Like everyone else, I can’t believe it’s 2020. Where did the last two decades go?! But anyway, welcome back and happy new year! I used the Christmas break to reflect on what lies ahead, for both the prize promotions industry as a whole and more specifically for Prizeology. So as has become customary, here’s a round-up of some of my – admittedly fairly random – thoughts about trends and what the coming year will hold.
Interactivity and gamification
Interactivity was big in 2019 and it’s going to be even bigger in 2020. As a subset of interactivity and underpinned by all sorts of clever prize promotional jiggery-pokery, gamification – which could be as simple as a scratch card prize promotion – will be even more massive than it’s been to date. Why? Because as long as you implement it well and with imagination, it’s a highly effective way to make your promotion stand out – and customers love it.
The gaming industry most commonly uses live-streaming for giveaways, but other sectors are finding that live-streaming prize promotions can really deliver on audience engagement. As a consequence, I think it’s likely that brands will experiment more with this type of interactivity.
Social media and influencers
Instagram is removing the likes counter from posts (it seems to have implemented this in some but not yet all countries). You can still see the number of likes your own post has received, but the counter isn’t visible to your followers. Although Instagram says the move is designed to take away the pressure of receiving likes, commentators have suggested that it’s really a business decision, motivated by the need to improve Instagram’s credibility as a platform for advertising.
Either way, this is going to mean it’s more challenging for influencers to make their mark. Which, in turn, is likely to generate increased prize promotions activity on Instagram, as influencers, particularly those who need to build their followings, try to find ways to prompt organic likes. And it’s no surprise that brands are beginning to use the increasingly popular TikTok platform for prize promotions.
Responsible prize promotions
Obviously the marketing industry exists to encourage us all to consume, but it’s not without a conscience and neither is it unaffected by prevailing public opinion (as evidenced, for example, by the response of a group of adverting agencies to the climate strike, a project which Prizeology was also involved in).
In terms of prize promotions, I’m not going to stick my neck out and predict that companies are immediately going to stop giving away products packaged in plastic, but I do think there is a growing awareness of the environmental impact of promotions. In 2020, this might manifest itself as giving away more digital prizes to reduce packaging waste, or more experiences than ‘stuff’ as prizes or it might mean more thought about what offering a long-haul holiday as a prize means for the planet. It’s not going to happen overnight, but happen it must.
2020 sporting events
As you may or may not be aware, 2020 is an Olympic year and on this occasion the games are taking place in Tokyo from 24 July to 9 August. The time difference is not ideal for TV coverage – Japan is nine hours ahead of us here in the UK – but we can still expect plenty of Olympic-themed prize promotions. We will be advising all our clients to take care, though, because if you’re not an official partner or sponsor there are strict rules around how you handle an associate.
Football’s European Championships don’t tend to produce quite so much in the way of prize promotions as a World Cup and this time the tournament is taking place in 12 cities in 12 different countries across the continent, rather than just one or two countries. However, both the semi-finals and the final are being played in London, at Wembley, so expect maximum excitement and maximum prize promotional activity. Glasgow and Dublin are also venues for games and Euro 2020 kicks off on 12 June.
Prize promotions from Prizeology
The start of a new year is traditionally a time for taking stock and – indulge me for a moment here – in terms of Prizeology and what my team and I have achieved I have to say I feel we’ve done pretty well. It’s only just over two years ago that we launched the company and since then we’ve been lucky enough to do some great work for a whole range of fantastic clients.
Naturally I’d like that to continue and for Prizeology to carry on expanding. Of course, we’re happy to handle discrete elements of promotions, but when we take on a project from start and finish, and execute it from end to end, it’s really rewarding, so I predict more of that! If you’d like to chat about prize promotions, do get in touch via the usual channels.
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist.