Promotions & Sweepstakes Marketing
MRI Pong Madness 2014
To the general public, March may be well known for a dizzying amount basketball but here at MRI it’s better known for the highly anticipated game of….ping pong. As a tournament open to the bravest in the office, sixteen of MRI’s finest competed paddle-to-paddle for the much sought after title of “MRI March Madness Ping Pong Tournament Champion” (see right for hand-carved, grandfathered-in mammoth tusk trophy). In the midst of choice words exclaimed on the daily and the constant pool of sweat around the pong table, MRI’s very own Business Development Support Associate Alexander Gutierrez–better known as MRI Tournament Reporter–came out alive with your 2014 highlights.
Yes, that is his personal paddle.
What You Missed
Rumor had it that Justin “Quiet Riot” Kintzer in Account Management kept his very own personal paddle locked away in his desk used only for top-secret tournament practice. Turns out the rumors were true and that very paddle brought Kintzer to victory in round one, pitting him against the fabled Todd “Soddy-T” Saunders in Account Management for round two.
Alexander Gutierrez flinching from the heat off Rick "Young Gun" Sack's heavy-English serve.
Early on in the tournament was our highly-anticipated match between Account Manager Joyce “Legal Team Legend” Bunge and Business Development Manager “Uncle Joe”. Wearing the highly-touted belt of experience from her [closeted] ping-pong past, our Legal Team Legend gave Uncle Joe a run for his money. The upset happened when, in the last half of the match, Uncle Joe pulled ahead by several points and kept the lead through the finish.
Speaking of closet ping pong extraordinaires, Honorable Mention Rick “Young Gun” Sack in Business Development came out to play with unknown-till-now finesse and some mean English on his serves. Posing a threat to your very own MRI Tournament Reporter, Young Gun’s prowess was unexpected and highly respected but not quite what was needed to advance his unique skill set to the next round.
Preliminary rounds for the Kida v. Soddy-T championship.
Making a highway to the top of his bracket, the young and zealous Soddy-T kept trucking his way to the finish line where he and the critically acclaimed Client Services Director Mike Kida pushed their game to the limit. After several rounds of his infamous net-nearing return, Kida simply couldn’t keep up with the constant coolness of Soddy-T whose volley won him the title of all titles: “MRI March Madness Ping Pong Tournament Champion”.
Perfect Bracket winner "Uncle Joe" (left) and MRI March Madness Ping Pong Tournament Champion "Soddy-T" (right)
After gaining highest points for most accurate bracket and being awarded “Most Time Developing a Bracket, Least Amount of Time Actually Working”, Uncle Joe began his celebration with a brief, yet emotional Richard Sherman-esk outburst that took everybody by surprise. Uncle Joe was able to compose himself, saying, “I apologize, I was in the moment and the joy of filling out a perfect bracket just got the best of me for a second.” The mood quickly returned to a celebratory one and Uncle Joe walked away happy knowing that his hard work paid off, stating, “Alrighty, time to get back to it.” We later realized Uncle Joe was not referring to his daily MRI-related work, as he instead began scouting players and preparing for next year’s tournament. Success like this takes dedication.
Joelle "Line Judge" Watley shedding tears for our Champ. See you next year, folks!
Blog post by Alexander Gutierrez; (twitter: gutierrez_ae)
A Healthy Transformation in the Workplace
Ever find everyday life getting in the way of taking care of your health and well being? We’ve all been there or are in that stage of our lives right now. We have families, households to run and full time careers. Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air to walk into your job everyday knowing that your employer has your best interest in mind regarding your health? As the most recent addition to the MRI team, finding out that a newly constructed fitness center was available in house made this instantly turn into a dream career more than it already was. Many businesses across the country are now transforming their workplace and making positive changes in order to ensure they have happy, healthy, and less stressed employees.
Part of MRI’s 2014 objectives is to do just that.
The fitness center finishing touches were made in February and was live at the end of the month. All employees now have the option to use the amenities. Tim Hobbs in Account Management vocalized, “I’m more likely to workout during my lunch hour, but I occasionally will work out in the morning. I find it very easy to stay motivated when I constantly see others taking advantage of the gym. There’s really no excuse when the gym is so close to my office.” An additional bonus of these amenities are two beautiful full bathrooms have been put in so you have the option to refresh before work. Alexander Gutierrez, a new Business Development Support Assistant stated, “The gym was a big ‘perk’ for me to consider employment with MRI, as funny as that may sound. I love the gym and showers! I like after-work exercising to blow off steam from the day.”
How about some stress reducing, mood lifting ping pong? The MRI ping pong table is now officially located in the common area in the front of the office. The company’s Vice President of Digital Strategy Greg Macek voiced, “Our ping pong table has also been a great source of physical activity, usually getting me to break a sweat when I play after lunch.”
Top Picture-MRI’s state of the art ping pong table Bottom Picture- Tad Swider(IT) and Todd Saunders (Account Management) try out the exercise balls the Sales Team recently added to their office.
MRI management understands that having a gym is only one step on the path to increasing company health. Our amazing Office Manager offers healthy snacks in the break room as well to give the staff healthier alternatives. 90% of the MRI staff, given a brief questionnaire, stated they are choosing the healthier options compared to options in the past. When asked if he found himself choosing the healthier options for snacks now that they are available, Todd Saunders in account management expressed, “Yes definitely. I realized that before I was only eating the other snacks because they were there and I was hungry. Did I really want peanut butter filled pretzels? No, but they were there and I wanted a snack. Now I can choose carrots, hummus, an apple, or a banana. It’s great!”
Pictured above: Melissa Najera (Account Management) takes a snapshot by the healthy snacks. Smarter alternatives such as a variety of fruit, celery/carrots with hummus, and string cheese are now offered.
Is your office on board to start making positive changes as well? Who wouldn’t want reduced stress (and a way to reduce stress from the job), sharper memory, and a lifted mood at work? Here’s to a happy, healthy and positive 2014!
Blog Post written by Shannon Stallone
Try These, Maybe.
The first day of summer is here so it’s time to start thinking about how to make Summer 2012 the best yet! Use these months to rejuvenate yourself after a long winter and enjoy new adventures. Here at MRI, we have a few ideas on how you can spice up your summer:
-That new hobby board you created on Pinterest? Make it reality. This will be the first summer with Pinterest as one of our major social media outlets, and I’m sure most of us have at least one board filled with pins that we’ve been dying to try. DIY Crafts? New recipe? Guitar? Blog idea? Start at least one of them in your spare time this summer. Promise yourself to spend a little less time pinning, and more time doing.
-Attend a music festival. Bigger and trendier than ever, music festivals are a great way to enjoy the best parts of summer all in one place. Whether it’s a big production like Lollapalooza or a small neighborhood get-together in the street in a city near you, attend a music festival with your friends. Check out some online festival social media pages or blogs for great outfit ideas (the crazier, the better!).
-Make a video to “Call Me, Maybe.” The catchy, most popular song of Summer 2012 has taken social media by storm in the past couple of weeks, and we think everyone should jump on board. Countless number of YouTube videos have been made to this Carly Rae Jepsen hit, the best of which have tens of millions of views. Sometime this summer, go outside, enjoy the weather, and make up a synchronized dance to “Call Me, Maybe” (if you haven’t already, of course) with your friends or coworkers. Post it to YouTube and who knows, maybe we’ll see you on our Twitter feed soon.
-Try to win every trip to the London Olympic Games. With the glorious return of the Summer Olympics in 2012, we expect more promotions than ever before to feature trips to London for the big games (it’s just across the pond!). Make a deal with one of your friends and try to enter every sweepstakes, contest, or game that would land you both a flight to London to cheer on Team USA.
Note: If you win, be sure to make your “Call me, Maybe” video from the Games. Way better chances of going viral!
Understanding Generation Y: “The Hipster Generation”
While most generations can be easily separated by a starting and ending range of birth dates, Generation Y is unique in the sense that it is not easily defined. The people found in Generation Y can differ across the board in demographics, however, they are brought together by their familiarity with communications, media, and digital technology. Generation Y, in a sense, is the most connected generation. It communicates with efficiency and speed and thrives off of new technology. This has changed the way we all communicate with each other and has required an adjustment to the way we promote business. One of the larger changes, social media, has impacted the way we market our brands.
Businesses have always tried to promote their brand to a target audience but with the rise of Generation Y this has become increasingly difficult. Not being able to pinpoint a certain age or location for this group has created a grey area for marketers. Recently, however, the rise of social media has brought back the personalization of promotion. While some see the rise of technology as impersonalizing communication, others argue that it allows for much more individualized marketing. Social media has allowed marketers to get to know their consumers on a whole new level, which, in turn, has caused Generation Y to identify and connect with their beloved brands.
As a member of Generation Y and an avid social media user, I am drawn to brands that make me feel something as opposed to its overall popularity. More often than not, a brand is able to build a relationship with me through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. There is a sense of personalization on these sites that bridges the gap between big businesses and individuality, sustaining loyalty from consumers like me and invoking a deeper connection with a brand.
Events which bring in thousands of people from all over the country, like SXSW, Coachella, and Lollapalooza, for example, are an opportunity where companies and brands can use the power of social media to promote business to Generation Y. For months before these events, companies and brands use contests and sweepstakes as a way to get their consumers involved, while building brand awareness, increasing traffic to their sites, and increasing sales.
There is no denying that technology shapes how Gen Y communicates. As communication becomes faster and more efficient, these individuals are desperately grasping at the tread of individuality. The personalized marketing that social media allows is great for businesses looking to connect to and build a relationship with Generation Y.
Pinterest: The Newest Social Media Network
Move over, Facebook, Pinterest is slowly on the rise of becoming one of the most popular social media websites on the planet. Since its debut in December 2009, Pinterest has attracted more than 10 million users and it continues to grow its number each month. Although the social media network seems to have a bigger female following, we found that it’s a place for virtually anyone and everything. From brands to businesses, Pinterest Pinboards are a fun way to discover and get inspiration from people who share similar interests.
What is Pinterest?
Remember the good old days when you would cut out pictures from magazines and tack them to a cork board in your room? Well, those days are back in a new, virtual form. Pinterest allows you to create your own “boards” and pin different links and pictures to them. Organized however a user pleases, these boards are able to viewed by other Pinterest users, who can then repin the content onto their own respective boards. It is an easy way to share and discover new websites, blogs, and ideas in a personalized and social forum.
Is It Right For Your Business?
Pinterest is a niche platform where businesses can go and creatively share information about their company or brand. This is a chance for a business to have fun and connect with people in a way we never thought possible. Businesses are very much in control of what they can share, giving them an opportunity to brand themselves in a different light. Through pictures, recipes, craft ideas, fashion tips, posters, links, etc., a business can reflect their slogan and mission onto their Pinterest boards and interact with consumers in a new way.
Check out the 10 Most Followed Brands on Pinterest!
Pinterest and Promotions
With such a unique forum, Pinterest is a great tool for businesses to flex their wings and get creative with promotions. In the last couple months, we’ve seen an increase in the amount of brands and businesses that are using Pinterest as a way to promote business and launch new products. Running contests and sweepstakes is a good way to increase followers, as well as promote your products. We see this trend becoming big in the world of promotions and looking forward to working and offering this to our clients.
We know the last thing people need is another social network to keep up with, but Pinterest has made it as easy to find content as it is to create content. Rather than trying to sell something, have fun with it – show your followers that your company is creative. So instead of deciding whether or not Pinterest is right for you, why not jump on the Pinterest wagon and give it a shot? Request an invite now!
MRI’s Top Super Bowl XLVI Ads
This past weekend, 111 million plus viewers tuned in to watch the Giants vs. the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, but for some, it was more about the commercials and less about the game. Since the average cost of a 30 second slot ran 3.5 million dollars, it’s no wonder people were just as excited for the commercials as they were the game. There were a few standouts, a dozen or so that were just average, and some that we wished we never saw. The common theme we saw amongst this year’s most successful ads, was to simply just make us laugh. It seems as if advertisers are focusing less on the actual selling of the product and more on relating to the consumer. Besides what better way to grab our attention than to make us laugh?
1. M&M – Just My Shell
As if it were possible to not love the cartoon M&M characters and their respective colorful personalities before, this commercial just confirmed what all of America already knew: M&M’s are the candy to beat both on and off the screen. Whether it was the introduction to Ms. Brown, the misinterpreted “naked” M&M, or the all-too perfect placement of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” that got you laughing, it is safe to say that this 30-second ad “worked out” better than most this year.
2. Chevy Sonic – Stunt Anthem
Seeing Professional skateboarder and funny guy Rob Dyrdek kickflip Chevy’s Sonic to “We Are Young” was one of the coolest commercials we’ve seen in a long time. Chevy’s decision to market to young adults was successful through both the song choice “We Are Young”and brand ambassador Rob Dyrdek. Anyone who’s ever watched Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factor knows that when Chevy flashed Drydek’s face something epic was about to happen, and it did. A car bungee jumping, skydiving, and flipping mid air? You just don’t see that everyday. Familiar or not with Dyrdek, this ad got its point across in an extreme way.
3. Doritos – Sling Baby
Out of the thousands who entered, Sling Baby earned the #1 spot in this years “Crash The Super Bowl” contest. Earning the creators a whopping $1 million, the commercial features a 17 month old baby, sailing through the air to grab a Doritos bag from a boy in a swing set. For the last couple of years, Doritos has left it up to the consumer to develop their 30 second Super Bowl ad, and it’s paying off. What’s funnier than seeing a baby being flung from a sling by a grandma?
4. Honda – Matthew’s Day Off
Although we wish this commercial would have been more a of a surprise to us, you simply can’t hate anything Ferris Bueller. A perfectly quirky twist on the 1986 movie, this CR-V ad featured an older Matthew Broderick skipping work instead of class and running into things only Ferris could be familiar with. Ending the commercial and staying true to the movie, Broderick quotes the most famous Ferris line, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.” Honda made sure we didn’t miss this one; they released the commercial a few days before the big game.
5. Skechers – Mr. Quiggly
Prior to the Super Bowl, all we had heard about this Skechers ad is that it would feature a dog instead of Kim Kardashian. Whether this news broke your heart or made your day, it is safe to say that Mr. Quiggly was just as soft on the eyes as Kim K. Winning a race amongst greyhounds, Mr. Quiggly moon-walked across the finish line, proving he had some personality to go along with his looks.
What Kind of Year will 2012 be?
While the weeks leading up to New Years Eve are often spent reflecting upon the last twelve months and how they impacted your life, the second the clock strikes midnight all focus moves toward what’s to come. What kind of year will 2012 be? According to ancient China, starting January 23, 2012 and going until February 9, 2013, we are in what the ancient Chinese label “The Year of the Yang Water Dragon.” Here at MRI, we expect this to be an exciting year in the promotional world! Here are a handful of things to look for in 2012:
1. Super Bowl ads: It’s no secret that much of the hype surrounding the Super Bowl is generated in anticipation for the commercials. Whether you’re looking out for the funniest or the most creative advertisement, this is the number one day you should give your DVR a much-deserved break and check out the big money commercials. For Super Bowl 46, expect more 60-second advertisements than normal. Advertisers are turning to storytelling to give their products substance and are making this happen by forking out the big bucks to get longer airtime.
2. Google+: While we saw a glimpse of the power of Google in 2011 (Google+ has already gathered over 60 million users), thus far this supposed rival of Facebook has disappointed many. However, Google+ has continued to grow steadily into 2012–and it’s not stopping there. This year, we expect this social media outlet to distinguish itself from the other giants—Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr—causing it to delve deeper into the everyday lives of users. We definitely think Google has something up its’ sleeve with this one.
3. End of the World: Whether you’re a believer in the Mayan hypothesis of December 22nd, 2012 being the last day of the world or not, there’s no avoiding the hype surrounding this heavily talked about date. We can only assume the promotional world will follow suit and present us with a variety of “End of the World” sweepstakes and contests. As the date approaches, look out for a lot of Twitter and Facebook activity focusing on this topic. The largely controversial date is undoubtedly going to light up the social media screen.
4. QR Codes: As we have seen, marketers are consistently trying to keep up with technology and utilize the advances that have been made. In 2012, look out for an increase in usage of QR and 2D codes, which were developed to quickly and easily link content to smart-phones. Don’t underestimate the power of the QR/2D code. They store more information than we ever thought possible. Advertisers may not have these tiny squares of information figured out quiet yet, but QR codes are their best friends.
5. London Olympics: Since its inception in 1896, the Summer Olympics have occurred in the same year as the United States Presidential Election. Every Olympic year, Democrats and Republicans blast each other over petty disagreements, but come late July everyone is on the same team for three weeks to cheer on the best athletes the United States of America has to offer. In 2012 we welcome the London Olympics, which are sure to not only unify the USA once again, but also make a presence in the promotional world. If you have dreams of seeing the red, white, and blue in all its glory this Olympics, look for promotions this spring and summer that have a London trip as the grand prize.
MRI’s “Green” Year Resolution
With the New Year often comes a renewed interest or focus on ways that we can improve ourselves. Marketing Resources, Inc. has decided to “step-up” its recycling efforts for 2012 by giving each employee their own personal recycling bin, as well as placing additional recycling bins throughout the office. At MRI, we strive to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility to both our clients and team by promoting the importance of the three “R’s”: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We hope that by placing these additional recycling bins around the office, we will be able to save and give back more than we ever have.
Here are some of the ways our company models this idea:
- Turn lights /equipment off when finished for the day
- Distribute reports via email to limit paper waste
- Recycle pop cans / tops after lunch
- Recycle old /unwanted electronics
- Utilize the reusable containers that are available instead of paper products
What do YOU know about your recycling program?
Many of us here were surprised by our recycling program’s list of “acceptable” and “not acceptable” items, so we thought it might be a good idea to share it with you.
Includes bottles and jars of all colors
- no window glass, ceramic, light bulbs or drinking
METAL / ALUMINUM CONTAINERS:
Aluminum, tin, steel and bi-metal food and beverage cans only. Aluminum cans foils and trays. Aerosol cans. Please rinse.
All plastic containers with *PETE (#1) and HDPE (#2), 3, 4, 5, & 7 symbols underneath.
White & colored papers
Computer printout paper
Copy & Fax paper
Envelopes with & without windows
Magazines, newspapers, junk mail
Cereal and frozen food boxes
Manila file folders, Post-it notes
Juice box, milk and juice cartons
Plastic grocery bags, dry cleaning bags
Wraps or flexible plastic, plastic sheeting
Aluminum siding, gutters, lawn chairs, doors
Appliances, computer parts
Styrofoam cups, plates, peanuts, or #6
Clear plastic bakery or salad containers #6
Dishes and china or ceramics
Plate glass & mirrors, pots and pans, wire
Motor Oil bottles
Batteries of any type, electronics
Miscellaneous metals, tools, wire, wood
Solvent & Chemical containers
Carpet or carpet padding
Cookware, clothes hangars
Empty paint cans
Ring Binders, Colored file folders
Plastic Laminated Paper
Paper Towels, Napkins or Facial Tissues
Food Wrappers, or foil backed paper
Wrappers from reams of paper
Wax coated (food) boxes
Find out more info about ways to recycle here: http://eartheasy.com/live_recycling.htm
Ways that MRI employees save and give back
1. “ I reuse the bows, boxes, and tissues that I gathered the year prior, so that I can save money and time spent on decorating presents for the next year.”
2. “Making sure that I recycle anything and everything I can.”
3. “Every year I check for drafts in my home and one of the easiest ways to do that is by holding a lit candle against any window or door that you speculate might have a draft. If the light of the candle goes out, you know where the draft is coming from.”
4. “The week after Christmas I notice that a lot of my neighbors throw away old toys and furniture, so If I see something that I feel would be of benefit to someone, I’ll make sure to pick it up and bring it to the local church or Salvation Army.”
5. “ My family donates books and clothing to our local grade school to help the less fortunate kids.”
6. “Donate food and blankets to the local animal shelters.”
Be a Green Company!
By choosing to operate a green business, not only is it good for the environment but also for your business’s bottom line because conserving resources and cutting down on waste saves money and time. What are some of the ways your company is giving back, or more importantly, what are you doing to improve as a company in 2012?
9th Annual Turkey Bowl
With every Thanksgiving holiday comes great food and fun times with friends and family. MRI makes this a priority at the office as well. This year’s Turkey Bowl was no different. A delicious and wonderfully presented pot luck for lunch was followed by a hilarious bowling competition. The game required bowlers to whip a frozen turkey breast at a set of bowling pins. One of the frames mandated competitors to roll the turkey backwards, under the legs. This made for some very funny moments… Continue reading “9th Annual Turkey Bowl” »
Twitter: The Next Promotion Powertool
Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has taken the World Wide Web by storm with its unique approach to social media. The 140 character posts more commonly known as “tweets” have not only made their way into our everyday vocabulary, but have also made an impact on the way we receive information. More than anything else, Twitter is a real-time news source and an important, influential marketing tool. Companies are recognizing Twitter’s overwhelming presence in the social world and have begun utilizing its powerful outreach to promote their brands and organizations. It has also become an easy way for businesses to directly connect with consumers. For those of you not familiar with the “Twitterverse”, here is a quick list of terms and ideas you’ll need to familiarize yourself with: Continue reading “Twitter: The Next Promotion Powertool” »