m another person who doesn’t really use or follow Pinterest. But, then, I also just really don’t “get” social media. I don’t even use facebook! But, I digress. While I only have the vaguest of ideas of what this site does, it looks like these companies have been able to use to their marketing advantage and can provide a good example for others trying to reach their customers. Some great insights and advice, Mandy! Thanks for informative post!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Not a problem, Mike! And thanks for taking the time to leave a comment even if you don’t use or follow Pinterest. 🙂

  6. Jana Quinn

    I think some of these contests are pretty neat and innovative, but I’m wondering how much a quick pin is doing to really foster a community supporting these brands. I think the Country Living Magazine comes the closest, because they asked their fans to create their own dream bedrooms in order to enter the contest. That way, there’s a more creative component than a “click here to enter” investment, and the Pinterest user may look back over that board to get inspiration for a future project and recall the brand.

    Most likely these Pinterest campaigns are done for quick backlink juice, which is certainly not the worst thing in the world, but a pinboard full of company logos and little personalization isn’t really going to get anyone to emotionally invest in a brand.

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Maybe they’re not getting super-invested in a brand, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that their sales bumped up a little. If you’re cruising around HSN, Country Living, or Kraft to find pins, I can imagine people becoming inspired to actually purchase something.

      “Oh, I found this scarf on the HSN website and now I think I need it!”

      Something like that. And I imagine that after you pin a bunch of dessert recipes, you’re going to want to try at least one of them.

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