Contests drive online traffic for the magazine of the Boy Scouts
With a U.S. audience of boys 6-18 years old, but an average reader age of 12, Boys’ Life has struggled with taking its subscribers from the print publication to its website. Occasionally, individual advertisers will need additional traffic inducement as well.
To persuade scouts to visit and spend time on BoysLife.org, magazine executives developed a series of UPICKEM contests, with entries promoted through the print magazine, but facilitated online only. While most were simple sweeps – that is, online contest entries for prizes picked at random– the magazine has held photo and video contests as well.
- Events included a “Smoking Stinks” video contest sponsored by a smoking prevention organization. Entrants created two-minute “stop smoking” commercials, both amusing and poignant. The finalists were picked by online scout votes and the winners were chosen by a panel of judges. Winning videos were published in Boys’ Life.
- Cardiac Science, a defibrillator manufacturer, asked Boys’ Life to enable its own UPICKEM contest in which scouts submitted videos for fire departments, scout troops, medical care facilities and others who wanted to win a defibrillator. Videos focused on why the particular organization should win a defibrillator. No money changed hands between the two organizations.
- A last-minute remotely-managed “Vote for your Favorite Jamboree Patch” contest was so much fun for the approximately 45,000 scouts attending the festival that Boys’ Life will repeat it when the Jamboree comes around again in 2013.
As part of any online contest entry, scouts have to find Pedro, the “Mail Burro” on the site pages. When a Boys’ Life advertising rep indicates that a particular advertiser is struggling with consumer response, Pedro can be relocated to a page position near the ad.
While results varied from one contest to the next, online traffic increased significantly with the start of each event, at times as much as doubling. While the focus has not been on generating additional revenue, the contests often allowed packaging of print advertising with contest sponsorships as value-added. This enhanced Boys’ Life’s appeal in advertiser eyes. In several cases, such as the Cardiac Science and Smoking Stinks video contests, both sponsors and Boys’ Life increased their branding as committed community members.
“The contests are easy to implement and the kids love it. It’s been a success and almost a no-brainer because the UPICKEM software is easy to use, it doesn’t take a lot of work to set up, and is not expensive. It’s been great. Sponsors are very happy with it, and impressed that we have the capacity to do this for them. On their own, I don’t know that they’d even know where to start.” – Bryan Wursten, Online Editor
Why It Worked:
- The magazine has been very cautious with this age group, advising them not to display their real name online, and not soliciting contact information from e-mails.
- Advertising reps have offered the sponsorships as value-added projects to print advertisers.
- With one million print subscribers, Boys’ Life has used that massive subscriber base as a jumping off point to send scouts to the website for contest entry.
- Contests focused on “good neighbor” and fun events, attracting committed sponsors and expansive traffic.