How to Mutilate a Social Media Contest

Deana Goldasich
Deana Goldasich President, Well Planned Web, LLC

Posted on October 22nd 2010

Okay, so I’m ALL for coming up with creative ways to engage customers online. In fact, as social media consultants we offer creative ideas and solutions every day. But, when does a creative contest simply become way too much work for the customer?

Companies are forever talking about the ROI of social media. But what about the customer’s return on investment of their time and energy?

Example: Dunkin Donuts Snap, Text & Tweet.

Take a close look at the steps below. Isn’t this a LOT to ask of the customer? 

DD3 How to Mutilate a Social Media Contest

Map it out

When brainstorming contest ideas with your team and ways to engage the customer, try mapping out all the necessary steps AND potential drop out points. Then, look at the end return. Would you go through all this for a chance to win?

DD4 How to Mutilate a Social Media ContestThank you Shannan O. for sending this our way!

megaphone 150x150 How to Mutilate a Social Media ContestYour Turn

So how do YOU keep contests social and simple at the same time?

Deana Goldasich

Deana Goldasich

President, Well Planned Web, LLC

Deana Goldasich has built content strategies for multi-million dollar retailers, high-profile brands and influential government and health agencies for over 15 years. Now considered the “Personal Trainer” of Blogging and Social Networking, Deana focuses on helping Thought Leaders find their voice online. Deana speaks regularly about content strategy. She’s part of the New Media SIG for the AMA and was recently chosen to speak at the National Speakers Association Convention. Contact her at
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Posted on October 25th 2010 at 1:28PM

Deanna - what a hoot. Your process diagram almost made me spit out my diet coke.  Too funny!

Their ad almost reads like a joke. Unbelievable when marketers think we'll jump thru hoops to win a "DD Card".   This one definitely should go down in a world record book of social media fail promos ;) 

Thanks for the giggle.  Have a fab day! 

Deana Goldasich
Posted on October 25th 2010 at 9:34PM

Hah... you're right, Pam... the ad almost sounds like a parody, doesn't it? Thanks for the comment!

Posted on October 25th 2010 at 4:23PM

On the plus side - if you went through all that hassle you are much more likely to win the $60 (daily) prize than usual competitions. And you would get the (cross platform) details of a very select few highly engaged participants.

The downside really is that people rarely want to have to do anything for their chance to win. Any one of this steps is a barrier to completeion and seems very bizzare... -

Although if their goal is to promote the loyalty of super engaged customers - they might be onto a winner?

The people that really wanted to win could just take one photo and email it every day though right? :D

Deana Goldasich
Posted on October 25th 2010 at 9:32PM

Yea, I thought about the idea that only the SUPER engaged would participate, thus increasing your chances to win. But, whew... only for a single day? Yikes. Tough sell. Thanks for your comment, Charlie!

Posted on October 26th 2010 at 1:07PM

As I was reading through the steps of the contest, I thought "why not eliminate the photo step and just ask customers to text in a word or phrase in order to get the trivia question?". If they wanted people to visit the store first, then maybe they could've made the word or phrase available at the store only.I just don't get why the photo step is really necessary - it's not being posted anywhere public, it's just being "texted" to someone at DD HQ.

Or just make it a simple daily giveaway by asking people to tweet a hashtag (found in-store) to @DunkinDonuts? Pick someone from all those that tweet. Give everyone else a free donut or coffee coupon.

This is what happens when you have too many people dreaming up these social media contests - you end up with a convoluted, multi-step process that satifies everything sales and marketing want the customer to do, but makes the customer jump through hoops.


Deana Goldasich
Posted on October 27th 2010 at 2:42PM

I agree, Kari, there are so many ways this could have been so much simpler. On top of it all, the "texting" of the photo is supposed to go to an email address (according to the insturctions). Yikes. So...they mean "email" the photo, right? DD usually does a better job. I almost wonder if this just didn't go through the proper channels internally!

Posted on October 26th 2010 at 1:11PM

Wow.... they must really not want anyone to win...

Great break down - and good find!! be sure to tweet this article to the folks at DnD!!

Posted on October 26th 2010 at 1:32PM

Lol--this is exactly what I thought when I saw that contest! And I love Dunkin' Donuts and go there frequently. I saw this just AFTER I had left the store and was mad that I'd already been to the store but couldn't enter because I didn't take the photo while I was there. WAYYYY too much effort for a contest!

Posted on October 26th 2010 at 6:42PM

Wow! Great example of what not to do. Ditto what Pam said: fabo diagram!

Deana Goldasich
Posted on October 27th 2010 at 2:40PM

Thanks Sheri! Appreciate your comments. Sometimes we can learn best by seeing examples of what NOT to do :)

Posted on November 5th 2010 at 2:00AM

Here's another one: Gourmet Magazine does a very lovely, free, iPad app. But . . . I can only save my favorite recipes in the internal library IF I register using Facebook or Twitter. Conde Nast, I used to love thee.