The advent of a new promotion

One of our publications, Cruise Trade News, ran a ground-breaking competition in the run up to Christmas 2018 and we wanted to share with you the campaign details and some of the results.

The idea was simple enough – an advent calendar for the run up to Christmas. The behind-the-scenes delivery of this simple concept – a magazine cover that worked as an advent calendar, a digital sister calendar for people to play, production and delivery mechanics, hundreds of prizes, thousands of e-mails, a competition partner willing to take a chance on our idea and only 30 days to get it prepared until it went live – was, of course, more complicated.

We started with the cover itself. The challenge was to get 24 decent-sized windows on an A4 cover at a thickness that would not tear but also wouldn’t increase the weight (and therefore the costs) too dramatically. No template existed for this and the manual fold and glue elements meant it wasn’t as simple as using the same layout on both. We created an innovative solution that combined the best of both worlds, ensuring all elements worked seamlessly.

While this was ongoing, the digital team were busy writing around over 4,000 lines of code to create a digital calendar mechanic which would randomly select different tiers of prizes at a win ratio to give everyone a good shot at winning – but also keep prizes available for most of the day.

That gave us a skeleton… but that skeleton needed a personality.

The designers tried a number of potential avenues before finally agreeing on a set of snowman vectors that gave a face to our competition and would be echoed throughout all of the e-mail and social campaigns associated with the competition.

And last – but by no means least – came the sales team, who made this whole venture possible by working the phones to secure a sponsor who believed in the idea as much as we did.

As a B2B publication, this was always going to be a niche campaign, but the results were extremely impressive. From an initial base of subscribers, we increased game registrations by 247 per cent. These people received a daily e-mail about the game and those e-mails earned a 40 per cent open rate and an 85 per cent CTR – numbers that are simply unheard of in our industry.

When the dust had settled, the average player had played the game at least six times during the month. We had increased our web traffic, newsletter subscriber base and helped our sponsors get their message out to a database of cruise travel agents.

More importantly than that, however, we had delivered hundreds of prizes to the cruise industry in the lead-up to the festive break and on Christmas Eve one lucky player was drawn from the hat to win a luxury holiday.

Not a bad start to the festive season.

This just goes to show what can be achieved when an entire team pulls together to realise one common goal.