Prize sourcing during the Coronavirus lockdown

Prize sourcing during the Coronavirus lockdown.

The streets are currently almost eerily quiet and the prize promotions world was certainly fairly quiet for the first couple of weeks of the lockdown. Some campaigns planned before Coronavirus struck went ahead and some are on-going – Prizeology’s own promotion for Haribo falls into the latter category – but a month in and we’re finding activity on the prize promotions front is picking up again.

A world turned upside down

That’s partly because the world has, quite simply, been turned upside down. Retailers, in particular, have needed to focus on their core business – ensuring essential food supplies get into stores and out to customers – but also in this initial period I think running prize promotions has felt slightly unseemly and too close to having fun at a time of national crisis.

As the lockdown continues, we may see that start to change a little, but what would make a suitable prize in the current era? We recently posted an FAQ on prize sourcing and all that still holds true, but at a time like this there are clearly some issues with the type of prizes that are traditionally popular in prize promotions.

Top of that list, of course, is holidays (in the past I’ve blogged about people’s favourite destinations), but I’d go so far as to say it’s just not possible to offer a holiday as a prize at the moment – we don’t know when the lockdown is going to be lifted or what shape the travel industry is will be in when it does eventually end.

Timely prizes

So what is a feasible prize in the Coronavirus era? At present, post offices remain open and Royal Mail and other courier services, such as Collect Plus and Hermes, are still operating, so posting out prizes is still an option, although it might take a little longer than usual for winners to receive their parcels and it is, as they say, a ‘fluid situation’, so be careful what you guarantee in terms of delivery dates and make sure you cover that off in your Ts&Cs.

This might be a particularly good time to support small businesses, and with time on their hands, more people are also getting into gardening and redecorating their homes, so related items would certainly make good prizes. Haribo decided to give away home entertainment prizes like board games, because that sense of playfulness resonates its brand, but this choice has actually proved rather prescient, because along with jigsaws, sales of board games have soared during the lockdown.

In fact, our Haribo promotion, which offers a prize every hour, every day for a number of months, and we are giving away board games, has proved extremely popular. However, our prizes were ordered well in advance of the Coronavirus outbreak and, as always, before you make any promises you need to make sure you have a reliable prize pipeline in place, which may not be easy at the moment.

Let’s get digital

Currently, what really does make a good prize is an item that you don’t have to physically post – in other words, a digital prize that can be emailed or downloaded. A voucher for an online retailer is, of course, an obvious choice and matching the demographic you want to target to a store is very straightforward – fashion for young women, baby products for first-time parents, supermarkets for everyone and so on. One caveat, though: I hate to voice this, but some businesses will go under during the lockdown, so do your due diligence and make sure your prize suppliers are companies that are, as far as you can tell, going to survive the virus.

Prizes with universal appeal include vouchers for digital entertainment subscription services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Audible or Spotify. Although admittedly a lot of online learning platforms are making their content freely available at present and often offer the first month free anyway, a digital subscription to a service like Skillshare, a learning community specialising in creative and craft skills, or indeed a meditation and mindfulness app like Headspace, which promotes wellbeing, would fit the bill perfectly. And don’t forget you should always ask permission before giving away another brand’s product.

Digital is where it’s at in these challenging times when we’re all confined to our homes and with some creative thinking it’s perfectly possible to find the right prizes for the audience you want to reach, but remember that delivering vouchers and free subscriptions securely and efficiently still requires some level of expertise, as news reports of issues with the Department for Education’s online free school meals voucher system have recently highlighted…

Prize sourcing is one of the services that Prizeology offers and we pride ourselves on our ability to source the perfect prizes for your promotion. If you’d like to discuss how we can help with your prize sourcing, during the lockdown or at any time, do give us a call on 020 7856 0402 or drop us an email.

Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist and a National Trading Standards Scams Team Scambassador. 

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