Best Photo Contests of 2018

by Julie Foley Second Street

Scared of Santa – Southeast Missourian

*2018 Second Street Award – Best Photo Contest Winner

The sponsor of this fun photo contest was a pediatric department at a local hospital. The revenue from this sponsor came in at nearly $9,000 and the local hospital’s SoutheastHEALTH newsletter got 676 opt-ins. This promotion added something new and exciting to the partnership they already had with the Southeast Missourian, which received 821 opt-ins to their own promotions list. Plus, to make things easy for you, check out our ready-to-run turnkey Scared of Santa photo contest.

Deck Out Your Dad – KXLY-TV

This was a perfectly timed springtime deck renovation promotion for a local lumber company. The contest helped market the lumber company’s deck expo event which took place a few days after voting ended. There were 220 photo submissions in total of decks in need of repairs or replacements and 1,000+ people voted on their favorite photos. The top four photos won a prize from the sponsor, who also gathered 469 email opt-ins with this promotion. Lastly, the tv station secured $6,700 in revenue from this home improvement initiative.

The Ugly Furnace Contest – Seacoast Media Group

Another great home improvement photo contest proved successful with taking advantage of lead-gen questions on the registration form. “Are you considering your system to be serviced or replaced?” was asked on the form and 82% of participants said yes. This provided valuable information for the heating and air conditioning sponsor about hot leads in the area. In addition, this contest brought in $7,100 of revenue for the paper.

Mom and Me Look-alike Contest – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

This Mother’s Day photo contest hit the mark in many ways – it had multiple categories, unique sponsors, lead-gen questions, and a great prize. While the paper was on the search for mom & me look-alikes, they also had a “mom-umental love” category for nontraditional families or mother figures. The winners were featured in the Mother’s Day edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the prize was a fun-filled Mother’s Day weekend: dinner for six, a hotel stay, and concert tickets. Not only was this a feel-good, heartwarming contest, but it also promoted local businesses eager for Mother’s Day sales.

Back to School Smile Contest – Richner Communications

Richner Communications secured $5,000 in revenue from their first sponsored campaign. There were 38 photo entries and more than 1,100+ votes. The primary sponsor of this photo contest was a dentist. Lead-gen questions on the registration form such as, “Are you looking for a new dentist?” and “What best describes your dental needs?” created a valuable list of the qualified leads.

Cutest Kids Contest – Daily Journal

Cutest kids contests are always a win in every market. This contest showed high engagement is possible in any market. The Daily Journal is in a small market with a population of less than 9,000, yet they had nearly 3,000 unique people vote in the photo contest. This promotion is one of the biggest generators of buzz in the area. On top of that, the paper made $1,000 in revenue from the sponsorship with McDonald’s.

First Day Photos – Illini Radio Group

This first day of school photo contest was an opportunity for this radio group to produce tangible results for a new client. They secured an orthodontist office as their sponsor for a $3,600 sponsorship investment.. On top of their investment, the sponsor added an additional $10,000 in advertising with Illini Radio Group thanks to the success of this contest. With 472 photo entries, lead-gen questions for the sponsor, and great revenue for the radio group, this contest checked off all the boxes.

I Love the USA – Akron Beach Journal

This contest asked people to share photos reflecting patriotism and respect for our veterans. From veterans’ military photos from decades prior to people visiting the burial places of loved ones today, this contest was heartwarming and nostalgic. This was an ongoing contest that saw recurring revenue month after month. The paper brought in $15,000 in total revenue from a veterans service commission and a concrete company.

Mutt Madness – Zimmer Radio Group

Mutt Madness was a fun, unique promotion for both the station’s advertiser and the station’s listeners. The radio group partnered with a local veterinarian to ask users to submit photos of their dogs in a way that simulated a college basketball bracket. They had multiple rounds including the Scruffy 64, Snuggly 16, and Furry Four. The vet had a $20,000 increase in sales year over year, there were nearly 2,000 participants between submissions and voting, and this promotion grew the vet’s email list with 600 new opt-ins. Lastly, the radio group saw $2,500 in revenue from this photo contest.

Make sure you are incorporating photo contests into your promotions calendar. From the no-brainer themes to creative advertiser campaigns, photo contests are a great way to increase engagement and drive results.

Get your copy of the 359 Ideas to Engage Your Audience Playbook.